If you’re a health-conscious adult, you probably take a multi-vitamin every day, or at least pay attention to which foods will give you more of certain vitamins (er, right?). But what about vitamin supplements for your dog? Do dogs need vitamins in addition to their food? And if so, what kind? We’ve gathered research, spoken with experts, and checked out product reviews. Read on to learn all about vitamin supplements for dogs.
Do dogs need vitamins?
All living organisms need vitamins, organic compounds essential for balanced nutrition and normal growth. Vitamins aren’t naturally synthesized by the body, so animals (and people) have to consume foods that provide them. For example, consider vitamin C: humans need it to survive, but our bodies don’t make it themselves. So, we eat fruits and vegetables, or take supplements, to ensure we get the right amount.
Dogs also have specific vitamin requirements. According to a dog nutrition guide produced by the National Academy of Sciences, some of the vitamins your dog needs include:
- Vitamin K for activation of clotting factors, bone proteins, and other proteins
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) for carbohydrate metabolism and activation of ion channels in neural tissue
- Riboflavin and niacin for enzyme functions
- Vitamin B6 for glucose generation; red blood cell function; nervous system function; immune response; and hormone regulation
- Folic acid for metabolism and protein synthesis
According to Dr. Gary Richter, award-winning vet and member of Rover’s Dog People Panel, “all dogs are of the species Canis familiaris and as such have very similar nutritional needs.” Commercial dog food is specifically formulated to meet those needs. If your dog’s food is labeled “complete and balanced,” it contains all the vitamins and minerals your dog needs.
When should you give your dog vitamin supplements?
If commercial dog food is formulated to provide vitamins, why would you need to give your dog a supplement?
Dogs with particular health and wellness concerns may benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements. In an article for WebMD, veterinary nutritionist Susan Wynn, DVM, notes: “Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E [can] reduce inflammation and help aging dogs with memory problems.” Supplements are extra-helpful for senior dogs.
This senior dog vitamin supplement ($13.49) contains Vitamins C, E, A, and D, plus magnesium, iron, and other minerals and nutrients chosen to boost your dog’s health.
Dogs eating homemade meals may also need supplements to balance out their diets. Homemade, whole food diets are great (in fact, Dr. Richter highly recommends them). But if you’re making dog food at home, you may not have access to the specific vitamins your pet needs. That’s where vitamin supplements for dogs can come in handy.
Dr. Richter notes, “it is a good idea to consult with a veterinarian regarding any questions about nutrition.” This is especially important when feeding your dog a homemade diet. Your vet may even refer you to a veterinary nutritionist to determine the best course of vitamins for your dog.
How to choose vitamin supplements for dogs
As noted, you should always talk to your veterinarian about what, if any, dog vitamin supplements your pet needs. Ingredients in some herbal supplements can interact with medication, and it is possible for dogs to have too much of certain vitamins.
If your dog is eating a complete and balanced diet, and not exhibiting any health issues, they probably don’t need a supplement. You can always integrate fresh fruits and vegetables into their diet for a boost of healthy and natural nutrition.
However, if your dog is demonstrating new health or behavioral issues, speak with your veterinarian. They can do tests to find out if your dog has any vitamin deficiencies, and may recommend dietary changes and/or vitamin supplements to help.
Here are some general tips for choosing vitamin supplements for dogs:
- Look for brands that have commissioned clinical studies of their products.
- Read labels carefully to ensure quality and safety.
- Look for a lot number on the product. This is a sign that the company uses quality control checks.
- Choose brands with confirmed expertise.
- Be wary of claims that sound “too good to be true.” Vitamins supplements are just that—supplements. They are not cure-alls or medications.
- Do not give human supplements to dogs, as they may contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs.
- In general, the best options will be available through your veterinarian.
The bottom line about vitamin supplements for dogs: talk to your vet first. Vitamin supplements can be a beneficial addition to your dog’s diet, but it’s best to consult a vet. Read labels on your dog’s food and on any potential supplements. And always look to your dog for cues.
Recommended Vitamin Supplements for Dogs
Shopping for pet products can be overwhelming because there are so many options to choose from. When it comes to vitamin supplements, it is important to ensure the quality and safety of the product you choose.
To help you make a smart choice, we’ve compiled a list of the top 25 vitamin supplements for dogs. Here they are:
Packed with essential nutrients, this vitamin offers 4-in-1 support for joints, digestion, skin, and coat. Plus, it comes in a tasty soft chew your dog will love and is manufactured in FDA-approved facilities so you can rest assured that they’re safe and effective for your pet.Buy Now on Amazon for $17.71
Designed to support all aspects of your dog’s health and wellness, this multivitamin provides essential vitamins like vitamin E and biotin for skin and coat health as well as probiotics and digestive enzymes for healthy and regular digestion.Buy Now on Amazon for $25.97
Formulated to support balanced nutrition for dogs in all life stages, this multivitamin comes in a chewable tablet and features a rich blend of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, and digestive enzymes to ensure healthy digestion.Buy Now on Amazon for $4.90
Support your puppy’s health and development with this multivitamin formulated to provide everything your growing puppy needs for strong bones, healthy skin, robust immunity, and healthy joints.Buy Now on Amazon for $8.19
Loaded with natural salmon flavor and healthy omega-3s, these tasty soft chews are formulated for all breeds and ages for skin and coat support. These chews nourish the skin and coat while also strengthening both cardiovascular and brain health.Buy Now on Amazon for $25.96
Give your dog a boost of skin- and coat-supporting omega-3s with this salmon oil supplement. Made from wild-caught salmon, this fish oil supplement contains high levels of DHA, EPA, and other omega fatty acids for skin and coat support. It also encourages joint health.Buy Now on Chewy for $13.99
Featuring a soothing blend of yellow dock root and omega fatty acids, this supplement is designed to comfort and relieve skin problems while supporting your dog’s healthy coat from the inside out. You know it’s a good product because it carries the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal of approval.Buy Now on Chewy for $7.99
Keep your dog looking and feeling his best with this skin- and coat-supporting supplement. Made with natural ingredients like dried seaweed, flaxseed, and dried pineapple, this supplement can be sprinkled directly over top of your dog’s food.Buy Now on Chewy for $22.02
The soothing power of hemp oil in this all-natural formula helps relieve anxiety in dogs while also combating stress and inflammation. With added Vitamin E, this liquid supplement also promotes healthy circulation, speeds healing, and protects the body against free radicals.Buy Now on Amazon for $23.99
Stress is just as real a concern for dogs as it is for humans. These chews are designed to soothe nervousness, anxiety, and hyperactivity, helping to alleviate stress-related behavioral problems in a natural way. They’re made with a trio of veterinarian-approved supplements – C3 Calming Complex, L-theanine, and thiamine.Buy Now on Chewy for $14.00
All-natural and 100% organic, this liquid supplement is designed to treat pet anxiety and short-term stress. When used prior to a stressful event like a vet visit or thunderstorm, these drops settle the nerves and reduce hyperactive and nervous behaviors like panting and pacing.Buy Now on Amazon for $9.48
Loaded with antioxidants and pure turmeric, these soft chews are designed to relieve a variety of problems including joint pain, itchy skin, hot spots, and slow healing. They come in an irresistible bacon and liver flavor and are produced in the USA in certified-organic facilities.Buy Now on Amazon for $21.97
Formulated to support optimal joint function, cartilage production, and mobility, these soft chews are a must for aging dogs and dogs that suffer from bone and joint problems. It is packed with joint-supporting MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin as well as a boost of omega-3 fatty acids.Buy Now on Amazon for $36.99
Part of a veterinarian-designed joint support program, these supplements are formulated to maintain comfort and mobility throughout all stages of your dog’s life. Featuring glucosamine, MSM, and perna canaliculus, these chews are clinically proven to increase hind leg strength by over 40% in just four weeks.Buy Now on Amazon for $38.00
These tasty duck-flavored chews are designed to help keep the spring in your dog’s step. They’re shown to improve range of motion, reduce pain and discomfort, and protect the bones and joints. Plus, they’re made with all-natural ingredients and manufactured in FDA-registered facilities.Buy Now on Amazon for $25.97
Made with six powerful active ingredients scientifically proven to provide hip and joint support, these chews protect your dog’s mobility for daily activities like running, jumping, and playing. These chews are made with glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and manganese.Buy Now on Chewy for $29.99
Just add water to create a nourishing liquid to moisten your dog’s food and boost his digestion. This goat’s milk supplement features both probiotics and digestive enzymes to support healthy and regular digestion as well as immune support at the gut level.Buy Now on Chewy for $11.75
This non-dairy probiotic formulation is made from all-natural sources of beneficial microorganisms to support the health of your dog’s digestive tract. It’s designed to help normalize digestion, relieve symptoms of food intolerance, support regularity, and soothe gastrointestinal upset. Each capsule contains over 5 billion microorganisms.Buy Now on Chewy for $22.00
Each scoop of this probiotic powder contains 5 billion microorganisms from 5 different strains to help relieve constipation, soothe allergies, reduce shedding, and improve bad breath. Made with a unique blend of pumpkin and natural enzymes, this supplement can be mixed right into your dog’s food.Buy Now on Chewy for $26.96
These tasty chews feature a six-strain probiotic blend to promote healthy digestion and regularity. They come in a delicious chicken flavor and are made entirely without grains, artificial additives, and byproducts. Each chew contains 3 billion CFU of clinically studied beneficial bacteria known to support digestive function and healthy gut flora.Buy Now on Chewy for $25.97
Dogs can develop seasonal allergies in the same way that humans can and these soft chews are designed to relieve skin-related symptoms of those allergies. Made with natural ingredients like nettle leaf, biotin, and quercetin, these chews are also packed with antioxidants to combat the effects of environmental stress.Buy Now on Amazon for $6.99
Made with wholesome, natural ingredients, these peanut butter-flavored soft chews are designed to support digestive and immune health. They also help to protect against seasonal, skin, food, and environmental allergies in dogs.Buy Now on Amazon for $25.97
Formulated with a powerful blend of 74 antioxidants plus essential vitamins and minerals, this supplement fights free radicals. In addition to containing full-spectrum antioxidants from 100% natural ingredients, it also carries the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal of approval.Buy Now on Amazon for $20.99
This chicken-flavored supplement powder is designed to eliminate staining around the eyes and mouth in addition to supporting eye health. It’s made from all-natural ingredients with no added grains or food dyes that might upset your dog’s stomach.Buy Now on Chewy for $17.56
This senior dog supplement is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy vision as your dog ages. It features Lutemax 2020 to reduce eye strain with cod liver oil and algae to support overall eye function. It also contains essential vitamins to encourage skin health and immune function.Buy Now on Chewy for $34.97
Vitamins are an essential part of a balanced diet for dogs and they can be found in any complete and balanced dog food formula. If your dog has a deficiency of a certain vitamin, however, he may need a supplement. Check out our guide to human vitamins for dogs HERE.