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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? Read on to learn all about vitamin supplements for dogs.
Do You Need Vitamin Supplements for Dogs?
All living organisms need vitamins and 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. Consider vitamin C: humans need it to survive, but our bodies don’t make it. So we eat fruits and vegetables, and maybe add some supplements, to ensure we get the right amount.
Dogs have specific vitamin requirements, which can include:
- Vitamin K for activation of clotting factors, bone proteins, and other proteins
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin) for carbohydrate metabolism and the activation of ion channels in neural tissue
- Riboflavin and niacin (also known as vitamins B2 and B3, respectively) 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 Use Vitamin Supplements for Dogs?
Dogs with particular health and wellness concerns may benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements. In an article for WebMD, veterinary nutritionist Dr. Susan Wynn notes that supplements can be extra helpful for senior dogs: “Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E [can] reduce inflammation and help aging dogs with memory problems.”
Dogs eating homemade meals may also need supplements to balance out their diets. Homemade, whole food diets are great (in fact, 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.
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, your veterinarian can test 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 to find out if vitamin supplements could benefit your dog. 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
To address a health condition, see your veterinarian for prescription supplements that can help. The over-the-counter supplements below are primarily for prevention and maintenance.
Packed with essential nutrients, this vitamin supplement for dogs offers support for joints, digestion, skin, and coat. Plus, it comes in a tasty soft chew your dog will love. It’s manufactured in FDA-approved facilities so you can rest assured that they’re safe and effective for your pet.Shop on Chewy
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.Shop on Chewy
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 enzymes to ensure healthy digestion.Shop on Chewy
Support your puppy’s health and development with this multivitamin formulated by veterinarians to provide everything your growing puppy needs, such as vitamins A, D, and B-complex for strong bones, healthy skin, robust immunity, and healthy joints.Find on Amazon
For dogs in need of a boost to their skin or coat, these 60-count soft chews are veterinarian-formulated with EPA, DHA, and other omega-rich fatty acids, along with turmeric, for a gentle nutritional supplement that may help to relieve dry or itchy skin and hot spots, improve coat shine, and boost overall immunity.Shop on the Rover Store
Loaded with natural salmon and flaxseed for those omega fatty acids along with additional vitamins, these tasty soft chews are formulated for all breeds and ages to nourish the skin and coat, while also strengthening cardiovascular and brain health.Shop on Chewy
Give your dog a boost of skin- and coat-supporting omega-3s with this salmon and pollock oil blend supplement. Made from wild-caught salmon and pollock, this fish oil for dogs contains high levels of DHA, EPA, and other omega fatty acids for skin and coat support. It also encourages joint health.Shop on Chewy
Featuring a soothing blend of yellow dock root and omega fatty acids, this tablet 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.Shop on Chewy
Keep your dog looking and feeling their best with this skin- and coat-supporting powder. Made with natural ingredients like dried seaweed, flaxseed, and dried pineapple, this vitamin supplement for dogs can be sprinkled directly onto their food.Shop on Chewy
Stress is as real for dogs as it is for humans. These chews are designed to soothe nervousness, anxiety, and hyperactivity and help to alleviate stress-related behavioral problems naturally. They’re made with a trio of veterinarian-approved supplements—C3 Calming Complex, L-theanine, and thiamine.Shop on Chewy
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 with herbal ingredients, including valerian, chamomile, and passionflower.Shop on Chewy
Loaded with antioxidants derived from 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.Shop on Chewy
Fortified with joint-protecting and cartilage-building glucosamine, shock-absorbing chondroitin, and joint pain-relieving MSM, this chewable dog vitamin is specifically formulated to help support and repair joints and cartilage; it may be especially helpful to older dogs and those with osteoarthritis.Shop on the Rover Store
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’s packed with joint-supporting MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin as well as a boost of omega-3 fatty acids.Shop on Chewy
Part of a veterinarian-designed joint support program, these vitamin 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.Shop on Chewy
These duck-flavored chews are designed to help keep the spring in your dog’s step. They may help 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.Shop on Chewy
Made with six powerful active ingredients scientifically proven to provide hip and joint support, including those standbys glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM, these vitamin supplements for dogs protect their mobility for daily activities like running, jumping, and playing. In addition, these chews have hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and manganese—plus a boost of irresistible flavor from liver meal.Shop on Chewy
Just add water to create a nourishing liquid to moisten your dog’s food with a boost for their digestion. The nutrients in dehydrated goat’s milk, along with added probiotics and digestive enzymes, all support healthy and regular digestion as well as immune support at the gut level.Shop on Chewy
This non-dairy probiotic supplement is made from all-natural sources of beneficial microorganisms to support 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 five billion microorganisms.Shop on Chewy
These tasty chicken-flavored chews feature a six-strain probiotic blend to promote healthy digestion and regularity. They’re made entirely without grains, artificial additives, and byproducts. Each chew contains three billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of clinically studied beneficial bacteria known to support digestive function and healthy gut flora.Shop on Chewy
Like pet parents, dogs can develop seasonal allergies. These soft chews are designed to relieve skin-related symptoms of those allergies, with natural ingredients like nettle leaf, biotin, and quercetin. These vitamin supplements for dogs are also packed with antioxidants to combat the effects of environmental stress.Shop on Chewy
Made with wholesome, natural ingredients, these lamb-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.Shop on Chewy
Formulated with a powerful blend of 74 antioxidants plus essential vitamins and minerals, this tablet 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.Shop on Chewy
This chicken-flavored supplement powder is designed to eliminate staining around the eyes and mouth. It’s made from all-natural ingredients with no added grains or food dyes that might upset your dog’s stomach.Shop on Chewy
This senior dog supplement is packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy vision as your dog ages. It features the brand’s marigold-derived 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.Shop on Chewy
Now that you know more about vitamin supplements and what’s available, you can decide what’s right for your dog. As always, check with your veterinarian before introducing any new supplements to your dog’s diet. And check out our additional stories on dog nutrition below.