There are a few essential vitamins that your dog or cat needs, all of which should come from their food. Here’s how to tell if he’s getting enough!
Is Your Pet Getting All The Nutrients It Needs From Their Food? As you can imagine, food designed to meet the minimum needs of a wide range of pets may actually be insufficient when it comes to each specific animal. A study at Tufts University showed that 75% of dogs on commercial diets were insufficient to Vitamin D. It is true that the food itself contains the amount required by AAFCO, but what about your dog or cat oblige? Let’s take a look at three essential vitamins your pet needs, but may not be getting enough of.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a poorly understood, but important nutrient. The internet is full of stories about the toxicity of vitamin D, but very little is shared about the larger problem: vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is an integral part of your pet’s immune response, fighting inflammation, infection, overgrowth and more. Deficiency is linked to a wide range of diseases and the relative risk increases as vitamin D values fall. Animal research supports the importance of vitamin D and why getting enough is so important. Unfortunately, most of the animals are not there.
2. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
Vitamin B12, which many associate with “giving us energy”, is another essential vitamin that plays a major role at the cellular level. B12 is a required aid in a number of important cellular reactions – from DNA synthesis to fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. Vitamin B12 deficiencies are associated with anemia, nervous system disorders, immunodeficiencies and are often seen in animals with gastrointestinal disorders.
Magnesium is the new kid on the block when it comes to understanding its importance. More and more research, both in humans and animals, is highlighting the crucial role that magnesium plays [learn more]. Magnesium is essential for the synthesis of DNA, RNA and other proteins, as well as for general energy metabolism. Think of it like a car’s oil: when it’s there, in the right amount, all parts work perfectly. When it is low, a malfunction occurs.
Honorable mention: folate
Folate, often combined with vitamin B12, is another essential vitamin, but instead of getting it just through food, it’s also made by bacteria in the gut. Folate levels are an indicator of gut health. Happy intestine, happy pet.
Test and correct
Food is complex. What’s balanced and good enough for one dog or cat is unlikely to be good for the next. The goal of diet and supplementation is to get as close as possible to the amount that is sufficient for each particular animal, and the easiest way to ensure that there are sufficient essential nutrients is to test. Rapid blood tests will tell you what your pet’s levels are, and with the right laboratory, give you supplementation guidelines to correct any deficiencies. It’s a simple process:
Step 1: Give your pet a stable, balanced, complete diet that meets all specific health needs.
Step 2: Test the levels of essential nutrients (Vitamin D, B12, Magnesium)
Step 3: Use the patient specific dose to correct any deficiency.