By Ashley Watson
While many people take a multi-vitamin every day without thinking twice about it, pet owners tend to question giving multi-vitamins to their pets. Whether or not you should give your pet a multi-vitamin cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. It depends on the pet’s age, breed, overall health, and other variables, including diet and weight.
At Pet Naturals® of Vermont, we understand that responsible pet owners are concerned about making sure that their companions live long and happy lives. Whether you have a cat, dog, or rabbit, we have a multi-vitamin designed to provide pets of all ages the support they need to live healthier lives. We’re excited about introducing some new members to our line of Daily Best multi-vitamins, so this week’s post will provide you with information to help you decide if a vitamin and mineral supplement is right for your pet.
Vitamins and Minerals in Pet Food
AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) sets the nutritional standards for all pet foods, which means that every pet food product on the market must meet the AAFCO requirements for protein, fat, fiber, moisture, and essential vitamins and minerals. Because of this, some pet owners think that a supplement is not necessary or that too many vitamins and minerals will harm their pets. This really depends on the specific vitamin or mineral.
Vitamin excess is more of a concern for fat-soluble vitamins, such as A and D, but it is much less of a concern with water-soluble vitamins since the body flushes these out through urination. However, minerals can be a concern either way, since trace minerals are not needed in large amounts, and large quantities of some minerals can interfere with the body’s utilization of other minerals. This is why pet foods are designed to balance out these factors. But in certain cases, pets may need extra vitamins and minerals to support a healthy diet.
Age-Specific Vitamin Supplements
Do you have a new pet? Pet Naturals® is proud to introduce our new Daily Best multi-vitamin in tasty chews for puppies and kittens. Pets have different needs throughout the stages of their lives, and Daily Best Puppy and Daily Best Kitten include ingredients that you may not find in pet food for puppies and kittens. Both formulas include fish oil for brain health and development, Vitamin C (and lysine in kitten chews) for immune system support, and biotin for healthy skin and coat. Each product is specifically formulated to help growing puppies and kittens for up to a year.
If you have an older pet, Daily Best Senior for cats and dogs help support the physical and mental well-being of aging pets (Daily Best Senior for dogs is now available in a soft chew!) These formulas contain a balance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants that aren’t often found in conventional pet food, including the amino acid Taurine to help support cardiovascular and neurological health.
Vitamins to Supplement Special Needs
Another reason to give your pet a multi-vitamin is to supplement a special diet that may not provide enough nutrients. Pets on a homemade food diet, for instance, may need the extra vitamins and minerals that they would normally get from conventional pet food. Pets who are ill or don’t eat much may need extra support as well, particularly underweight or finicky cats. If your pet has been diagnosed with a mineral deficiency, a mineral supplement is usually recommended, and your vet will be able to give advice about which supplements to give your pet.
It’s always a good idea to speak with your veterinarian about any changes to your pet’s diet, including introducing a multi-vitamin or other supplement. Don’t forget that we now have alfalfa-based rabbit supplements as part of our growing line of multi-vitamins and condition-specific formulas!
How do you keep your pet healthy? Share your tips with us on our Facebook page.