When it comes to taking care of your growing kitty, it will need vitamins just like you would. Cats get their vitamins and minerals through animal tissue. The proper vitamins can make sure that your kitten grows up into a strong and healthy feline with good bones, teeth, muscles, and immune system. In order for the cat to best benefit from these vitamins, they should be presented through meat and not vegetables. Here are five vitamins that a growing cat needs. Others, like Vitamin C, they can skip as they naturally produce it.
Cats aren't omnivores like dogs and humans. They're carnivores. As such, housecats need a diet nutritionally similar to a wild cat, one based on meat. The vitamins found in animal protein are essential for the cat diet.
Vitamins work as catalysts for enzyme reactions in the feline physiology. Since most vitamins can't be produced within a cat's body, they must be ingested.
Cats need to take in Vitamins A, D, E and K from their diet. Though Vitamin A is present in some vegetables in the form of beta-carotene, cats cannot metabolize it in this form. They need the preformed Vitamin A found only in animal protein. Cats also require B vitamins, thiamin and niacin in their diet.
Luckily, the vitamins cats need are usually found in commercially produced cat food. Look for foods labeled "complete" or "balanced" in nutrition. By law pet food manufacturers may only put that label on the package if animals can get all their nutrition from the food alone.
Unless your cat has been diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency, it is generally not necessary to supplement her diet. For instance, small intestinal diseases can prevent the cat from absorbing the B vitamins folate and cobalamine. If that's the case, your veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate supplement. Likewise, young feline mothers may develop nutritional deficiencies. Again, a vet provides the best guidance.
Cat supplements do exist on the market. General vitamins are equivalent to the multi-vitamins many people take. However, they do not provide any more nutrition than a cat food labeled "complete" or "balanced." In fact, since vitamins such as A,D,E and K are fat soluble, meaning they're stored in an animal's fat, over-supplementing a cat's diet can lead to hypervitaminosis. This excess of vitamins can actually harm your cat's health.
Dogs come in many different shapes and sizes. However, depending on the breed, Fido has a variety of nutritional requirements. For example, smaller breeds need to eat far less in a day than a bigger dog would to stay at a healthy weight. Some breeds have more energy while others prefer lethargy. You may wonder, especially if you are a first-time dog owner, whether vitamin requirements differ depending on the breed.
The answer, generally, is no. The reason for this relates to dogs and their abilities to produce certain vitamins within their own bodies. For example, dogs can produce adequate amounts of vitamin C. That means that most dog food brands for any breed will include only minor amounts of this vitamin in the ingredients. In the case where a dog cannot produce enough of a certain vitamin on their own, then dog food brands generally include more of this in their product.
Generally, if you feed your dog, regardless of breed, an adequate amount of dog food daily, then the animal should get the required amount of vitamins that it needs to grow and thrive. You should not overfeed your dog, as this could lead to weight gain. You should also not go overboard when it comes to offering your pet vitamins or supplements. An excess of vitamin D can damage muscles and bones, while too much vitamin C can actually damage a bigger dog's blood vessels.
If you believe that your particular breed of dog may need vitamins or supplements, ask your veterinarian. Together, the two of you can figure out the proper amount of vitamins to offer your dog to help and not hinder or harm its health.
Puppies grow at a rapid rate, sometimes as much as several inches per month in large breeds. This fast growth can put a strain on nutritional requirements that must be replenished on a daily basis. Picky eating can also cause nutritional problems. A high quality dog food specifically formulated for your puppy’s size will generally contain all the nutrition he needs, but some breeds may require additional vitamins for their unusually rapid growth.
Vitamin A is a component in most commercial dog food, and so additional amounts are not generally required. In fact, excess amounts of vitamin A can cause damage to blood vessels, joint pain and dehydration. Be aware of any excess vitamin A in vitamin supplements you are giving your puppy.
Although a certain amount of vitamin D is necessary for cell regeneration, too much can cause problems in dogs. It can harm their bones, cause muscle atrophy and decrease their natural appetite. Avoid vitamin supplements that contain high levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin E can have a beneficial effect on inflammation and joint pain. However, it is unlikely that a small puppy would suffer from these problems. Additional vitamin E may have a beneficial effect on coat and skin, but it should be given in excessive amounts.
Excessive amounts of calcium can cause bone disorders in large breed dogs. Dogs generally get sufficient amounts of calcium from the commercial dog food that they eat daily. Talk to your veterinarian before giving your puppy any additional amounts.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are not actually vitamins, but they are nutritional supplements that can help to keep your puppies skin and coat in good condition. If your puppy has dry, itchy skin from heated indoor air, omega-3 fatty acids can help.
You nourish your adult dog with love, but are you making sure you are taking care of its nutritional needs too? Your canine companion's dietary needs change with advancing age. From the frisky puppy stage to the lazy days of simply curling up and looking adoringly at you, your dog depends on you for everything.
Vitamin needs depend upon the type of food you feed your furry friend. If home-cooked morsels are the prime source of nourishment for your pet, you need to add vitamins and minerals to balance the diet. High-quality commercial dog foods for senior dogs are carefully made with added vitamins and minerals needed for aging dogs. Supplements are not usually required, if your dog is eating well. However, older dogs don't exercise much and may be picky eaters or not eating enough. Arthritis, heart disease, kidney ailments and deficiencies are common in aging dogs.
So which vitamins, minerals and compounds benefit a senior dog?
Remember to always check with your veterinarian before you start supplementing your senior dog's diet with vitamins, minerals and various compounds. While limitless love cannot hurt your beloved Fido, excess of some vitamins can.
You love your pet, and it's very likely that your cat or dog has become a part of the family. You want your four-legged friend to live a long and healthy life, and you can achieve this by giving your pet vitamins. Just like with people, vitamins promote proper digestion and muscle growth and health. Unlike people, pets need vitamins to maintain a healthy fur coat. Here are five other reasons why your pet needs vitamins.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|