27 May What vitamins do my pets need?
We all know that the vitamins and minerals we eat go a long way to maintaining our health and strength. The same is true for your animals – getting the right nutrients can help them stay healthy and happy, and support their growth and vitality.
What nutrients do my pets need?
Pets need the largely same vitamins and minerals that we do, although in different amounts. Vitamin A helps them grow and boosts their immune system, and helps with their vision. The B vitamins play many roles in their body, from regulating their metabolism to supporting their nervous system. Vitamin D is important for healthy bones and teeth, and vitamin E helps with cell function and fat metabolism. Pets should also get enough calcium, iron, zinc, and a range of other vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.
Should I give my pet supplements?
You should never give your animals any kind of medication or supplement without consultation with your vet. Most animals will get the right balance of nutrition from their food, so extra supplements are not likely to be necessary, and could actually be harmful.
If your pet has a medical condition or deficiency, your vet might recommend a supplement to help them stay healthy. For the most part however, pets should get their nutrients from their food.
Getting the right stuff
While your pet should get the vitamins and minerals they need from their food, their requirements do change with age. That’s why it’s important to get a food that is matched to your pet’s needs – kitten and puppy food for young animals, a specially formulated food for older pets, and then a good quality food made for their size during the rest of their lives.
It should go without saying, but giving dog food to cats and vice versa can be harmful to your pets, as they have different requirements. Some owners prefer to make their food, but this should only be done after extensive consultation with a knowledgeable vet. Bear in mind that in the wild animals don’t just eat the meaty part of their prey, so giving only meat can have some seriously negative effects on your pet’s health.
The easiest and most certain way to ensure your pet is getting their nutritional needs met is to choose a specially formulated commercial food that is labelled “complete and balanced”, and is recommended by your vet.
Keeping your pet healthy
For most animals, choosing a good quality, vet-recommended food means they should get the nutrients they need. If your pet has any health issues or deficiencies, your vet can help guide you as to the best way to support their health.
We all want our pets to stay as healthy and happy as possible, and giving them the right nutrition will go a long way towards helping them to stay that way. In the case of supplements, too much of a good thing can have negative side effects. Nutrients are very important, but like any other area of your pet’s health, make sure you get professional advice before you start supplementing their diet.