The Building Blocks of Nutrition
Vitamins are the building blocks of nutrition for people and for pets. Understanding the importance of Vitamin A,B,C, and all the others will help you determine if your pet is in need of a nutritional supplement.
Pets already eating a premium, high-quality, commercial pet food available at Petland are receiving food that contains the proper mix of all necessary nutrients. Veterinary nutritionists research and then write the recipes for these diets. There is no guessing on their part as to what is nutritionally good for your pet.
Pets eating low-grade commercial diets or table scraps may not be receiving a proper nutritional mix. Older pets often need vitamin supplements to reinforce their slowing metabolisms. Pregnant female cats and dogs require vitamin supplements to replace the nutrients lost while breast-feeding their offspring.
Balance is Important
Over time health problems can arise in pets – birds, cats, dogs, fish, reptiles, small animals – lacking a balanced diet. Before giving any pet a vitamin supplement, read the product’s packaging and follow dosage recommendations closely. Balance is very important. Giving a pet too many vitamins known as hypervitaminosis, can be just as harmful as a deficiency.
Vitamins are nutrients – organic substances in the metabolic process – that help a pet’s body function properly. They are either fat soluble or water soluble. Fat soluble ones can be absorbed only in fat and are stored in the body unlike water soluble ones. Fat soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K. Water soluble vitamins include B-complex, C, biotin and folic acid., niacin, and pantothenic acid and choline.
Absorbed in Fat
Vitamin A –This fat soluble nutrient helps with bone development. It also maintains a pet’s night vision. Vitamin A is found in many foods including eggs, fish, and green vegetables. A lack of vitamin A can cause growth retardation, bone and skin disorders, and vision problems.
Vitamin D –Your pet’s body uses sunlight to produce its own vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin found naturally in egg yolks and fish oils. D promotes healthy bones and teeth while helping the pet absorb calcium and phosphorus. Bone disorders and dental problems plague pets lacking this vitamin.
Vitamin E – Without this fat soluble vitamin a pet may become depressed, develop bone and muscle weakness, and lose its appetite. Vitamin E, found in cereal grains, egg yolks, and milk is known for its ability to keep body cells from degenerating.
Vitamin K – Another fat soluble vitamin that is produced naturally within your pet’s intestines is vitamin K. It’s important for the clotting of blood and also helps fight bacterial illness. Fish and soybeans contain Vitamin K.
Absorbed in Water
B-complex –Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), and cobalamin (B12) make up the B-complex vitamins all found in liver and separately in different diary products, meats, and whole grains. The B-complex vitamins help the body in many ways from breaking down food for energy and maintaining the nervous system to producing red blood cells. A deficiency in these nutrients can lead a pet to experience many health problems – anemia, constipation, drowsiness, eye problems, heart problems, indigestion, loss of appetite, nervousness, muscle weakness, paralysis, skin disorders and weight loss.
Biotin and folic acid –Biotin is found in most natural foods. It can prevent excessive secretions from a pet’s eyes. Folic acid, found in the liver, and yeast, assist in cell production, helping to prevent anemia. The intake of folic acid also has been found to improve pet’s appetites.
Choline and pantothenic acid –Both of these water soluble nutrients are found in soybeans and liver. Choline is necessary to prevent severe liver disorders. Signs indicating a lack of pantothenic acid include diarrhea, poor appetite, and a low resistance to disease. Your pet’s growth may be slow, too.
Niacin –A natural ingredient in eggs, fish, meat, and whole grains is niacin. This is where cats get niacin as their bodies cannot convert an amino acid called tryptophan into niacin like dogs can. Lack of niacin in a pet’s diet can lead to anemia, dehydration, diarrhea, intestinal inflammation, nervous system disorders, and ulcers in the mouth.