With many people consuming multivitamins as part of their daily routine, it’s no surprise that pet owners are now using multivitamins to supplement their dog’s diet, too.
Nurturing our pets from an early age is key to helping them enjoy full, active and healthy lives. Just like humans, a complete, well-balanced diet is vital to supporting the long-term health of our cherished companions.
And so it goes with humans, a dog’s diet is one of the key factors in determining whether a multivitamin will be of benefit to your pet.
A complete and balanced diet for dogs is key
According to ZamiPet’s Head Veterinarian Dr Andrew McKay, diet – equal only to love – is at the top of the list when advising dog owners how to provide the best possible care for their pets. “A quality, complete and balanced diet, timely vaccinations, regular exercise, routine and consistency, and an enriched, safe environment provide the best long-term outcomes for happy, healthy pets”, explains Dr. McKay.
However, it’s not always easy to determine if your dog is eating a well-balanced and nutritionally complete diet, and there are a number of key considerations when determining the nutritional needs of your dog.
Animals can’t always get all the nutrients they need from diet alone
Whilst many commercially available dog foods contain the requisite vitamins and minerals to support your pet’s nutritional needs, just like humans, dogs don’t and can’t always get the nutrients they need through diet alone. There are a number of different factors that may contribute to nutritional deficiencies in our pets including:
- Fussy eaters
- Dogs on short-term restricted diets
- Dogs being fed unbalanced or incomplete diets, including homemade meals
Homemade dog food versus store bought
A recent survey by ZamiPet found that 42 per cent of owners cook and prepare all of their dog’s meals themselves.1 Many commercially available, quality pet foods are specially formulated to provide the necessary dietary requirements to support your dog’s ongoing health and nutrition based on age and lifestyle. However not all pet foods are created equal, with a vast selection of brands available which may vary in quality and/or not suit the needs of all dogs. Similarly, despite the best efforts of owners, it can be difficult to gauge if homemade meals are providing your dog with a well-balanced, nutritionally complete diet. In these circumstances, supplementing with a multivitamin for your dog can be helpful in filling nutritional gaps.
Some dogs require additional immune system support
A robust immune system is essential to your dog’s long-term health. With regular exposure to bacteria, viruses, parasites and environmental toxins, a strong immune system is vital to providing the first line of defence for our pets. And with the gut comprising 70 per cent of the body’s immune cells, a healthy digestive system is key to your pet’s overall health and wellbeing.
A multivitamin can help support your dog’s gut health
Microorganisms are present in huge numbers in the digestive tract of animals, both beneficial (good bacteria) and harmful (bad bacteria). This collection of microorganisms – and everything else in their environment, is known as the gut microbiome. To ensure efficient and effective digestion of food, the gut microbiome needs to be balanced. A balanced microbiome also supports metabolism and a healthy immune system.
Signs of gastrointestinal conditions in dogs – which leads to an imbalanced microbiome – are extremely common. Prebiotics can provide an important source of non-digestible fibre to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria already in the colon and help protect the lining of the gut. A dog multivitamin that includes a prebiotic can positively affect the microbiome to enhance general health and immunity.
What to look for in a dog multivitamin
If you have determined your dog would benefit from a multivitamin – either to complement a homemade diet or address a specific condition or deficiency – it’s important to focus on both the quality and levels of active ingredients in your pet’s multivitamin.
According to ZamiPet’s Dr McKay, it’s important to get this balance just right to maximise efficacy, along with robust supporting evidence from a number of scientific studies. “We have ensured the ZamiPet range is formulated with targeted, quality ingredients at the right inclusion levels, along with supporting scientific evidence, to ensure our supplements deliver the desired health benefit.”
Key ingredients in a dog multivitamin
For dog multivitamins, a comprehensive blend of nutrients to support nutritional gaps would include Vitamins E, C and A plus B group vitamins, along with Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, Iron & Selenium. Other beneficial ingredients including Omega-3, Prebiotic, Lutein and CoQ10, can support more specific health concerns including brain, eye, joint, heart, kidney and gut health.
Should a dog have a human multivitamin?
Dr McKay advises to always choose a multivitamin that has been specially formulated for dogs. “Human supplements may contain ingredients or levels of ingredients that are unsuitable or potentially harmful to pets.”
Multivitamins formulated specially for dogs
ZamiPet Complete Care Multi provides a comprehensive blend of vitamins and minerals to maintain general health and vitality in dogs and support a healthy immune system. More than just a multivitamin, it also contains a host of other beneficial ingredients to support the long-term health of your much-loved companion.
When in doubt, always speak with your vet!
When it comes to nutrition, a dog’s best friend will always be your local vet. To properly assess if your dog is eating a well-balanced and nutritionally complete diet and whether supplementation is right for your pet, please consult your vet or animal health professional.
- ZamiPet (June 2021), “Australian dog owners' attitudes towards the health and wellbeing of their canine”; Internal research report.
The information in this article was checked by ZamiPet Veterinarian and General Manager Dr Andrew McKay, BVSc, University of Melbourne, 2000. Vet Registration No: V3985
Disclaimer: This information is general advice only. Before starting any treatment or supplement with your pet, please consult your vet first for the best approach to getting your pet back to their best health.