As a doting dog owner, you find yourself looking for the best dog multivitamins. But do dogs need them? And if so, which multivitamins are the best? If you are feeding your pooch a balanced and complete diet, there is usually no need for vitamin supplements for your dog. However, there are some cases where your vet will recommend starting a course of dog multivitamins.
There are several things to consider when choosing the best multivitamin for dogs. What works for one dog may not be suitable for another. So, it is important to take your vet’s advice and to consider your special pup’s needs. Your dog may prefer delicious chewable tablets or may need to be tricked into taking liquid multivitamins.
When do Dogs Need Multivitamins?
If your dog suffers from health or behavioral problems, make sure to ask your vet about potential vitamin deficiencies. Imbalanced homemade meals, poor quality dog food, parasitic infections, and conditions like anemia and diabetes can lead to vitamin deficiencies. In these cases, your vet may recommend multivitamins.
If your dog is given a complete and balanced diet, they most likely do not need a vitamin supplement. A complete diet should provide all of the vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to be healthy! If you are worried about your dog’s diet, you can always add some fresh and safe vegetables to your dog’s diet to give a natural boost of nutrition. Over-supplementing your furry friend with multivitamins can cause more harm than good!
What Vitamins do Dogs Need?
Like us, dogs need an array of vitamins to be happy and healthy. Most dogs will get all of their essential vitamins from a complete and balanced diet. Your dog needs fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as the water-soluble vitamins C and B-complex.
Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestines and stored for later use. Because these vitamins are stored for long periods, there is a greater risk of toxicity when taken in excess. These vitamins are acquired through your dog’s complete and balanced diet.
- Vitamin A helps with eyesight
- Calcium absorption cannot function without vitamin D
- Vitamin E aids the immune system
- Blood clotting cannot happen without vitamin K
Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are continually taken out of the body. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins are taken to the body’s tissues but are not kept for long. Your dog produces its own vitamin C and usually does not need any supplementation.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant
- Vitamin B-complex includes thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6. Assists with energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism
How to Choose the Right Multivitamin Supplement for Dogs
Make sure to follow your vet’s guidance when it comes to choosing a multivitamin. Depending on your dog’s health, your vet will recommend which form of a multivitamin is most suitable for them. They will also direct you on which vitamins your dog specifically needs.
Best Dog Multivitamin Mix
Depending on what your vet recommends, you may want either a full mixture of essential vitamins or just one that is lacking in your dog’s body.
Make sure to follow your vet’s advice and pick the correct vitamins for your dog. If your dog needs a wide array of vitamins, double-check the multivitamin packaging for the list of vitamins.
Best Dog Multivitamin Supplement Type
Dogs might be famous for trying to eat anything they can find, but not all dogs take kindly to their multivitamins. Depending on your dog’s pill preferences, you might consider giving their vitamins as a chew, tablet, or liquid.
Perhaps the most unpopular option is the dreaded tablet. While some dogs have no qualms with taking a tablet, many others refuse to take them no matter how you disguise the tablet. However, with that being said, tablets are a guaranteed way of delivering the full dose to your dog – a chew can be partially eaten, and a liquid topping may be ignored. Vitamin chews are an effective way to deliver multivitamins to your pooch without them suspecting a thing. However, be sure that the chews are not too hard for your dog, especially if they have dental problems. As long as the supplement tastes good, most dogs will chow down on their liquid supplemented food with no problem!
Are your dog’s vitamin supplements free from harmful ingredients and fillers? Make sure that your dog is getting all of their vitamins rather than a product full of unnecessary additives. Your product should be clearly labeled with no vague descriptions of what is inside. Two of the most common non-food fillers include talc and silicon. Food-based fillers include lactose and cornstarch. Artificial colorings are sometimes done for marketing purposes – these only function for people, not dogs! Finally, some gums that are used as emulsifiers cause allergic reactions.
What Are High-Calorie Supplements For Dogs?
High-calorie supplements for dogs are dietary additives that help underweight dogs to gain weight. They can also be used to prevent dogs with certain conditions from losing weight.
They contain super-dense ingredients that are naturally high in calories to increase or maintain the weight of the dog at a steady, safe rate. High-cal supplements should also contain key nutrients that support the entire body to help it accommodate the influx in calories.
The majority of high-calorie supplements come in the form of tasty liquids, gels, pastes, and powders that can be either eaten off the end of a finger or mixed in with food, which is especially useful for fussy eaters.
There are also generic supplements that are suitable for different pets, which are ideal for animal shelters, and dog-specific supplements, which are great for owners. Some dog-specific supplements are suitable for all dogs, while others are designed for either puppies or adults.
When looking for a supplement for your dog to stimulate their appetite, consider their needs, too. For example, high-fat content supplements are best suited to dogs who need to gain a lot of weight. Others double up as muscle builders for large and active dogs, and some focus primarily on weight gain/maintenance during illness or illness recovery. There are even appetite builders for anxious dogs and those with added nutrients for joint support for senior dogs.
You will have to tailor your dog’s dosage according to their size via the instructions that come with the product. If your dog is severely underweight, your vet may advise that you build up their dosage gradually, as to not overwhelm their body.
Key ingredients to look out for include:
- Healthy fats from natural sources (e.g. fish oil and coconut)
- Protein from natural & high quality sources
- Key vitamins and minerals
- Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
- Probiotics & other digestion aids such as flaxseed and pumpkin
Things to avoid include:
- Chemicals & synthetics
- Artificial additives & preservatives
- Added sugar
- Trans fats
Other things to you may also want to consider:
- Vet-recommended or trusted brands
- Products approved by official bodies
- High ratings & good reviews
- Ethically & sustainably sourced ingredients
Pros of using weight gain supplements
Although you should still (and always) feed your dog a sufficient, nourishing, diet, the biggest pro of using a weight gain supplement is that it gives you peace of mind. You know that your dog is getting the number of calories they need to gain weight in one convenient product.
Cons of using weight gain supplements
If you do give your dog a weight gain supplement, you must make sure you give them the recommended dosage every day and stick to it until they’re healthy. Otherwise, you could wreak havoc with their body.
Another con is that weight gain supplements, like all supplements, can also have side effects, so make sure you read about the possible side effects of the product online or in the pamphlet that comes with the product.
Dogs & Weight
Like all animals, dogs can become overweight or underweight. Their ideal weight range depends on their breed, size, and age. Your vet will tell you your dog’s ideal weight and monitor it at annual check-ups, but the American Kennel Club also has a weight chart that you can use.
Dogs can lose weight from illness and stress. Metabolic disorders such as diabetes, cancer, diseases involving the major organs, such as liver disease, parasites, gastrointestinal conditions, dental diseases, maldigestion disorders, and malabsorptive disorders can all cause dramatic weight loss and prevent weight gain.
When there is no apparent cause for weight loss, owners should look for other unusual physical symptoms such as changes in the coat and ask their vet for an examination.
Stress can also cause dogs to lose their appetite and therefore lose weight. Other symptoms of stress include panting, pacing, and destructive behavior. Common causes of stress include separation anxiety, boredom, being underexercised, phobias, trauma, life changes, and illness or death in the family.
A good way to tell if a dog is severely underweight is if their ribs and lumbar vertebrae are easily felt and visible, and their waist and pelvic bones are prominent.
One of the most common reasons dogs become underweight is malnourishment from starvation. Malnourishment often occurs in rescue dogs and is usually a result of abuse or neglect, but it can also be due to homelessness.
Preventing Weight Loss & Gaining Weight
When a dog is underweight, vets often prescribe a special diet of high-calorie, high-protein, high-fat, nutrient-rich food to help them gain weight. This food should be given on a regular feeding schedule, which may include slightly smaller but more frequent meals than usual. Light dog exercise is usually suggested to increase appetite, and for those that need a little extra help, vets may recommend using a weight gain supplement as well.
If a dog is at risk of becoming underweight, vets may suggest a special diet, using a supplement, or both, depending on the situation.
If your dog’s weight loss has an underlying cause such as illness or stress, you should address the underlying issue first. Once your vet has diagnosed your dog, you can start to treat or manage their condition and focus on gaining back the weight. If your dog is experiencing stress and you cannot eliminate the cause, try to do some positive association training or invest in some anti-anxiety products. A fixed routine, lots of interaction, affection, exercise, play, and mental stimulation will also help too.
10 Best Dog Multivitamins
Has your vet recommended that your paw-tner starts taking multivitamins? Check out our list of best dog multivitamins to help you as you shop! If in doubt, make sure to check in with your vet for advice.
1. Zesty Paws 5-in-1 Multivitamin Bites
Zesty Paws Multivitamin for Dogs is a top-class choice for any canine. With essential vitamins like vitamin E and biotin, this supplement promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat. As well as this, it supports your dog’s joint health with its prime blend of glucosamine and chondroitin. Top this off with digestive enzymes and probiotics, and this multivitamin addresses every aspect of your pooch’s health!
Customers love how effective these multivitamins are at preventing health problems in their furry friends. Unlike many multivitamins that only target a few areas of health, this supplement provides a daily dose of support for almost every area of your pooch’s health. Young pups will also benefit from the probiotics included in this multivitamin. Perhaps most importantly of all, many dogs love the taste of these chicken-flavored tablets!
The most common complaint is a dog’s unwillingness to eat this supplement. Despite the chicken flavoring, a small number of dogs refuse to take the chew at all and will spit it out. Some customers do not like the texture of the treats. Rather than being soft and chewy, some vitamins appear to arrive crumbly.
2. PetHonesty 10-for-1 Multivitamin
Going natural is always the best idea when it comes to our dogs, and this multivitamin goes all the way. Containing glucosamine, probiotics, antioxidants, and pumpkin, these tasty chews target all aspects of your pup’s health. These ingredients work together to support your dog’s joints, heart, skin, and coat. They also promote good energy. Not only this, but these chicken-flavored chews are free from GMOs, chemicals, and fillers like wheat or soy. Finally, the inclusion of PurforMSM® helps to maintain joint cushioning.
Customers love the all-purpose effects of this chewy multivitamin. Many dogs can’t resist the chicken flavor and will find themselves begging for more! Being free from artificial ingredients, many owners are pleased with the natural origins of this multivitamin and find themselves less worried about side effects and allergic reactions as a result. Furthermore, the inclusion of fiber in this supplement helps many older dogs to go to the toilet alongside boosting their overall wellness.
As with any supplement, these chews do not go down a treat with every dog. Some dogs refuse to eat these chews despite the tasty chicken flavoring. As well as this, some customers find that there is no noticeable change in their dog’s health after taking this supplement. In these cases, switching to a different supplement appears to benefit the dog more.
3. VetriScience Canine Senior Multivitamin
Your older dog is just as deserving of a tasty multivitamin to support their health! Canine Plus™ multivitamins are specially made for the needs of mature canines. These tasty chews contain over 25 ingredients, including calcium, phosphorus, iron, and a healthy range of vitamins. These ingredients are ideal for supporting your older dog’s heart, brain, liver, and eye function.
Customers love the effectiveness of this multivitamin. Many customers report that their senior dogs seem more energetic and alert after a course of these multivitamins. These results suggest that these multivitamins support excellent cognitive health in senior dogs. Even picky senior dogs seem to enjoy these chews – some customers say that their picky pooches gobble these vitamins right up with no coercion!
Not every senior dog enjoys these chews. Some would much rather take a meat-flavored chew over a vegetable-flavored one. Some customers also report that the chews quickly become hard once opened, rendering them impossible to use for dogs with poor dental health.
4. Pet Parents 5-in-1 Multivitamin
Pet Parents® Dog Multivitamin is formulated for powerful daily health support. From puppyhood to doggy retirement, these multivitamins have your pooch covered! These multivitamin chews contain fish oil for healthy skin, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, and an enzyme and probiotic blend to support healthy digestion. The wide variety of vitamins included also helps to provide excellent antioxidant support. The folic acid and coenzyme Q10 help to support your pup’s circulation. Finally, PurforMSM® helps to maintain joint health for your pooch.
Customers love that these chewy vitamins target all aspects of their dog’s health. They also love that these vitamins are free from artificial preservatives. Many dogs who take these vitamins find themselves more alert and energetic than ever before. Also, many dogs seem to live the chicken flavor of these chews and find themselves begging for more every day.
Presently, Pet Parents® Dog Multivitamin only comes in chicken flavor. This is a problem for dogs who are sensitive or allergic to chicken. Some dogs do not like the chicken flavoring that is used in these vitamins.
5. Vet's Best Soft Chew Multivitamin
Vet’s Best Soft Chews are made by veterinarians to maintain your special pup’s health. Each one of these moist daily chews is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics. Not only this, but these vitamins have the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) Seal of Approval!
Customers love the great value and effectiveness of these multivitamin chews. For some dogs, taking these multivitamins results in higher energy levels. Also, because these chews are so easy to break up, many customers find it easy to give to dogs of any age.
Some dogs dislike the taste of these multivitamins. Dogs who usually eat anything might turn up their noses at these chicken and kelp-flavored chews. As well as this, some customers find that their chews arrive crumbled and broken.
6. Prosense Dog Vitamin Solutions
As the name suggests, these vitamins support the health and wellness of dogs of any age! These multivitamins contain an array of essential vitamins, minerals, and the element cobalt. With their all-round assortment of vitamins, these chews are a staple in many dog owners’ cupboards.
Customers love the effectiveness of these multivitamins. Many dogs become more alert and energetic after taking these vitamins. There is also a noticeable difference in coat quality after taking these multivitamins.
The main concern with these vitamins is reports of dogs becoming sick after eating them. Some dogs experience diarrhea and vomiting. Others report these symptoms after a week of taking the vitamins. Also, some dogs will refuse to eat these vitamins.
7. GNC Ultra Multivitamin
Treat your senior pooch with GNC Pets Ultra Mega Multivitamin! Formulated with high-quality ingredients, these multivitamin chews are specially designed to support the health of older canines. Containing an array of vitamins, minerals, and extras enzymes like papain, these chews are bound to support your pooch.
Customers just love the boost of energy that their pets get after taking these multivitamins. Many dogs seem to move with ease after a course of GNC Pets Ultra Mega Multivitamin. Also, many of the pickiest pooches love to tuck into these beef-flavored chews!
The main problem with these vitamins is the receipt of the wrong vitamin after purchase. There are also some minor problems with the quality of the packaging. Apart from this, there are no negative reviews for GNC Pets Ultra Mega Multivitamin!
8. Dr. Harvey's Multi-Vitamin
Dr. Harvey’s Multi-Vitamin is a herbal powder that gives any pooch an extra kick. As a powder, this vitamin makes a suitable topping for any doggy dinner. This supplement contains a range of natural ingredients, including kelp, alfalfa, flaxseed, spinach, chamomile, and peppermint.
Many proponents of an all-natural diet love this supplement. A shiny coat, higher energy levels, and mental alertness are just some of the reported effects of this product. Customers also love that this powder is easy to add to any meal, making it easy to administer.
The downside to this product is the use of unhealthy ingredients. For example, spirulina may cause diarrhea. It also contains garlic, an ingredient that is toxic to dogs. As a result, some dogs experience diarrhea and vomiting after taking this supplement. Also, the precise vitamin analysis is not given on the product’s label. Instead, the natural ingredients are listed, which may be too vague for some worried owners.
9. Authority Multivitamin and DHA Support
Enrich your special pooch’s immune system with these Authority Multivitamin & DHA treats. With their tasty bacon flavoring and soft chewy texture, your dog is sure to love these treats whilst also gaining essential nutrition. These treats contain a range of vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids to support your pooch’s health.
Customers love that their dogs enjoy the bacon flavor of these treats. With enjoyment comes the ease of giving the treats. The good value of these multivitamins goes down a treat with happy customers! Furthermore, the soft and moist texture makes it easy to split these treats for smaller dogs and puppies.
A small number of customers receive these treats broken and crumbled. This leaves them unable to be given full chews. Some also report receiving the incorrect amount of treats. Compared to other multivitamin supplements, this supplement offers fewer benefits. While other supplements provide prebiotics or probiotics, this supplement does specifically target those areas.
10. Pfizer Animal Pet Tinic Liquid Vitamin-Mineral Supplement
Give your pooch a boost with this Pet-Tonic Liquid Vitamin-Mineral supplement! This liquid supplement provides copper, iron, and five vitamins for pets who need that extra punch of nutrition. Easily dispensible, this supplement comes with a dropper for easy measurement. It is also a tasty meat flavor to guarantee a taste that your pooch will enjoy!
Customers love the effectiveness of this supplement. Some vets recommend Pet-Tonic Liquid Vitamin-Mineral supplement for the treatment of anemia in dogs. For most dogs, this liquid supplement helps to return anemic dogs’ iron levels to normal.
The downside to this product is its lack of vitamin C. When given to anemic dogs, the lack of vitamin C may mean that dogs struggle to absorb the iron. Due to this, the product is likely to be more effective for otherwise healthy dogs, rather than those suffering from anemia due to chronic kidney disease. Some owners find no improvement when their dog takes this supplement.
Best Dog Multivitamins: FAQ
Have questions about dog multivitamins? We gathered all the frequently asked questions by pet owners and provided the best answer for their queries.
Your dog might need multivitamins to combat a nutritional deficiency. Nutritional deficiencies can be caused by imbalanced homemade meals, poor quality pet food, parasitic infections, and health conditions like diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Although vitamin deficiencies are uncommon in healthy dogs, it is best to talk with your vet about your dog’s health if you are at all concerned.
Through physical examination and blood tests, your vet will be able to tell you exactly what your canine pawt-ner needs. Depending on the cause of your dog’s deficiency, they may need one or more specific vitamins, meaning that one product may be more suitable for your pooch than another.
Depending on your dog’s needs, your vet may recommend a specific type of vitamin supplement. If your dog takes tablets well, you may find that a regular multivitamin tablet is best for your pooch. However, picky or senior dogs may benefit from chewable tablets or liquid multivitamins.
You must also consider your dog’s intolerances and allergies when choosing which vitamins to give to your dog. To make supplements tastier, many manufacturers will use real chicken or beef flavoring. If your dog is allergic to chicken, a chicken-flavored multivitamin could be dangerous for your pooch.
In general, a nutritional deficiency causes skin and coat disorders, a lack of energy, and a change in toilet habits. Specific vitamin deficiencies will affect dogs in different ways. For example, vitamin A deficiency may cause dull skin and coat as well as night blindness. Your dog’s muscles may deteriorate, leading to general weakness. Similarly, vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle weakness. Your dog may also be at a greater risk of heart failure, osteomalacia, and cancer. Vitamin E deficiencies are rare but are known to cause muscle weakness and decreased fertility.
Only your vet can diagnose a vitamin deficiency. Even if you feel that your dog’s symptoms match a vitamin deficiency, you must seek veterinary advice for your pooch. This is because other diseases can mimic vitamin deficiency. Also, vitamin deficiencies themselves can be caused by underlying digestive problems, so it is important to rule this possibility out before supplementing your dog with multivitamins.
Multivitamins for humans are not safe for dogs. Not only are our doses different, but many multivitamins for humans contain harmful ingredients. One of the most dangerous vitamins for dogs is prenatal vitamins. These vitamins are often high in iron and may cause iron toxicity in dogs.
Vitamin D supplements may also be dangerous when eaten in excess. Too much vitamin D can increase your dog’s risk of renal failure and heart problems. Gummy multivitamins pose a different risk to our furry friends. Many gummy vitamins are made with xylitol. Xylitol is extremely toxic to your dog, even in small amounts. When eaten, xylitol causes hypoglycemia, liver failure, and seizures in dogs.
Until your puppy is weaning, they only need their mother’s milk and do not need additional multivitamins. This is because mother’s milk provides all the nutrition your pups need.
Once your puppy is weaning, their transition to a solid diet begins. This solid diet should be balanced and complete. If so, your puppy will not require any additional vitamins from you. Giving your puppy extra vitamins can be extremely detrimental to their health. For example, giving too much vitamin D can cause radius curvus syndrome in puppies.
The best multivitamin for dogs varies from dog to dog. While one dog will love chicken-flavored multivitamins, others will only need a liquid vitamin to supplement a deficiency. Be sure to check with your vet before giving your dog multivitamins.