The Importance of Vitamins for Dogs
Elevate Your Dog’s Food Beyond Simple Nutrition
Welcome to ‘Ingredients with a Purpose’ – a series of science informed articles on the role the ingredients in your dog’s food plays in achieving their best health and wellbeing at every stage of their precious lives at the same time helping to reduce the environmental impact feeding them has on our precious planet.
We understand there are a LOT of options when it comes to what you feed your dog. We also understand you want to offer them the best food possible, and labels can be confusing. The goal of this series is to give you clear insight into the reason for the inclusion of every ingredient in our super premium food, the role it plays and what is necessary to guarantee you are feeding your dog an all-natural, complete, and balanced, diet.
These are the key elements necessary for positive nutrition.
The Importance of Vitamins for Your Dog’s Health
Vitamins are vital nutrients that help your dog’s body to grow and repair itself. However too much of certain vitamins can be bad for their health.
Vitamins also help your dog’s body to process other nutrients – without the right balance of vitamins, their body wouldn’t grow or repair itself properly.
Your dog needs vitamins from two different groups: water-soluble vitamins, C and B-complex, and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Water-soluble vitamins: C and B-complex
These vitamins help a dog’s body to build bones, teeth and connective tissues. Because they dissolve in water, they’re continually being flushed out of the body – so regular top-ups are needed. However: while the various forms of vitamin B need to come from your dog’s diet, vitamin C is produced naturally by their body, and you should not feed your dog Vitamin C supplements unless prescribed by your dog’s vet.
Fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K
Your dog’s body absorbs these vitamins through their intestine and stores them for later use. A build-up of too much of any of these vitamins can lead to physical abnormalities, particularly in their bones.
You should not give your dog supplements of these vitamins unless your vet prescribes them for a specific health condition.
The fat-soluble vitamins perform specific functions in your dog’s body.
Vitamin A for Dogs:
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin needed for growth and development, cell recognition, vision, immune function, and reproduction. It is a powerful antioxidant. It also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs to function correctly.
Preformed vitamin A occurs in meat, fish, and dairy produce. Preformed vitamin A can be toxic when consumed in excessive amounts, either through diet or supplementation.
Provitamin A is stored in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products.
Beta-carotene, a carotenoid, is a precursor of vitamin A and is found in plants. This “pro-vitamin,” in itself an antioxidant, is converted into vitamin A as needed by the body, so there is no risk of overdose or toxicity.
As the Bonza recipe is high in beta-carotene, a natural precursor to Vitamin A, our recipe requires very little added Vitamin A by comparison with other dog foods and lowers risk of unintended toxicity.
Ingredients in our 100% plant-based dog food that provide Vitamin A include sweet potato, carrots, spinach, kale, water lentils and papaya
Vitamin D3 for Dogs: (Algae-based, vegan Vitamin D3)
Unlike humans, our dogs have lost the ability to make vitamin D in the skin when exposed to the sun, and thus must rely on dietary sources to receive the vitamin D their bodies need.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for dogs, which means it must be part of their diet in order for your dog to maintain optimal health. Muscles and nerves require vitamin D for proper function because it helps regulate calcium and phosphorus absorption.
Vitamin D’s role in calcium absorption is also essential to the health of the dog’s bones. The most important muscle in the body is the heart and insufficient Vitamin D levels can lead to congestive heart failure. New research is also showing that low levels of Vitamin D are linked to an increased risk of cancer.
There are 2 different forms of Vitamin D – D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is derived from plants and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) from lanolin in sheep’s wool or algae. While the USA permit Vitamin D2 to be used in dog food the EU ruled in 2017 that it would no longer be permitted for inclusion after June 2019 and that Vitamin D3 must be used.
Vitamin D2 and D3 are not equal when it comes to raising your vitamin D status. Both are effectively absorbed into the bloodstream. However, the liver metabolizes them differently. The liver metabolizes vitamin D2 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and vitamin D3 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. These two compounds are collectively known as calcifediol.
Calcifediol is the main circulating form of vitamin D, and its blood levels reflect your body’s stores of this nutrient. For this reason, your health care provider can estimate your vitamin D status by measuring your levels of calcifediol (6).
However, vitamin D2 seems to yield less calcifediol than an equal amount of vitamin D3. Most studies show that vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2 at raising blood levels of calcifediol (7, 8).
Vitamin D2 is also thought to degrade more over time making it less available for use within our dog’s bodies. As this is such a vital vitamin for our dogs Bonza only use a vegan-friendly algae-based source of Vitamin D3 in our recipes.
Vitamin E for Dogs:
Vitamin E is more than good for dogs—it’s essential! Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help defend the body against free radicals in the skin and other cells.
Plants are the best sources of Vitamin E.
Vitamin K for Dogs:
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble nutrient essential for the synthesis of coagulation proteins needed for blood to clot. Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is the primary dietary source of Vitamin K as it is synthesized in plants and can be consumed through food or supplements. Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is synthesized by gut bacteria inside an animal’s body, and can also be found in some food sources.
Vitamin K in your dog’s diet is used to metabolize calcium into the bones, which prevents calcium deposits in the heart, arteries, and other muscles. Promotes healthy blood coagulation. Vitamin K helps to ensure proper blood clotting and is used to prevent bleeding after surgery or injury.
For most dogs, enough Vitamin K is produced internally by their own gut bacteria, which means they require very little in dietary sources.
The best natural sources occur in leafy greens including spinach and kale.
Choline for Dogs
Choline is a necessary component of the phospholipid cell membrane. It supports healthy brain and liver function and is occasionally used as part of a treatment plan for pets with epilepsy.
In addition, plant foods can be good sources of betaine, a compound that can stand in for choline as a methyl donor. Bonza ingredients with good levels of betaine include quinoa, spinach and sweet potato.
Taurine for Dogs:
Taurine promotes cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, electrolyte balance, hearing function, and immune modulation. In animal research, taurine protected against heart failure, reducing mortality by nearly 80%.
Certain diets, particularly vegetarian or vegan diets, lack adequate amounts of taurine. We use a vegan friendly, plant-based source of Taurine in our recipes to provide your dog with the significant health benefits Taurine offers them.
L-Carnitine for Dogs:
The mitochondria act as engines within your cells, burning these fats to create usable energy. Your body can produce L-carnitine out of the amino acids, lysine and methionine. For your body to produce it in sufficient amounts, you also need plenty of vitamin C (4).
In addition to the L-carnitine produced in your body, you can also obtain small amounts by eating animal products like meat or fish (5). Vegans or people with certain genetic issues may be unable to produce or obtain enough. This makes L-carnitine a conditionally essential nutrient (6). Deficiency of this nutrient can cause a variety of health problems for animals; most significantly, the association with heart disease (cardiomyopathy) in dogs.
We use a vegan friendly, plant-based source of L-carnitine in our recipes to provide your dog with the significant health benefits L-carnitine offers them.
Whatever you decide to feed your dog, they’ll rely on you to make sure that they get the right balance of vitamins in their diet.
Bonza’s vegan dog food is formulated to deliver the optimum balance of vitamins, together with PhytoPlus®, a proprietary blend of superfoods, super herbs and botanicals, designed to support your dog living its longest, carefree life with an eco-friendly diet,
Bonza. Nose to Tail Good Health.