Health & Nutrition | Dogs | Cats | October 2, 2015

Vitamins in Pet Food

2 sleepy cats

Vitamins assist in the body’s ability to resist disease and are an essential part of the enzyme system. They help convert mineral elements into structural components of bones and teeth. Vitamins are known for their important role in red blood cell formation, reproduction, and assistance in maintaining appetite and a healthy skin and coat.
There are two types of vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins include A,D,E, and K, and are stored in the body. Over supplementing with these vitamins can have a toxic effect on pets. Water-soluble Vitamins include B-Complex vitamins and vitamin C.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin A helps maintain vision, and protects the body against infection. In proper amounts, it is essential for healthy skin and hair coat.

Occasionally Vitamin A deficiency is sometimes seen in growing animals. It is seldom observed in adult animals because they use stored vitamin A slowly. Toxicity occurs when too much is taken over a long period of time, or if there is a sudden overabundance of vitamin A in the diet.

Vitamin D is necessary for calcium and phosphorus absorption and metabolism. It promotes normal bone calcification and is responsible for bone and joint formation.

Requirements for dogs and cats are influenced by dietary levels of calcium and phosphorus. Feeding superior quality pet foods assures the level of calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D. Excessive Vitamin D can result in rickets, depressed growth, soft tissue problems with the heart muscle, stomach wall, lung and blood vessel.

Vitamin E also known as tocopherol, is a biological antioxidant which helps prevent rancidity in fats, and is responsible for normal reproduction. Deficiencies of Vitamin E can result in muscular weakness and stiff gait.
Prolonged excessive consumption of Vitamin E can depress the absorption of other fat soluble vitamins, and may cause problems with blood clotting.

Vitamin K is considered the anti-hemorrhagic vitamin because it is a factor in the blood-clotting mechanism. A simple dietary deficiency of Vitamin K has not been described in the dog or cat. However if they consume rodent poison containing an anti-coagulant, haemorrhaging may develop.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin B12 and folic acid are involved in numerous metabolic functions. They are essential for the formation of red blood cells and the function of the nervous system. Anemia is the most common sign of deficiency of either of these complex vitamins.

Riboflavin B2 is required for the functioning of the nervous system, energy utilization, healthy skin, haircoat and tissue repair. Deficiencies in dogs exhibit as weight loss, dermatitis and neurological disorder.

Niacin and panthothenic acid are required to maintain the integrity of the hair, skin and nervous system. A deficiency may exhibit as loss of appetite, dermatitis, and alternating diarrhea and constipation.

Choline aids in the nervous system function, bone development, and building and maintaining cell structure. Deficiencies may appear as poor growth, and deposits of fat in and around the liver.

Thiamine B1 is required by the nervous system. A deficiency may result in loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness and convulsive seizures.

Pyridoxine B6 is needed for nervous system functions. A deficiency can result in anemia, poor growth, degeneration of the nervous system as well as convulsions.

Biotin is required for healthy skin and coat. Poor hair coat and dermatitis are signs of deficiency.

Vitamin C is a dietary requirement for humans, other primates, guinea pigs and fish. It is important for the formation of collagen, the tissue that supports and binds various organs, blood vessels and nerves.

The manufacturer who produces high quality pet food, such as Petcurean Pet Nutrition, maintains a safety margin of essential nutrients in product formulations. These margins compensate for loss during processing by cross linking and encapsulating vitamins, and increasing levels for vitamins that are less heat stable. These levels are not high enough to create any kind of nutrient toxicity, and are always within safe upper limits. However, this safety margin or nutrient balance can be destroyed by continual supplementation of certain vitamins and minerals.