7 Essential Dog Vitamins and Their Natural Food Sources

Can dogs eat it

The Can Dogs Eat It Team

7 Essential Dog Vitamins and Their Natural Food Sources
Reading Time: 7 minutes

joana garridoReviewed By Joana Garrido DVM

Canines require a variety of vitamins in their diets to ensure optimum overall health. If you are looking for natural vitamin supplements for dogs, fresh produce should be on top of your list because they are abundant in nutrients.

Essential Dog Vitamin #1: Vitamin A


Vitamin A is an antioxidant that protects the body from infections while promoting improved immune resistance against canine diseases. It helps eliminate harmful free radicals that can contribute to the development of various illnesses. Additionally, this nutrient is crucial for:

  • Retaining a clear eyesight
  • Normal fetal development
  • Proper growth in puppies
  • Maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat

Low vitamin A level in dogs potentially causes night blindness. It also affects the mucus production of cell tissues, which makes pooches vulnerable to serious respiratory problems like pneumonia if they catch a cold.

Dog owners often ask: “What vitamin deficiency causes hair loss in dogs?” Vitamin A deficiency can lead to skin and coat problems like hair loss in dogs. Canines with this condition may suffer from dry, flaky skin and lesions.

Natural Sources of Vitamin A for Dogs

natural sources of vitamin a for dogs infographic


Excessive doses of vitamin A yield different alarming side effects in dogs. Poor coat and hair conditions are common in mild cases.

Severe hypervitaminosis A induces abnormal bone development, swelling of the spleen and liver, and fetal defects such as cleft palate formation.

Essential Dog Vitamin #2: B Vitamins

salmonB vitamins are composed of 8 nutrients that work together to keep your dog’s body functions in good condition. Here are the different types of B vitamins and the role they play in his health:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

    Thiamine is necessary for carbohydrate digestion, which provides your dog energy. It also aids in keeping his cardiovascular, cognitive, and nerve functions well-functioning.

  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

    Riboflavin functions very similarly to thiamine. It breaks down carbohydrates and fats, which are converted into energy. Vitamin B12 plays a part in red blood cell production, DNA creation, and healthy digestion.

    A deficiency of vitamin B3 in canines can lead to anorexia, weight loss, muscular weakness, flaking dermatitis, and eye lesions.

  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

    Niacin is highly important for hormone and energy production in canines. It promotes smoother digestion and metabolism as well as improves blood circulation and skin health.

    A deficiency of vitamin B3 in dogs can cause Anorexia; weight loss; inflammation of the lips, cheeks, and throat; profuse salivation.

  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

    Pantothenic acid helps reduce stress in canines by stimulating the production of adrenal hormones.

    This hormone is responsible for regulating the heart rate, blood sugar, and blood pressure of dogs during physically and mentally taxing situations.

    A deficiency of vitamin B5 can cause Erratic food intake; sudden prostration or coma; rapid respiratory and heart rates; convulsions; gastrointestinal symptoms; reduced antibody production in dogs.

  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

    Pyridoxine is essential for regulating the potassium and sodium levels of dogs. It plays a role in hemoglobin production as well as blood sugar control.

    In addition to its vital functions, this nutrient plays a crucial role in niacin synthesis, nervous system function, immune response, hormone regulation, and promoting the overall well-being of a dog’s heart health and eyesight.

  • Vitamin B9 (Folate or Folic Acid)

    Folic acid is critical for the normal and healthy development of the fetus and the prevention of birth malformations. It also makes use of amino acids for protein creation and is necessary for cell division and tissue growth.

  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

    Colabamin supports good nerve function, cell growth, and protein synthesis in your dog’s body. This nutrient is also needed to maintain proper brain and gastrointestinal health.

  • Vitamin H (Biotin)

    Biotin is known for enhancing skin condition, hastening hair growth, and strengthening the nails of canines. However, it is also fundamental for normal growth, digestion, and reproduction.

B vitamin deficiency weakens dogs and causes them to be lethargic. Skin problems, abnormal weight loss, and anemia may occur in your dog if he suffers from this condition.

Natural Sources of B Vitamins for Dogs

natural sources of b vitamins for dogs infographic


B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that any excess of these nutrients is easily filtered out by the kidneys. As a result, vitamin B overdose in canines is highly uncommon.

However, it is important to be aware that excessive intake of niacin can potentially lead to liver damage, bloody feces, convulsions, and the formation of skin sores. It is advisable to carefully monitor and regulate niacin intake in order to prevent such complications.

Essential Dog Vitamin #3: Vitamin C

broccoliVitamin C is a potent antioxidant that dogs need to combat ailments, reduce inflammation, and hinder cognitive degeneration. Their body also needs it for cartilage, collagen, and muscle formation.

Generally, healthy canines do not require vitamin C supplementation. They synthesize their own vitamin C in their livers. However, some canines can benefit from the additional intake of this nutrient.

These include senior dogs, as their bodies tend to produce less vitamin C. It is recommended for sick dogs too. They need more antioxidants to fight off the virus or infections in their bodies.

Dogs facing taxing situations such as pregnancy also require more vitamin C as stress weakens their immune function.

Natural Sources of Vitamin C for Dogs

natural sources of vitamin c for dogs infographic


  • Vitamin C overdose will trigger gastrointestinal distress, particularly diarrhea, in dogs.
  • Be cautious when feeding vitamin C-rich food to dogs with renal issues. Excessive amounts of this nutrient can affect the PH level of their urine and cause complications like bloody urine and kidney stone formation.

Essential Dog Vitamin #4: Vitamin D

mushroomsVitamin D helps balance the calcium and phosphorus levels in your dog’s body for proper bone growth and muscle development. This nutrient proves to be essential for the formation of strong teeth, normal blood coagulation, and good kidney health.

Lack of vitamin D increases the risk of canine bone disorders such as rickets. It also encourages the rise of other alarming health issues, including congestive heart failure, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and cancer.

Natural Sources of Vitamin D for Dogs

natural sources of vitamin d for dogs infographic


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble compound. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, excess amounts of this nutrient are not excreted through urination. Instead, they are stored in the liver. High concentrations of vitamin D can lead to poisoning.

Signs of vitamin D overdose in dogs may include:

  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Calcification of soft tissue
  • Excessive mineralization of long bones
  • Dehydration
  • Dry and brittle hair
  • Muscle atrophy

Fresh foods do not contain excessively high levels of vitamin D. Hence; they are unlikely to cause toxicity. However, some commercial dog foods can induce it as they have abnormally high levels of vitamin D.

It is frequently asked: “How much vitamin D is too much for a dog?” It takes 0.1 milligram per kilogram of body weight for vitamin D poisoning to occur in dogs. Moreover, the recorded fatal dose is 2 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

If you own a 6-pound dog, he will need to ingest 0.6 milligrams of vitamin D for poisoning to set in. The fatal dose for his weight is 12 milligrams.

Essential Dog Vitamin #5: Vitamin E


Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that safeguards canines from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. It is purported to improve skin health, fertility, vision, and brain function in dogs.

Vitamin E deficiency rarely happens in dogs, but its effects can be distressing. Serious ailments such as neurological issues, reproductive disorders, and impaired eyesight may develop.

Natural Sources of Vitamin E for Dogs


Vitamin E overdose is not a common occurrence in dogs, but it can still happen. Similar to vitamin D, vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient.

In large amounts, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, bleeding problems, degeneration of skeletal muscle, reproductive failure, and retinal degeneration.

Essential Dog Vitamin #6: Vitamin K

The main function of vitamin K is to promote proper blood clotting. It keeps dogs safe from excessive blood loss due to hemorrhage. Aside from regulating blood coagulation, vitamin K is essential for:

  • Producing red blood cells
  • Strengthening the bones
  • Improving cardiovascular health
  • Enhancing glucose metabolism

Insufficient vitamin K levels can produce life-threatening health problems in canines. Sustaining minor wounds may lead to prolonged bleeding. Dogs with vitamin K deficiency are prone to bruising and, in severe cases, internal bleeding.

Natural Sources of Vitamin K for Dogs

natural sources of vitamin k for dogs infographic

Essential Dog Vitamin #7: Choline

chicken breastCholine is a water-soluble nutrient that dogs synthesize in their liver. It plays a big role in preventing neural and cognitive dysfunction, such as Cognitive dysfunction and seizures. Choline supports optimal liver function and hinders the development of a fatty liver.

Choline deficiency is uncommon in dogs fed with commercial dog food. However, canines on a raw diet are more susceptible to this condition. Inadequate amounts of choline in their system may cause vomiting, high cholesterol, liver disease, and weight loss.

Natural Sources of Choline for Dogs

natural sources of choline for dogs infographic


Inordinate choline intake tends to cause excitability or nervousness in dogs. In severe cases, anemia may take place. On the brighter side, choline overdose rarely happens in canines.

Keep in mind that canines with complete and balanced meals often do not require any supplementation. If you plan to supplement your dog’s diet with fresh food, talk with your vet.

While they are nutritious dog vitamin supplements, some of them might be unsuitable for him due to food sensitivities or restrictions. Creating a nutritional plan will greatly help in narrowing down your choices of all-natural vet-recommended dog vitamins.

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