Is your dog having weird problems of sorts lately? Are they exhibiting one or more of these symptoms: fatigue, weight gain, constipation, watery eyes, excessive shedding, premature greying, motion sickness, getting fleas all the time, increased cholesterol levels, and have dirty, decaying teeth? If your dog has any of these chronic skin and digestive problems and shows behavioral changes quite often, then this might be a sign that your little fur baby is displaying a Vitamin B deficiency.
But wait, what is Vitamin B anyway? And is it safe for dogs to consume? Well, as you continue to read on, we'll tell you all about the Vitamin B-complex family, what their benefits are, and where to get them so you can start feeding your dog the proper diet.
What is Vitamin B?
Vitamin B is a family of water-soluble compounds often present in the food that both humans and canines ingest. It has many functions like promoting healthy metabolism and keeping cells in check. The way it works is that Vitamin B acts as a coenzyme to assist in biochemical reactions that change carbohydrates into glucose, which provides energy for the dog. And since Vitamin B is water-soluble, they just flush through your dog's digestive system, compared to if you gave your dog fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, or K, any excess from these will be stored in fat cells, and some cases can lead to toxicity.
The Vitamin B complex comprises of the following B vitamins:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (folate)
- Vitamin B12
Vitamin B is deemed essential in a dog's diet because dogs cannot make them independently. Each vitamin mentioned above has a similar goal but has unique properties that can help your canine differently. For example, B6 helps in blood flow and bladder health, B7 promotes healthy skin, and B12 encourages a healthy nervous system and controls hormonal imbalance in pregnant dogs. Many of the foods we feed our dogs will contain most of these B vitamins, but if in the case that you want to give your dog more B6, for example, you should feed it along with the complex powder.
What Does Vitamin B Deficiency Look Like in Dogs?
A Vitamin B deficiency in your canine can look like a lot of things. Here we will list the different symptoms and conditions that might indicate your pup needs more of this complex vitamin.
- Bleeding gums
- Cognitive impairment
- Decaying Teeth
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Mouth sores
- Shortness of breath
- Skin allergies and fleas
Some reasons that cause your dog to be vitamin B deficient are feeding low-quality meat and organs, stressful life events like moving, traveling, or being separated from family, poor gut health, and digestion problems due to old age. A way to fix this would be to feed your dog a raw nutrient-dense diet consisting of high-quality meat and organs mixed with other whole foods.
What are the Benefits of Vitamin B for Your Dog?
Now that we've talked about what your dog would look like without vitamin B in their system, let's discuss what they would look like if they were vitamin B sufficient. Having a good supply of vitamin B in your dog's body has numerous advantages that will keep your dog strong, healthy, and happy. Here are the different benefits of Vitamin B:
- Helps keep away fleas and ticks
- Improves metabolism and energy
- Forms blood cells and nerves
- Gives healthy skin and hair
- Prevents heart disease and cancer
- Helps the brain and the nervous system
- Strengthens the immune system
Vitamin B Complex (with vitamin B1) is the key to keeping the fleas and ticks away! Use a plant-source vitamin B complex, and again, adjust the dose for your dog’s weight. Some people simply add brewers yeast to the dog’s diet for its vitamin B1. Since Vitamin B's primary function is assisting in cellular metabolism and rejuvenation, and energy production, your dog will always have a good production of blood cells, which will signal each other to form healthy muscle tissue and protein. Neurotransmitter signaling is also strengthened with vitamin B, and so this will leave your pet with better cognitive function and higher energy. And with all of these fantastic things that Vitamin B helps facilitate inside, the outside is also following suit, leaving your canine with shinier, healthier hair and less itching and dryness on their skin. The holistic health of your lovable pet canine will be 10x better with Vitamin B incorporated in their diet.
What Foods Contain Vitamin B?
If you feed your dog commercial dog food, chances are they are not receiving that much vitamin B. Although commercial dog food contains this complex, it is fragile and is easily destroyed by heat, light, and air. That means if the food is left in a dog bowl for any length of time, the B-complex vitamins will disappear. So what then should you feed your dog to give them the proper amount of Vitamin B? Read this list to find out:
- Organ meats (liver, kidneys, etc.)
- Grass-fed meat (cow, lamb, elk, etc.)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.)
- Raw milk (not processed in any way)
- Wheat bran and germ
- Brewers Yeast
Some important things to keep in mind when feeding your dog these items is that the poultry and eggs should come from pastured hens. The smaller the fish you feed them, the better, as large fish contains more mercury and could be dangerous to your pet.
However, some diets containing these products still fall short of your dog's daily Vitamin B needs if you don't feed them enough. If your dog is on a vegetarian diet, vitamin B is also highly lacking. That is why it is crucial to include the complex powder in your canine's diet. Whether your dog is young, old, small, large, an athlete, or a couch potato, Vitamin B will keep them feeling lively and happy every day!
Now that you've read why your pup needs Vitamin B, here's an easy way to make that happen! Volhard's Vitamin B Complex is a supplement that you sprinkle into their food. For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!
Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!