- DIRTY TEETH
- EXCESSIVE SHEDDING
- STOOL EATING
- WEIGHT GAIN
- CRACKS AROUND THE MOUTH
- SORES AROUND THE UMBILICUS
What do the above have in common?
Sally, a two year old Cocker Spaniel with beautiful melting brown eyes, was presented to me at an obedience seminar with these symptoms. Her owner, a very conscientious young woman was quite distraught. She had been carefully following a natural diet and providing an excellent environment for her young dog. There seemed to be no apparent reason for Sally's problems. But there was quite an obvious reason. Sally was deficient in B-complex vitamins.
Vitamin B complex acts as a co-enzyme promoting biochemical reactions to change carbohydrates into glucose providing energy to the body. It is necessary in a dog's diet for the assimilation of protein and fat. Water soluble, this set of vitamins flushes through the body in four to eight hours.
Commercial dog food contains this complex, but it is fragile, being destroyed by heat, light and air. Commercial dog food in processing reaches temperatures beyond 118 degrees F. that kills or alters many vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The amount of complex actually available to the dog through commercial diets therefore is minimal. Many of the B-vitamins are destroyed when exposed to light and air. So if the food is left in the dog bowl for any length of time, any B-complex vitamins that are present, are destroyed. It is crucial therefore that the B-complex vitamins are added as a supplement both to commercial and home made diets.
This complex is available naturally in liver, milk, eggs, brewers yeast, wheat bran, wheat germ, kelp, molasses, kidney and heart, but even diets containing these, often fall short of providing today's dog with enough Vitamin B to counteract environmental stresses. Being a water soluble vitamin, it needs to be fed twice a day.
Vegetarian diets for dogs are notoriously low in Vitamin B and it is critical that the Complex be added to these diets.
You can tell if your dog has this deficiency by looking at the following list.
- Excessive shedding
- Flea allergies
- Constantly picks up fleas and ticks
- Flies bother him in the summer
- Dirty and or decaying teeth
- Motion sickness
- Weight gain and Constipation
- Hair loss
- Premature greying
- Poor reaction to vaccines
- Anxious and stressed
- Increased cholesterol levels
The B-complex vitamins work more efficiently if there is sufficient Vitamin C in the diet and both are critical to protein and fat absorption. If your dog has chronic ear problems, kidney, liver or metabolic diseases, skin allergies, pigmentation changes, epilepsy or behavioral changes including aggression, timidity, fear and anxiety or an inability to think and act clearly, he may be showing a deficiency in B-complex vitamins.
The B vitamins can be bought as single components. It is possible to buy B-1, B6, B12, etc. Many people use these vitamins without using the whole complex. None of these are found naturally. Foods containing B vitamins contain several of them, and there is no known food in which they are isolated. So if you decide to feed extra B6 for example, it should always be fed along with the complex powder. No one part of the vitamin should be isolated for more than one month without re-evaluation.
B-Complex vitamins should also be fed at any time antibiotics are used. Most antibiotics destroy the B-vitamins in the intestinal tract, often resulting in diarrhea.
Providing enough Vitamin B complex will help your dog stay healthy and young and will allow him to deal with daily stresses and strains and also to help your dog repel fleas and ticks.
Sally the cocker spaniel is now a happy dog. Her teeth are clean, her breath doesn't smell, she is shedding naturally twice a year, the spots on her tummy have disappeared, and her pigmentation has darkened. Sally’s concentration at obedience class has improved, and she retains what she learns, and she stresses less. What an eye opener it was for her owner to see that such a small thing could make such a big difference in Sally's health.