All posts Nutrition

Can Dogs Have Human Vitamins?

By David Soffer March 20, 2022 6 Min Read
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    Taking care of dogs is pretty much the same as taking care of children. They need to be fed, cleaned after, entertained, taken to the playground, and fed nutritious food in order to grow strong and healthy.


    The tricky part is how to make sure that your dogs are taking in enough nutrition. Sometimes feeding your dogs the most expensive dog food will not even satisfy the requirement for your dog’s nutrient requirement.


    Humans compensate for nutrient deficiency through taking vitamins and supplements. It makes one easily wonder if it has the same effect on dogs. 


    Is it safe for dogs to consume human vitamins?

    As always, a responsible dog owner should always confer with their veterinarian before grabbing a bottle of human vitamins and giving it to their dogs.


    Although vitamins are organically the same, the amount and frequency of taking these vitamins differ in humans and dogs.


    Thus, a visit to your veterinarian ensures that you are giving your dog the correct amount of vitamins at a correct duration. If you are feeding your dog store-bought dog food, you are theoretically providing all of the essential nutrients to your dog.


    Hence, additional vitamins or supplements formulated for dogs should contain only about 20% of what your dog needs in a day. Otherwise, you risk overdosing your dog. 

    In other words, it is not completely unsafe to give your dog human vitamins. You just have to ensure that they will not be consuming more than necessary. There are, of course, several factors that you need to consider such as your dog’s breed, your dog’s size, your dog’s age, and other similar concerns. 

    What are the effects of carelessly feeding human vitamins to dogs?

    Giving your dogs vitamins on top of feeding them commercial dog food can be toxic to your dogs as they will be taking in more than the amount in the recommended daily dose.


    If a dog is pregnant and is given prenatal vitamins meant for humans, it may cause iron toxicity. Your dog may be suffering from iron toxicity if he shows any one or combination of these symptoms: lethargy, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and shock. Vitamins D and B may also lead to iron toxicity in dogs. 


    Some dogs may accidentally ingest human vitamins. Thus, it is essential for dog parents to keep human vitamins in places where their dogs cannot easily reach. Human vitamins may have a distinct scent that can attract dogs.


    Other vitamins may have gummy and chewy texture and may appear appetizing to your pets as well. As a result, keeping vitamins inside drawers that dogs can easily reach and open may not be a good idea.


    It is always safer to keep human vitamins in high places or, at least, in containers that dogs cannot easily open in order for them to avoid accidentally ingesting it. 


    What vitamins are dangerous for dogs?

    Generally, fat soluble vitamins should be given in very specific quantities in order for dogs to safely consume it. When taken in excessive amounts, these vitamins are stored in fat cells instead of getting excreted through the digestive system. It can also possibly lead to toxicity.


    Some fat soluble vitamins are vitamins D, K, A, and E. Vitamin D, in particular, can be highly toxic to dogs if taken in excessively. Multivitamins for humans are known to contain too much vitamin D for a dog. The veterinarian-approved amount of Vitamin D for dogs is 500IU in every kilo of dog food.


    The smallest amount of vitamin D in a human multivitamin is 400IU, which is the amount usually found in select vitamins for children. In order to determine the correct amount of Vitamin D that a dog needs, its breed, activity level, age, and sex has to be taken into consideration. 


    Meanwhile, the human vitamins that may be considered safe for dogs to consume are generally water-soluble vitamins. These kinds of vitamins are only stored in small amounts in a dog’s system. For instance, B-complex vitamins have highly beneficial effects on dogs such as giving them improved skin, digestive health, and heart. 


    Vitamin A is also good for ensuring that your dog’s motor function, vision, immune system, and skin health is supported. Vitamin K will help in ensuring that a dog’s blood clots when wounded or injured. Dogs can also safely consume folic acid, niacin, vitamin C, and niacin. 


    Fish oil such as Omega 3 fatty acids can also be safely consumed by dogs. However, the gel caps used for these kinds of vitamins may be hard for dogs to swallow. Thus, you can give your dog the fish oil inside the capsule by squeezing the contents into your dog’s food. 


    There are very good reasons that you might want to give your dogs human vitamins. Buying these vitamins individually and in the form meant for dogs may be more expensive than giving your dog human multivitamins.


    However, extreme caution must be exercised if you plan to give your dogs vitamins meant for human consumption. It cannot be emphasized enough that a consultation with your veterinarian is very important.


    A professional opinion on whether you should or should not be giving your dogs certain kinds of vitamins and supplements may save you a lot of grief. If you make a mistake, it may cost you your dog’s health and, possibly, even your dog’s life.


    Unless you are a veterinarian, it is unwise to immediately decide on giving your dog vitamins that are formulated for humans.


    Is it necessary to give dogs vitamins?

    Vitamins are meant to supplement any nutrient deficiency in your dog. Thus, it may not even be necessary to give your dogs vitamins if you pay close attention to their diet and ensure that their food intake meets the required nutrients.


    This may entail purchasing quality commercial dog food. Of course, you can always prepare your own dog food. However, you may not be able to give your dogs enough taurine and amino acids with homemade dog food.


    Commercially made dog food is supposed to contain all the necessary nutrients that your dogs should consume on a daily basis. If you invest in quality dog food, you may not need to give them vitamins anymore. 


    Nonetheless, if you think that your dog needs vitamins and supplements and your veterinarian approved it, you should first consider purchasing vitamins that are particularly formulated for canines.


    It may be more expensive than sharing your vitamins with your dog but, if you think about it, it is a very wise investment. If you give your dogs human vitamins and they suffer adverse effects from it, the amount you save may just be spent on hospital expenses or medical expenses to help them recover from it.


    If you invest in quality canine vitamins in the first place, you will not only ensure that your dog is getting the right amount of vitamins but you will also be assured that your dog will be safe from extreme adverse effects. 


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