Are vitamins really necessary for my pet? Doesn’t the food that I feed have all the vitamins and minerals my pet needs? Which vitamin/mineral supplement should I buy? The answers to these questions will vary depending on who you ask.

Let’s assume that you are feeding a high quality, well balanced and complete pet food. The National Research Council has established the minimum daily requirements for each of the vitamins and minerals for the average pet. All pet food manufacturers follow these guidelines. Assuming that the food is fresh and your pet finishes the bag of dry kibble before 30 days, chances are that he/she is getting all that label on the bag claims to be giving. Those on canned food will probably always get what the label claims to have in it.

As a veterinarian of 23 years, I have personally seen many instances where there is not an “average” pet. In addition, there are conditions and/or diseases that require a higher level of vitamins and/or minerals to correct. On an individual to individual basis no one really knows how much of any vitamin or mineral is needed to stay healthy. Certain breeds as well as the young and old frequently need higher amounts of both vitamins and minerals.

My advice when feeding a supplement is to feed a multiple vitamin and mineral product made by a recognized company. The liquid or chewable tablet form is a preference issue for your pet to decide. In my opinion, pets under a year of age and those over eight deserve to be given a vitamin/ mineral supplement.

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