What Is Vitamin A for Dogs?
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and an essential nutrient that helps dogs in many different ways. Vitamin A for dogs supports vision, bone growth, reproduction, cellular differentiation, and immune responses.
Dogs can get vitamin A from pet food or by taking vitamin supplements. If the dog food you are using has adequate levels of vitamin A, there is no need to use supplements. However, if the diet is low in vitamin A or the dog has a specific condition, it is advisable to use supplements.
Dr. Katie Comerford says, “ Vitamin A is a very important nutrient in your dog’s diet. It has numerous functions relating to skin, eye, and immune system health, as well as helping ensure proper skeletal and organ development of growing puppies. A complete and balanced diet appropriate for your pet’s age will include the optimal amounts of Vitamin A. Contact your veterinarian if you have reason to believe your pet needs a Vitamin A supplement.”
Can I Give a Dog Vitamin A?
Yes, you can give a dog vitamin A, but you’ll want to do so only under the care of a veterinarian.
Vitamin A is important for a dog’s health, but too much can be toxic. The right amount depends on the dog’s life stage and health condition.
In pet supplements, Vitamin A is often combined with minerals and other vitamins, like vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, and vitamin B (like folic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, cobalamin, etc).
If you’re concerned about whether or not your dog has been getting enough of this nutrient, talk to your vet. They will know how to test your dog’s vitamin levels, as well as how to provide the appropriate dosage if necessary.
What Are the Benefits of Vitamin A for Dogs?
Adding vitamin A to the dog nutrition plan comes with various health benefits. Here are some of the benefits of vitamin A for dogs.
- Organ Functioning: Vitamin A plays an essential role in the development of healthy organs and in bone growth.
- Strong Eyesight: One of the most well-known benefits of vitamin A is that it helps maintain healthy eyesight. As we age, our ability to see things clearly gradually decreases; however, this process doesn’t happen at the same rate in all individuals.
- Immune System Boost: Another benefit of vitamin A is that it strengthens the immune system by fighting off infection and helping to fight viruses and bacteria. Lots of people don’t realize how easy it is to give their dog a little boost by including more vitamin A-rich foods in their diet.
How Much Vitamin A is Toxic to Dogs?
Vitamin A toxicity in dogs occurs at doses that are between 10 and 1,000 times the dietary requirements.
Vitamin A toxicity can occur suddenly or gradually. The ingestion of excessive amounts of vitamin A results in gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, anorexia), lethargy, weakness, weight loss, skin peeling & dry skin, poor coat quality, excessive bone development, tremors, and limited or painful movement.
In pregnant bitches, excessive supplementation with vitamin A may cause fetal abnormalities. For example, vitamin A toxicity is linked with an increased incidence of cleft palate in newborn puppies.
What Good Sources of Vitamin A for Dogs?
There are several vitamin A dog supplements pet parents can use. We have selected and reviewed some of our favorite vitamin A supplements for dogs.
Petlab Co. Multivitamins: PetLab Co. Multivitamin chews are formulated specifically to support your pet’s overall health with many incredible benefits. Each delicious chew is packed with a blend of folic acid, and vitamins A, E, D & B12, which can all work together to support your canine’s health and promote overall vitality. Full of efficient vitamins, these tasty chews are shown to provide nutritional support for healthy immune function and help them live happy, active life.
Health Extension Lifetime Multivitamin and Minerals for Dogs & Puppies: This multivitamin will help to promote healthier skin and shinier coats. It has an excellent taste and contains natural ingredients to ensure your dog’s safety.
With a daily dose of Health Extension Lifetime Multivitamin, you will ensure your dog’s longevity. Some of the other vitamins included in this product are vitamin D, E, B12, and K. It comes in 30, 60, and 180 tablet options.
Daily MultiVitamin Soft Chews for Dogs: These daily multivitamin soft chews come in a pack of 120. They are ideal for all types of breeds, sizes, and ages. The goal of these vitamins is to ensure increased immune health and nutritional balance.
These multivitamins also contain potent antioxidants like turmeric and vitamin C. They are poultry-flavored and easy to digest for all dogs.
Pet Naturals Daily Multivitamin for Dogs: This daily multivitamin comes in two varieties: 30 or 150 chews. It’s a carefully formulated product that has a total of 28 nutrients to ensure overall health is balanced. The multivitamin comes in a delicious flavor that dogs will love.
In addition, the multivitamin is free of corn, but it does contain rye flour (which may cause issues in wheat-sensitive dogs). This product is suitable for all age ranges of dogs.
What Foods Contain Vitamin A for Dogs?
You can also boost pet nutrition by adding vitamin A-rich foods to the menu. Here are some of the best natural sources of vitamin A for dogs.
- Carrots: While this has been mentioned before, it can’t be stressed enough. Besides being rich in vitamin A, carrots also contain beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A once consumed. Beta carotene also protects against cancer, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and prevents blindness from macular degeneration.
- Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a great source of not only vitamin A but also potassium which helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate. They have more fiber than regular potatoes, making them an excellent choice for reducing weight and lowering cholesterol levels.
- Cod Liver Oil: Cod liver oil is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin A available to dogs. It contains approximately 4080 mcg per tablespoon. This is more than 10 times the amount found in other foods containing vitamin A.
- Fish Oil: Fish oil contains vitamin A for dogs. Plus, fish oil is rich in fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) that support the nervous system, skin, coat, joints, blood clotting, and immunity.
- Liver: Liver is another excellent source of vitamin A for your dog. One ounce (28 g) of cooked chicken liver contains about 3,500 IU of this nutrient — more than many other food sources listed here. However, it should not be used as a sole source of vitamin A, as too much liver can cause toxicity.
- Egg Yolks: Egg yolks contain carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect against macular degeneration, a common cause of poor eyesight. These two carotenoids can also help protect against cancer and heart disease. Eggs are one of the few foods that contain significant amounts of beta-carotene, which can be converted into vitamin A by dogs.
How Much Vitamin A Do Dogs Need a Day?
The NRC recommendation is 379 retinal units/1000 kcal ME for adult dogs and puppies. However, the actual amount can vary significantly but can be 2,000-4,000 IU per kg of diet. The exact dosage of vitamin A for dogs depends on the specific condition being treated.
The amount of vitamin A dogs need on a daily basis also depends on their diet. According to the AAFCO recommendations, adult dog food should contain a minimum of 5.000 IU/kg DM. Therefore, dogs fed quality diets, rich in vitamin A, do not need additional supplementation.