All foods produced for cats and dogs are balanced, that is, contain the necessary set of vitamins and mineral supplements. The health of the animal depends on this. However, sometimes pets need additional vitamin complexes, especially if the diet consists only of natural products.
What are vitamins for?
Vitamins are a group of low molecular weight organic compounds that are necessary for the normal functioning of all organs and systems. Animals receive most of them with food and industrial feed. Especially kittens in the period of active growth, animals after diseases, and the elderly need additional supplements. Pets need the same vitamins as humans – A, group B (pantothenic acid and folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin), C, D, E, K. Sometimes organic complexes are needed to maintain the daily rate. For example, the body of cats and dogs synthesizes vitamin C in insufficient amounts.
Do animals need extra supplements?
It depends on the diet chosen by the owner for his pet:
- Natural nutrition. In this case, it is difficult to properly balance the necessary substances.
- Therefore, it is better to consult a veterinarian, who will prescribe the necessary supplements.
- Do not give vitamin and mineral complexes on your own, because an excess or deficiency of substances can cause great harm to health. For example, an overdose of vitamin A entails dehydration, joint pain, and damage to blood vessels.
What else can you put on your four-legged friend’s menu?
Many people fortify their meals with Omega fatty acids, pro- and prebiotics. But do cats and dogs need them that much? Features of supplements:
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Studies by American veterinarians have confirmed that fish oil supplements reduce the intensity of inflammation and improve skin and coat condition. If a pet has health problems, the doctor may prescribe a complex of such preparations. However, they need to be taken for a long time, and some cats or dogs are not easy to feed medication.
- Pro- and probiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms that are dried in a special process for easy addition to the diet. Prebiotics are substances which strengthen the intestinal microflora. These components can be added separately to the animal’s food or received with ready-to-eat food.
The role of proteins in a pet’s nutrition
Protein is one of the main macronutrients in a pet’s diet, along with carbohydrates and fats. Cats and dogs need a lot of protein, which is a source of energy and an important component for healthy growth, wound healing and carrying a fetus. Puppies and kittens, as well as animals that are pregnant and suffering from certain diseases, need more protein than healthy adult pets.
If the total amount of protein in the food contains all the essential amino acids in the right amounts, the number of dietary protein sources does not play a special role.
The role of carbohydrates in pet foods
Carbohydrates is the term for molecules composed of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms that share certain chemical properties.
Cats and dogs can do without carbohydrates in their food because their bodies synthesize certain types of carbohydrates needed for cells from amino acids. However, consuming carbohydrates greatly improves the performance of pets. Recent studies have shown that some genes have been altered in dogs during domestication, which means that a diet high in carbohydrates can have a positive effect on the health of these animals.
The role of lipids (fats) in pet foods
Lipids are a family of organic substances commonly known as fats. Fats are the main source of energy for dogs and cats, which they get by oxidizing fats in the body. A gram of lipids contains approximately 8.5 ccal of metabolic energy, which is almost two and a half times more than one gram of carbohydrates or proteins.