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Most Important Vitamins for Dogs and Cats

Pet Health Pet Health

Just like humans, pets have basic nutritional needs, which include many of the same vitamins we take. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the seven most important vitamins that dogs need to maintain health are vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B vitamins and choline.

The AKC explains that vitamin A is responsible for growth, fetal development, immune function and cell function. B vitamins include thiamine, which helps regulate energy and carbohydrate metabolism and activates ion channels in neural tissue; riboflavin, B12 and niacin help facilitate enzyme function; vitamin B6 is responsible for glucose generation, red blood cell and nervous system function, hormone regulation, immune response, niacin synthesis and gene activation; pantothenic acid helps with energy metabolism; and folic acid plays a role in amino acid and nucleotide metabolism and in mitochondrial protein synthesis.

Vitamin C can help dogs with reducing inflammation and cognitive aging; vitamin D allows a dog’s body to balance minerals for healthy bones and muscles; vitamin E defends against oxidative damage and aids in cell function and fat metabolism; vitamin K helps to activate a dog’s ability to clot; and choline supports healthy brain and liver function.

Cats vitamin needs are a bit different than those of dogs. According to The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), cats need vitamin A for vision, bone and tooth growth, reproduction and maintenance of skin and mucous membranes; vitamin D to increase blood calcium and phosphorus levels to support growth and maintenance of bones; vitamin E as an important antioxidant; vitamin K for normal blood clotting; thiamine for carbohydrate metabolism; riboflavin for releasing energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins; pantothenic acid for metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and some amino acids; niacin for processing fats, carbohydrates and proteins; pyridoxine to help metabolize amino acids, glucose and fatty acids; folic acid for synthesis of DNA and methionine; biotin to help make fatty acids, some amino acids and DNA/RNA; vitamin B12 for fat and carbohydrate metabolism and nerve conduction; and choline as a neurotransmitter, part of cell membranes and for lipid transport.

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