In this day and age of increasing health awareness and self-care, vitamin supplements are a popular topic. Many people, including dog owners, turn to high-dose vitamins in the hope of improving their pets’ health. But caution is advised. High-dose vitamins are not only often nonsensical, but can even be harmful to health.
In this article we look at the reasons and the risks. Let us say in advance: We reject high-dose vitamin preparations for good reasons.
Water- and fat-soluble vitamins: An overview
Vitamins are divided into two main categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins include, for example, the B-complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12) and vitamin C. These vitamins are not stored in the body and must be taken in regularly. Their excess is usually excreted in the urine, which reduces the risk of overdose, but is unnecessary and can put a strain on the kidneys.
The B vitamins are among the most important vitamins of all and they are often widely underestimated. Their effect is based, among other things, on a synergistic effect of the individual B vitamins among each other. However, these synergies can only be achieved if the proportions of the B vitamins are precisely adapted to the dog’s organism and high doses are definitely not one of them, on the contrary. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry has quickly realised that high doses sell better and some vets are jumping on this bandwagon – commissioned by the pharmaceutical lobby. In this way, their recommendations do not ensure health, but a steadily growing purse – at the expense of dog health.
Risks of overdosed vitamin B6 and B12
An excess is only short-term due to excretion, but even that can be harmful to health if the excess is supplied daily. Vitamin B6 can cause neurological problems in dogs if given in high doses over a long period of time. This can take the form of ataxia, a disorder of coordination and movement that leads to unsteadiness when walking. Excessive amounts of this vitamin can also cause nerve damage leading to cramps, numbness and muscle tremors.
Excess vitamin B12 can interfere with the absorption of other important nutrients, especially iron. This can lead to anaemia, a condition in which the body does not produce enough red blood cells, resulting in weakness, fatigue and other health problems.
Fat-soluble vitamins, on the other hand (A, D, E and K), can be stored in the body and excessive intake can lead to toxic effects. Vitamins A and D in particular are known to cause health problems in high doses.
Risks of overdosed vitamin A and D
The fat-soluble vitamins A and D are crucial for canine health, but overdosing them can have serious consequences. Excessive levels of vitamin A in the body can lead to a variety of problems, including bone and joint problems and potentially life-threatening organ damage. In an ironic way, the symptoms you are trying to alleviate can be made worse by excessive vitamin A intake.
Similarly with vitamin D – while it is essential for maintaining a strong bone system, excess calcium can cause deposits in organs and blood vessels. These deposits can interfere with normal organ function and lead to serious complications. It is therefore crucial to find the right balance in vitamin intake to avoid under- or overdosing. This is especially true for dogs that already have health challenges and where excessive intake of vitamins can lead to undesirable consequences.
The myth of high-dose vitamins
The lure of high-dose vitamins is often based on the belief that more is always better. The pharmaceutical industry has cleverly used this belief to market expensive food supplements. But the reality is more complex. Most animals, including dogs, need vitamins in specific amounts depending on their age, weight, lifestyle and health status. Blanket high dosing cannot meet these individual needs and often leads to an imbalance in vitamin balance.
B vitamins are a common target for high-dose supplements. The idea behind this might be “the more, the better.” But this is not the case, on the contrary. B vitamins are metabolised daily and stores are scarce. Illnesses, stresses and age, can trigger an additional need, but this does not justify high-dose products.
Excessive intake of vitamin B6, for example, can cause neurological symptoms such as nerve damage, but in the right dosage can alleviate nerve damage. An imbalance of B vitamins can also interfere with the absorption of other nutrients and lead to further health problems. As is so often the case, the magic word is: need-based, not high-dose.
A needs-based approach to vitamin supply is crucial!
The key to supporting dogs’ health is therefore to feed them according to their individual needs. The DOG FIT by PreThis® supplements carefully take this into account and we consciously and successfully stay away from high-dose supplements. Our focus is also on education, as the pharmaceutical industry and unfortunately also some veterinarians often not only play on fears and cleverly exploit ignorance, but also have their wallets in mind. High doses sell well – but without us!
We recommend contacting us before supplementation feeding. This not only gives us the opportunity to get to know the dog and owner and the specific conditions, but also allows us to recommend the most suitable supplements. Our dosage recommendations are based on proven standards and take into account important criteria such as weight classes and existing conditions or disease prevention. This means that even without a consultation, there is no risk of overdosing, as we are extremely careful about this.
However, a consultation, whether by email or phone, offers much more than just product recommendations. It can also contain valuable advice and tips that we are happy to share as we learn more about the dog and owner. We believe that this personal approach is the best way to promote the health and well-being of your beloved four-legged friend.
Conclusion: Beware of high-dose vitamins
It may be tempting to use high-dose vitamin supplements, but not only are they unnecessary, they can actually cause health problems. The surest way to ensure a dog gets all the nutrients it needs is to take a needs-based approach and provide balanced health care. Don’t rely on the myth of “high dose” vitamins, instead rely on supplemental feeding based on need and our years of experience. Your dog will thank you with health and well-being.
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