Dogs need different vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to stay healthy. Usually, when we buy their food, we think it has all their needs covered. But do we really know if our dogs are getting the required nutrients? Does all their food include the right amount of vitamin A for dogs?
First, in order to answer this question, you need to know which is the recommended amount of vitamin A for dogs.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends that commercial adult dog food provide 5000 IU of vitamin A per kg.
Vitamin A in dogs’ diets
Vitamin A, a.k.a as retinol, is necessary for dogs, humans, and every other vertebrate species. The main function of vitamin A is to maintain every organ system healthy. It supports vision in dim light, bone growth, skin health, the reproductive system, cell growth, and the immune system, among others.
Thus, vitamin A is essential for the proper functioning of a dog’s body.
But, where do dogs get Vitamin A from?
Dogs get vitamin A by digesting beta-carotenes. The most common sources of beta-carotenes are liver, fish liver oil, eggs, cheese, spinach, sweet potato, and carrots, to name a few. And even though we can administrate some of these foods to our dogs as occasional snacks, we can’t feed them human food on a daily basis. Therefore, we need to make sure their regular food includes the right amounts of vitamin A for dogs.
Recommended daily intake of vitamin A for dogs
Experts recommend a daily intake of 3,333 UI per kg of dog weight (in all stages). However, the safe upper limit of vitamin A remains uncertain.
Vitamin A deficiency in dogs
As it would happen with any other essential nutrient, a vitamin A deficiency can cause severe damage to our dog’s health:
- Damaged and dry skin and coat
- Poor night vision
- Often infections
- Muscles’ weakness and deterioration
You will probably notice the first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency in your pup’s skin and coat. You will realize it is dry and damaged, and it won’t change over a few brushings. Muscle weakness is often one of the latest symptoms to develop.
Take into account that even if you give your dog the right amount of vitamin A, a deficit can occur due to an absorption or liver disorder. If you notice any of the former symptoms, always consult with the vet to run some blood tests and find out what is going on.
Can a dog experience a Vitamin A overdose?
Even though the possibility of an overdose of vitamin A is rare (because the ingested quantity needs to be enormously high), it can happen, especially if your dog accidentally eats skincare products. They are super high in retinol, so they can cause an immediate overdose. If that is the case, you should take your dog to the vet ASAP.
Supplementing your dog with Vitamin A
Naturally, a dog can get their recommended intake of vitamin A from human food, but that would imply eating human snacks every day. For that reason, many dog foods include in their ingredients a source of vitamin A. However, sometimes it is not enough, and supplementation might be required.
Vitamin A supplementation can be very helpful when food is not meeting your dog’s daily requirements, or when your dog needs a special boost (usually puppies, senior dogs, pregnant dogs, pups with digestive problems or minor deficiencies, etc.)
Mokai’s Multifunctional Dog Chews is a supplement of dog vitamins and minerals that will help boost the overall quality of your pet's life. It comes in tasty soft chews, and each chew contains a boost in vitamins for your dog’s needs, among many other nutrients your dog requires to live a healthy life.
Last but not least, never administrate your dog a human supplement of any kind! It can be super dangerous for their health.