Your dog has specific nutritional needs and not all commercial dog foods or homemade diets meet them. When your dog is not receiving enough of certain nutrients, his or her health may suffer. Here is more information about common nutritional deficiencies, the signs that your dog is not receiving enough nutrients, and how to ensure that your dog's food is nutritionally balanced:
Common Nutritional Deficiencies
Not all foods have the right amount of nutrients, especially if your dog has health conditions that require a higher amount of certain vitamins. Here are some of the most common nutrients that dogs struggle with getting the proper amount:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamins B-6, B-12
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
Signs Your Dog is Lacking Nutrients
If your dog's diet is lacking certain nutrients then your dog's health will likely begin to decline. Some of the most common signs of nutritional deficiencies include a dull coat, lethargy, stomach issues, odd-looking stools, skin problems, and even some serious neurological problems. These symptoms often appear gradually, and frequently occur after switching to a new type of dog food or diet.
Causes of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Nutritional deficiencies are generally caused by two different problems: food quality and health issues. While dog food manufacturers will tell you that their food has all the required nutrients, they may actually be lacking certain types of vitamins and minerals. Homemade diets often lack many nutrients even if they are based on natural ingredients. Certain health issues, such as parasites and intestinal issues, can also cause problems with nutrient absorption.
Ways to Check for Nutritional Balance
If you buy commercial dog food, check the guaranteed analysis to ensure that the food has the proper nutrients in the right percentages for your dog. All commercial pet foods have this breakdown listed on their packaging. Higher priced food doesn't guarantee that your dog's nutritional needs are going to be met. If you have a homemade diet, do your research or talk to a veterinarian to ensure a proper nutritional balance.
Nutritional deficiencies can cause major health problems. If your dog is showing signs of illness, visit an animal hospital and see a veterinarian before making any assumptions. Additionally, some vitamins can actually hurt your dog's health if your dog consumes too much of them, so it's important to know the proper amounts needed. Your veterinarian can help you manage your dog's diet so that is balanced and promotes good health.