Although there are many supplement products that are supposed to be "good" for your growing puppy, it's not necessary to supplement a complete diet with extra vitamins. In fact, it can be harmful. Never give your puppy any supplements unless advised by your veterinarian to do so. Simply feed a high-quality product that includes antioxidants, and your puppy will get everything he needs.
To follow is information on some of the most important vitamins and minerals, and why they are so critical to your pup's health. Your puppy's food should include these antioxidants in its formula.
We've known for a long time that Vitamin C is good for us, but do our puppies need it, too? Yes. Your puppy is able to create Vitamin C in his own body and, as a result, for many years it was thought puppies didn't need any more Vitamin C than their body could manufacture. Now we know better.
Vitamin C is a "water soluble" vitamin, which means if the body gets more than it needs, it simply excretes it. This trait makes it a generally nontoxic vitamin, although suddenly giving your puppy a larger amount than normal could cause digestive upset.
Vitamin C plays an important role in the formation of collagen, which helps keep your puppy's joints healthy as he grows. It is also recognized as an important anti-stress nutrient. Vitamin C also protects the body against infection and lessens the effects of toxins – all while it boosts the immune system. It's easy to see why this is an important vitamin for your puppy to get everyday.
Another well known antioxidant, Vitamin E, is a workhorse in the body. It helps protect against certain types of cancer while it improves circulation, supports the nervous system and assists in maintaining healthy skin. In the correct amounts, Vitamin E protects cells from damage caused by stress, poor nutrition, pollution, illness or injury. Your pup cannot create Vitamin E in his own body – he must ingest it with his food. Therefore, making sure Vitamin E is a part of your puppy's diet is very important for his long-term health.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that the body stores any extra, rather than excreting it. It is possible to give a pup too much, and it can be toxic in very large dosages.
"Trace" means that the body needs these minerals in tiny amounts. Examples of the more commonly known trace minerals include copper, zinc, and manganese. Although your puppy's body needs only a small amount of these minerals, they are still very important. These minerals are critical to the functioning of a strong immune system. Your puppy's body cannot manufacture these minerals on its own – he must get them from his food.
Remember, your puppy needs these vitamins and minerals to grow into a healthy adult. However, supplements are not necessary. Simply feed your puppy a quality food that includes antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E and trace minerals in its formula.