Most healthy pets that eat a high quality, nutritionally complete commercially prepared food do not need to receive a daily vitamin and mineral supplement. Reputable pet food manufacturers go to great lengths to make sure that their diets provide the correct amount of vitamins and minerals. Adding more can actually be harmful if excesses build up to toxic levels or interfere with the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.
This does not mean that vitamin and mineral pet supplements are always a bad idea. Here are some instances when they can be life-savers:
- Some diseases can be treated with vitamins and/or minerals (e.g., vitamin K for dogs to combat poisonings with certain types of rodenticides). Your veterinarian will prescribe the correct supplement or combination of supplements to treat your pet’s condition.
- Animals that eat home-prepared foods should receive broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplements. It is almost impossible to create a balanced diet without them. A veterinary nutritionist should always be involved in designing recipes for home-cooked pet foods.
- Some pets are so finicky that they will only eat extremely small amounts or will only accept diets that are of questionable quality. A multivitamin/mineral supplement can help prevent nutritional deficiencies in these cases.
Talk to your veterinarian to determine whether your pet should receive feline or canine supplements.