Essential Vitamins for Your Dog

Just like humans, dogs have a need for a nutrient-rich diet. A lot of pet parents will agree that raw diet is the best way to supply this quality of nutrition, but for some this is not a realistic goal. Which vitamins are the most important for your dog’s health and where can you find them?

I will cover that in this article, however, keep in mind that whole foods and natural vitamin sources are going to be the most beneficial for your dog’s health. Synthetic vitamins are usable, but not always plausible. This is because when synthetic vitamins are used, they pull other aminos and key bodily enzymes to absorb the vitamin. In turn, this can cause other deficiencies over time or even an overdose.

Without further ado, here are some vitamins that you need to make sure your dog is getting daily!

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential as it helps with eye conditions, skin disorders, bone and teeth health, and it also can help hinder the aging process. As with the rest of the vitamins I list, you will be able to find this vitamin in both meat and plant based sources.

Vitamin A can be found in rich meats like liver, kidney, salmon, tuna, and sardines. If you are looking for plant-based sources, alfalfa, lemongrass, paprika, and parsley are good starts. Vitamin A is found in many dark green, leafy greens such as spinach as well.


Vitamin B

As with humans, the spectrum of necessary Vitamin B vitamins is vast.

Dogs need regular sources of Vitamins B-1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, and 12. Below I will list these in a little more detail to cover what each vitamin entails and where to get the best sources.

Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine)

  • Vital in helping with mental health and reducing stress on the body. Thiamine is essential with promoting healthy growth and healthy digestion.
  • Vitamin B-1 can be found in meat sources such as beef, rabbit, chicken, liver, sardines, and salmon. Plant sources include alfalfa, chamomile, peppermint, and sage.

Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin)

  • Riboflavin, or Vitamin B-2, is used to create new red blood cells; hair, skin, and nail growth, provides healthy reproduction and growth, and lastly prevents and also treats cataracts.
  • Meat sources for B-2 are similar to other vitamins and are found in turkey, pork, beef, salmon, sardines, and more. It is also provided through the same herbal sources such as alfalfa, cayenne, chamomile, sage, and raspberry leaf.

Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)

  • Vitamin B-3 or Niacin is vital in helping with circulation and healthy skin; as well as creating healthy energy and digestion. Deficiencies in Vitamin B-3 may cause issues with circulation which can cause your dog to possibly have issues with tingling in their paws. This can cause your dog to lick and chew on paws; most people consider this to be an allergic reaction, but it can be caused from deficiencies so keep that in mind if you notice your dog nibbling.
  • Meat sources of Niacin are: Rabbit, chicken, turkey, eggs, buffalo, ostrich
  • Veggie/Herb sources of Niacin are: Alfalfa, catnip, cayenne, peppermint, parsley, rose hips, and slippery elm

Vitamin B-5 (Panothenic Acid)

  • A very important vitamin that I honestly just learned about, Panothenic Acid is extremely vital in helping fight infection, wound healing, strengthens the immune system, and helps prevent anemia. This is a big one!
  • Meat sources: Vital organs such as liver, heart, kidney; lean meats like lamb, goat, chicken, and turkey; and protein-rich sources such as beef, eggs, and buffalo. Herbs and veggies are the same as previous vitamin B sources.

Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)

  • Pyridoxine is used to make the body’s supply of hydrochloric acid, which in turn helps in the absorption of fats and proteins. It can also be used to help treat allergies, asthma, and arthritis.
  • Pyridoxine is found in meat sources such as organs, lean meats, and red meat. The plant sources vary a little as it can only be found in alfalfa, catnip, and oat straw.

Vitamin B-12 (Cyanocobalamin)

  • Vitamin B-12 is key to preventing anemia and protecting the nervous system, improves concentration, and aids with healthy digestion.
  • Meat sources remain the same and plant sources include alfalfa, bladderwracks, and hops.

Vitamin C

We made it through all of the vitamin B’s and now we are in Vitamin C! We all think of Vitamin C as the cold fighting vitamins and with dogs this is true in a way but a little different. Vitamin C is key for immunity, builds calcium and iron; Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that helps fight cancer, tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, and lastly production of anti-stress hormones.  

Vitamin C can be found in the usual meat sources such as beef, turkey, salmon, and eggs. It can also be found in many herbs like alfalfa, cayenne, nettle, paprika, and plantains. Dogs cannot eat citrus fruits like we can, so their sources will be a little different.


Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin is here! Similar to Vitamin C, Vitamin D helps with immunity, prevents cancer, promotes strong teeth and bones due to its assistance in building calcium; it also keeps thyroid health strong and blood clotting normally. Other functions include keeping a normal heartbeat and preventing a disease called rickets.

Plenty of sunshine helps with keeping Vitamin D levels high, but it is also found in meat sources like salmon, eggs, sardines, liver, kidney, and tuna. It is also plentiful in alfalfa, horsetail, nettle, and parsley.


Vitamin E

Probably the most common known in canine health, Vitamin E helps with a shiny coat and healthy skin. It is also a strong antioxidant that prevents cancer, heart disease, and promotes healthy blood pressure.

Keep an eye on the Vitamin E content in your dog’s food; a lot of kibble companies will add false sources of vitamin E that can be toxic. 

Vitamin E can be found in eggs, sources of fish like haddock, sardines, and halibut. Ostrich and buffalo are also great sources of vitamin E as well as organs like liver, heart,kidney, and brain. The herbal sources are limited to things like alfalfa, dandelion, and flaxseed.


Vitamin K

Vitamin K has only a few, but mighty purposes in the vitamin world. It helps promote healthy liver function and bone formation and repair. The only other function is increasing longevity, which, who doesn’t want their best friend around longer?

Vitamin K is found in liver, of course, haddock, halibut, sardines, and eggs. The herbs that provide healthy doses of Vitamin K are dark, leafy greens as well as alfalfa, green tea, nettle, and oat straw.


All of these vitamins play an important role in your dog’s overall health. If your dog is showing signs of allergies, don’t be fooled. Sometimes the signs of allergies are similar to those of vitamin deficiency or even overdose. Talk to your vet or pet nutritionist on how to start providing better sources of these important vitamins to your dog’s diet. Your vet can also recommend some vitamins or supplements to add to your dog’s food if you do not choose or are not able to feed raw.