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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Do Puppy Vitamins Cause More Harm Than Good?

By Anton Hout, author of The Guide to Aussie Training & Care

Puppy vitamins are a subject of much discussion and controversy. There are many dog owners who are avid believers in the benefits of adding a vitamin or natural supplement to their puppy's regular routine; others are equally adamant against it. While it may seem like a harmless enough practice, the truth is that giving vitamins to your growing puppy may actually do more harm than good.

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The basic idea behind vitamins for puppies is a simple one—if vitamins can help us, why shouldn't they help our pups? You wouldn't hesitate to give your child a multi-vitamin to ensure that he is getting all the nutrients that he needs—it's responsible parenting. So extending that thought process to your puppy seems perfectly natural.

But there is a world of difference between puppies and humans and that's why you need to think about the idea before jumping on the vitamin bandwagon.

It may seem obvious but puppies and humans are not built the same. In dogs, there is much more stress put on the limbs and those limbs are shorter with more delicate bones. Also, dogs tend to expend more energy on a regular basis than we do, especially the working breeds like Australian Shepherds. All of this means that they have very different dietary needs than we do, and it makes puppy vitamins unnecessary in the greater majority of cases.

Portrait of red merle Australian Shepherd puppy.

Grigorita Ko /

Vitamins for puppies are not generally recommended unless your vet is treating a particular health issue.

Giving Your Puppy Vitamins May Actually Be Harmful

The fact is that most healthy puppies can get all of the nutrients they need from a well balanced diet. Add in ensuring that they have the proper vaccinations and that is really all the protection that they need. Adding vitamins for puppies into the mix can actually throw off that delicate nutritional balance and cause severe problems for puppies.

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

In many cases, puppy vitamins are used specifically to improve the look and feel of the dog's coat, but that isn't necessarily a good thing either. The condition of a dog's fur is one of the biggest indicators we have of serious underlying health problems. By masking those changes with the use of vitamins, you might be preventing the proper speedy diagnosis of a serious condition that may be necessary to save your dog's life.

Of course, there are times when vitamins can actually be beneficial, particularly in older dogs or dogs with specific health problems. But for normal, healthy puppies, they are generally not needed. And relying on vitamins for puppies can also lead to an excess of those substances in your pup's body, which can result in the development of bone, liver or kidney disease.

Simply put, unless there is a particular issue, all a puppy really needs to develop properly is a balanced diet, all of the necessary vaccinations and plenty of exercise. This is especially true for energetic breeds like the Australian Shepherd.

We all love our furry friends and want to keep them as happy and healthy as possible, but by falling into the trap of puppy vitamins we could actually be doing harm. Better to err on the side of caution and let your puppy grow the way nature intended. icon

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

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