Is Vitamin B Complex Good for Dogs?

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. April 15, 2021
Is Vitamin B Complex Good for Dogs?

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Like all vitamins, B group vitamins are essential micronutrients for a dog’s organism. A good quality diet is the best way to ensure the correct supply of vitamin B for dogs, but there are situations in which deficiencies can occur, causing different symptoms, depending on which B vitamin is missing.

In this article of AnimalWised, we ask is vitamin B complex good for dogs? We discuss the role of vitamin B in dogs, what happens in cases of Vitamin B deficiency, and the appropriate doses of Vitamin B supplements which are sold as vitamin B complex.

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  1. What is vitamin B?
  2. What is vitamin B for dogs good for?
  3. Symptoms of vitamin B deficiency in dogs
  4. Dosage of vitamin B supplements for dogs
  5. How to give vitamin B supplements to a dog
  6. Side effects of vitamin B for dogs

What is vitamin B?

Vitamins are micronutrients, so-called because they should only be consumed in small quantities. They play a very important role in the body and, therefore, any deficiency will have negative consequences for the health of the dog.

Vitamins are divided into two groups, water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin B belongs to the water-soluble group, which, as its name suggests, dissolves in water. This process favors their elimination meaning they do not build up in the body, although there are some exceptions. There are 9 known vitamins in the B group such as B1, B6, B9 or B12.

Vitamin B complex for dogs is a supplement which includes the vitamins necessary for an individual. This can differ to vitamin B complexes for other animals or people.

In dogs, vitamin B is integral to the nervous system, the immune system, the brain, the metabolism, the skin and the musculature. It is also involved in cell differentiation, including that of red blood cells, thereby helping to prevent anemia. It also plays an important role in growth and development, including during pregnancy and lactation, as well as in the quality of the coat. What is more, it also helps the animal to overcome the effects of stress.

What is vitamin B for dogs good for?

In addition to the maintenance of vital functions that we have reviewed, there are specific cases in which it is recommended to supplement with vitamin B to improve or recover the dog from illness. For example, vitamin B complex may be helpful in the following situations:

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of appetite and anemia
  • Surgical interventions
  • Weakening and thinning
  • Fever
  • Infections

Dogs in these situations can experience nutrient losses or imbalance, and in extreme cases these can lead to fatal consequences. As such, a veterinarian may include vitamin B as part of any treatment. To be clear, vitamin B maintains essential functions in the dog's organism, and also to solve specific deficiency situations, as listed above.

Is Vitamin B Complex Good for Dogs? - What is vitamin B for dogs good for?

Symptoms of vitamin B deficiency in dogs

As B vitamins are easily eliminated from the organism, any deficiency is likely to manifest quickly. Among the symptoms of vitamin B deficiency in dogs, alterations in the neurological state of the dog stand out. Vitamin B12, in particular, is so important for dogs that any deficiency can cause neurological disorders and psychological and hematological alterations.

However, other possible symptoms of vitamin B deficiency may include the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Inflammation of the gums and lips
  • Hair loss, dry and reddened skin, itching or dry seborrhea
  • Diarrhea and gastrointestinal disorders
  • Anemia
  • Infections

Dosage of vitamin B supplements for dogs

Dosage of vitamin B should, of course, be at the discretion of the veterinarian. As an example, administration by injection is usually prescribed at the rate of 10 ml per kg of weight. The dosage of any supplements will depend on their form. It is usually marketed in tablets and each manufacturer will specify the recommended dosage, usually expressed per kg of live weight, on the packaging.

In any case, it is essential that you also follow the veterinarian's instructions. Please note that you should never give human vitamins to dogs, as the use of human vitamin B complex on dogs is prohibited. Any supplements used must be specifically formulated for them.

Take a look at this related article on why treating a dog like a human is dangerous.

To answer the question posed in the title, is vitamins B complex good for dogs?, we can only say it depends. When a dog is suffering from a severe vitamin B deficiency, they will need administration of B complex to help them recover. However, do not purchase vitamin B supplements for the dog as it can lead to overdose. To see how dogs get vitamin B, take a look at the next section.

How to give vitamin B supplements to a dog

A healthy and well fed dog will already have their vitamin needs perfectly met by diet. In this way, we can conclude that a quality diet will guarantee the correct supply of vitamins and nutrients to the dog. We should not give supplements to the dog, unless expressly instructed by the veterinarian. Therefore, food should always be the first source of vitamin B for dogs, not vitamin B complex supplements.

Foods rich in vitamin B for dogs

If your dogs needs it, these foods are considered a good source of vitamin B:

  • Offal such as liver
  • Meat such as pork or poultry
  • Fish such as sardines
  • Eggs, in particular as a source of vitamin B12
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Cereals and wheat germ
  • Dairy products
  • Legumes
  • Green leafy vegetables

Vitamin B can be administered to dogs by injection. If a dog requires fluid therapy, it is not unusual for it also to need a vitamin B supplement. For dogs with distemper, vitamin B is usually administered in this way, especially to alleviate neurological disorders. In these cases, the veterinarian will inject the vitamins subcutaneously, intramuscularly or intravenously, according to the condition and needs of the dog.

Is Vitamin B Complex Good for Dogs? - How to give vitamin B supplements to a dog

Side effects of vitamin B for dogs

In general, these vitamins are safe, as they are not normally stored in the body and any excess is eliminated. However, there is a possibility of some adverse reactions, e.g. excessive or prolonged doses of vitamin B6 are associated with incoordination and muscle weakness, such as losing control of their back legs.

Occasionally, if vitamin B is injected intravenously too quickly, it can cause nausea, vomiting and general illness. As the veterinarian will be administering the supplement, he/she need only reduce the speed to control the symptomatology. On very rare occasions, an allergic reaction may occur.

Whatever you do, do not give vitamins to your dog on your own initiative. If you think they need them, check their diet first and consult your veterinarian.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Is Vitamin B Complex Good for Dogs?, we recommend you visit our Medicine category.

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1 comment
James Pon
My 10 year old labrador mongrel is limping at back left leg for the past 2 days.
I checked my dog back leg and found no injuries.
Many months ago it had this same problem but on back right leg.
I gave him 1000mg vitamin B Complex human supplement. After 2 weeks the limping was gone gradually.
Can I continue with the same vitamin B Complex treatment?
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Is Vitamin B Complex Good for Dogs?