Can Dogs Be Given Multi Vitamins

Can Dogs Be Given Multi Vitamins?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can Dogs Be Given Multi Vitamins?“.

A dogs multivitamin and a humans multivitamin contain the minerals and vitamins that both species require to thrive.

Those are probably the only similarities.

Can Dogs Be Given Multi Vitamins

Human multivitamins typically contain 100% of a persons daily vitamin and mineral requirements.

The average dog multivitamin contains only 20% vitamins.


The difference lies in dog food. Dog food typically contains 100% of a dogs daily vitamin and mineral requirements. Manufacturers do this on purpose.

The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) even regulates some of these nutritional requirements.

Consequently if you’re feeding your dog real dog food not homemade stuff your dog is most likely getting all the vitamins it needs.

A dog multivitamin will also contain fewer of the following:

Iron: Dogs are especially sensitive to iron which is found in high concentrations of prenatal vitamins.

Vitamin C: Dogs amazingly make their own and do not require supplements.

Vitamin D: Dogs are acutely toxic to high doses of this substance.

Calcium: Calcium levels in the bloodstream can cause problems for dogs.

Xylitol: In addition to being toxic to dogs xylitol is typically found in gummy vitamins and chewable vitamins for humans.

What vitamins are in multivitamin tabs?

Multivitamins are available for both humans and dogs and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. The ingredient lists for both can seem quite similar at first glance. Comparing human vitamins to dog vitamins it becomes evident that there is no standard.

Multivitamins contain the following seven ingredients:

A multivitamin for dogs

These are the zesty paws core elements:

The ingredients in this supplement include Glucosamine HCL MSM (OptiMSM) Cod Liver Oil Enzyme Blend Chondroitin Sulfate Vitamin A and Vitamin D. 

A multivitamin for dogs (for veterinary use):

Cellulose Dicalcium Phosphate Ascorbic Acid Stearic Acid Liver Meal and Safflower Oil.

Human multivitamins

Adult Centrum Tablets:

The capsule contains Calcium Carbonate Potassium Chloride Dibasic Calcium Phosphate Magnesium Oxide Microcrystalline Cellulose Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C) and Ferrous Fumarate.

The Jamieson Multivitamin 100% Complete includes:

 There are several vitamins in vitamin A (acetate) beta-carotene vitamin B1 (thiamine mononitrate) vitamin B2 (riboflavin) vitamin B3 (niacinamide) vitamin B5 (calcium d-pantothenate) vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCl). 

There seem to be only a few things that human multivitamins and dog multivitamins have in common – at least when it comes to their most prominent ingredients. 

Multivitamins for humans do not contain chicken meal chicken flavoring or liver meal. This may explain why dogs have difficulty taking their vitamins regularly. 

Otherwise the lists seem about the same and the only difference is the number of vitamins. As it is precisely the amount of a vitamin that makes a dog toxic it is important to:

  1. Donot give your dog multivitamins or supplements without consulting a veterinarian
  2. It is very important to keep an eye on the total vitamin intake of your dog.

Which dogs need multivitamins added to their diets?

Dogs that eat a balanced complete diet do not need additional vitamins. Adding additional vitamins could actually harm them. If you plan to give your dog vitamins it is a good idea to consult your vet.

You may want to consider giving your dog multivitamins in these situations:

Supplementation may be necessary if your dog eats homemade food raw meat etc. Homemade diets are not complete and balanced unless they are designed by a dog nutritionist.

Multivitamin supplements are also known to be beneficial to dogs with arthritis. Be sure to consult your vet before taking any supplements.

Improves fur shine and reduces shedding.

A dog on a prescribed diet has a low metabolism. Often these dogs are overweight or obese but just because they are being fed less food does not mean they do not need vitamins.

Which vitamins can be harmful to my dog?

There are three types of vitamins: fat-soluble vitamins water-soluble vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.

The safest vitamins are those that dissolve in water and those rich in Omega 3.

Vitamins soluble in water include B-complex vitamins vitamin C niacin folic acid and biotin among others. Fish oils and flax seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids.

The problem with fat-soluble vitamins is that they are stored in fat cells instead of being flushed from the body through digestion. When this happens toxins can build up in the body. Vitamins D E and K are fat-soluble vitamins.

Vitamin D calcium and iron are the most harmful vitamins and minerals in multivitamins.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D protects dogs from diseases but too much can lead to dangerous calcium and phosphorus levels which can negatively impact the heart and kidneys.

The following are symptoms of vitamin D toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Feces containing blood
  • Deficiencies
  • Drooling excessively
  • Tremors in muscles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Thirst and urine production increase
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Seizures


Dogs like humans rely on calcium to maintain healthy bones. However puppies and dogs with kidney disease are particularly at risk for calcium toxicity. When ingested in large quantities vitamin D will also increase calcium levels in the bloodstream making the vitamin D/calcium combination so dangerous.

Calcium toxicity manifests itself in the following ways:

  • Having diarrhea
  • Twitching
  • Dehydration
  • Breathing rapidly
  • Urine with blood in it
  • Feces that are smelly and tarry
  • Irritation of the digestive tract (bloating flatulence etc.)


Our dogs’ bodies are mostly made up of iron. It is not uncommon for dogs to become toxic to iron. Our dogs cannot eliminate the substance in a short amount of time which can lead to damage to the heart liver gastrointestinal system and metabolic system.

The effects of iron toxicity may progress through many stages over time and may lead to acute injury or death. It is possible for your dog to appear better after presenting some initial symptoms and then to get worse. You should contact your vet if you think your dog may have iron poisoning. 

The following symptoms may occur:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargic
  • A rapid heartbeat
  • Shock
  • Yellowness
  • Seizure
  • Loss of weight
  • Bleeding diarrhea
  • Bloating of the intestines

We should all be aware of another ingredient found in some multivitamins that is not a vitamin or mineral:


In chewable vitamins and gummy multivitamins xylitol is most likely to be found as a sweetener. Check the label of gummy vitamins or chewable if your dog has been raiding them.

Dogs’ blood sugar can plummet even when small amounts are consumed. It is likely that liver damage will occur at higher doses as well as other health issues. 

The following symptoms may occur:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargic
  • Weaknesses
  • Walking is difficult
  • Collapsing

What is the best place for healthy dogs to get their vitamins from?

All of the vitamins dogs need are found in most commercially processed dog foods. The amount of nutrients in these foods is often regulated. Take a look at your food labels to see whether they contain things like:

Nutrition that is balanced and complete

Conforms to the requirements established by (insert the name of the regulating body) for dogs”

In line with (insert name of regulating body) feeding trials we provide a complete and balanced diet for dogs.

Is it possible for dogs to consume complete diets and complete foods? 

The following foods and diets are complete for dogs:

Protein: It is a component of our bodies! Your dog also loves it. Only 13 of the 23 essential amino acids needed for building protein are produced by your dogs body. The rest must be obtained from food.

Fats: The fat in your dogs body provides energy and keeps its skin and hair healthy. You should not be fooled – your dog needs it.

The carbohydrate group: There are three types of carbs fiber sugar and starch. In essence they are all plant-based. Dogs need them for energy and to digest food properly.

Foods rich in vitamins and minerals: Vitamins and minerals are essential for the chemical and electrical signals in your dogs body. The effects are subtle but so critical.

Water: Dogs like us have bodies that are about 80% water. Always provide them with fresh clean water.

Which vegetables are packed with vitamins for dogs?

Here are some useful links:

Spinach: Popeyes favorite contains potassium magnesium and phosphorous as well as vitamins B6 B9 E and K.

Carrots: The carrot is not only good for cleaning a dogs teeth but it also contains vitamins A K and B6 as well as potassium and biotin.

Green beans: Green beans contain vitamins B6 A C and K as well as iron and calcium so you can share them with your dog.

Peas: Its not by chance that some commercially packaged dog foods include peas. Besides vitamins A B1 B2 B3 B6 C and K they also contain minerals like thiamin phosphorus manganese fiber and folate.

Squash: Squash is easy to digest and contains vitamins A C and B6.

Broccoli: When your dog eats broccoli it gets plenty of vitamin K C A and B9.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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