Before getting an answer to this question, you should first ask yourself, is it right to give a dog vitamin K? The best answer is, it all depends. Yes, you can give vitamin K, but not the way you think. There are plenty of reasons to feed your dog with Vitamin K. Dogs are different in terms of nutritional requirements and not all dog foods have the same quantities of vitamins. Even when dogs eat homemade foods with vitamins, they might still require extra vitamins depending on the breed. Also, senior dogs will require additional vitamin K to supplement their diet since they eat less food due to old age.
So, why give a dog vitamin K? Vitamin K can benefit your dog in terms of teeth strength, bone strength, heart health and even cancer treatment. Dogs can suffer from Vitamin K deficiency because of digestion or liver issues, or due to antibiotics. Therefor there can be valid reasons to give a dog this vitamin.
Below is a detailed article on Vitamin K for dogs. Please see my other article if you’re looking for more tips on supplements for senior dogs. I have also written about the vitamins that your dog needs for a healthy lifestyle, which can be another article worth checking out.
What is it?
Also known as the clotting vitamin, these are fat-soluble compounds or molecules responsible for blood coagulation and bone health. This group of vitamins has two natural forms namely Vitamin k-1 and K-2. There are other additional manmade forms such as k-3 and so on. However, the most preferred ones are the natural forms since they are harmless and have no side effects on dogs.
Vitamin K is available naturally in numerous dog foods and proves helpful to a dog’s health. Besides natural foods, other commercial brands can also provide enough vitamin supplements for dogs. While a dog produces its own vitamins, they may not be enough for proper body metabolism and blood clotting. Supplementation is essential but should be done under the guidance of a vet.
Functions of vitamin K
Just the same way vitamin K is essential for human growth and development; it also serves the same purpose for dogs. The main function of this vitamin s is to regulate calcium levels in the body. This way, it promotes the development of strong bones and other body tissues. This explains why you need to give your dog enough vitamin k to counter osteoporosis and other related problems.
As discussed earlier, vitamin K exists in many forms and each function differently.
Functions of vitamin K-1
This form of vitamin K is less toxic when compared to K-2. It mainly functions to control and stimulate calcium compounds in the dog’s body so as to promote blood coagulation. This vitamin has few benefits and it mostly centers on strengthening bones and blood. Also, Vitamin k-1 is known to prevent excessive bleeding and arterial calcification. When a dog accidentally swallows poison, this vitamin plays a great role as an anti-clotting agent.
Functions of vitamin K-2
Scientific research points out that this type of vitamin has not leveled of toxins therefore safe for dog consumption. It, therefore, plays the following roles in dogs:
If this vitamin has the power to improve bone density, then it also helps boost dental health. This type of vitamin stimulates bone metabolism using a special protein known as osteocalcin. This protein positively promotes the development of healthy teeth.
Dogs especially those aging are at a greater risk of suffering from osteoporosis. Vitamin k-2 can be given to dogs so as improve the bone density and thus prevent bone-related problems. Besides that, this vitamin is known to promote bone strength. Enough of vitamin supplements will prevent bone fractures in dogs especially spine ruptures.
This type of vitamin is ideal for preventing heart-related diseases in dogs. It works to remove calcium deposits which are risky to the dog’s arteries. High levels of calcium in the body create inflammations around the heart vessels and this can lead to heart failure in dogs.
Just like humans, dogs too suffer from cancer-related illnesses. Vitamin k-2 supplements are known to lower different types of dog cancers especially liver and prostate cancer.
Vitamin K deficiency
This condition can be caused by a number of factors in dogs. Naturally, the body of a dog will produce its own vitamins for various roles. However, some specific disorders can lower or stop the normal production of vitamins. These conditions will affect vitamin absorption and can lead to a further health complication.
Such conditions include:
Toxins especially rat poison are known to cause a shortage of vitamin k. Poison simply prevents vitamins from their role of blood coagulation. This will also affect the liver’s ability to produce vitamin k for coagulation purposes.
I hope this is no surprise to you that antibiotics to cause deficiency. Antibiotics are the most common form of drug medications prescribed for dogs. These antibiotics have been known to lower the body’s ability to absorb enough Vitamin K.
This is common to food diets limited to fats.
Vitamin k is usually absorbed through the gastric duct under normal conditions. This requires secretion of pancreatic and bile juices. Now the liver is responsible for the production of bile and once it has problems, then it becomes a problem to absorb these vitamins.
Foods rich in vitamin K
Natural animal products are a good source of vitamins. For instance, egg yolks, liver and muscle meat are rich in vitamin k-2. Since animal products contain lots of fats, they make a good source of this type of vitamin. Fermented diets such as brewer’s yeast also contain plenty of vitamins. The dog will produce vitamin k-2 from its own gut.
On the other hand, plants are a good source of vitamin K-1. Examples of plants rich with this type of vitamin include cabbage, soya beans, parsley, broccoli, spinach and more.
What are the side effects?
There are no serious effects experienced when using Vitamin K since the main forms are usually natural. However, your dog can still experience some slight discomforts. Some of such minor effects include:
- Skin Rashes
- Diarrhea in the initials days
- Upset stomach
While giving your dog Vitamin K, its recommended to administer orally. Any other form of administration such as injection may cause serious allergic reactions to your dog. The best-recommended dosage is 75mg for a fully mature dog. Young puppies should be given as low as 25gm of dosage.
Now you know why you need to give your dog Vitamin K!