Vitamin are divided into aFat Soluble Groupand aWater Soluble Group. Fat soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K and are stored in the body fat whereas water soluble vitamins (B complex) are not, and have to be replaced more frequently.

Fat Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin A

The pet can obtain its vitamin A requirement from the yellow pigment of plants called carotene. Carotene is converted to vitamin A mainly in the intestines. Vitamin A is found in milk, butter, cheese, cod liver oil, and liver. Vitamin A is essential for growth, vision, and the health of skin cells, bones and teeth. Vitamin A deficiency causes numerous eye disorders such as dry eye, conjunctivitis, ulceration of the cornea, and hardening of the skin. Excess vitamin A causes painful changes in the bones and gingivitis.

Vitamin D

This is found in dairy products, meat, and cod liver oil. Vitamin D in the small intestines aids in calcium and phosphorus absorption as well as playing a role in regulating the level of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Vitamin D is essential in the young pet for bone development and growth. A deficiency of vitamin D can cause rickets. Excess amounts of vitamin D can cause calcification the soft tissues and deformities in the in the teeth and jaw.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is found in cereals, margarine, and green veggies. It is closely linked to the trace element selenium. In the presence of a high level of polyunsaturated fatty acids, the requirement for vitamin E increases. Vitamin E linked with selenium plays a role in maintaining the cell membrane. A deficiency can result in degeneration of the muscles, reproductive failure, and have an adverse affect on the immune system. Excess amounts of vitamin E can be harmful.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is found in meats, green veggies, and cereals. Vitamin K is manufactured by the bacteria in the intestines. It plays a role in the blood clotting mechanism. A deficiency rarely occurs naturally but if drug induced, such an extended use of antibiotics can lead to hemorrhage. Excess amounts does not appear to be harmful to the pet.

Water Soluble Vitamins

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

This is not required in the diet as the pet is able to manufacture its own requirement.


This is found in meats, veggies, and legumes. pets on a balanced diet produce their daily requirement by bacterial synthesis in the intestine. Antibiotics can produce a biotin deficiency by destroying the intestine bacteria which produces the vitamin. Signs of a biotin deficiency causes scaly dermatitis. Toxic reaction in excess is unknown.


Chorine is found in a wide variety of plant and animal materials, grains, liver, legumes, and egg yolks. A deficiency causes liver and kidney dysfunction. the effects of excess chorine are still unknown.

Cyanacobamalin (Vitamin B12)

This is found in meat, eggs, and dairy products. Its function is closely linked to folic acid. A deficiency results in nerve degeneration and amnesia. Research on B12 deficiency is still being conducted.

Folic Acid

This is a vitamin found in green veggies, some grains and legumes. pets on a balanced diet produce their daily requirement by bacterial synthesis in the intestine. Signs of a deficiency are weight loss, lethargy, and anemia. Excess folic acid administered orally is not toxic.


This is a vitamin found in grains, cereal, meats, liver, and legumes. It plays a role in the metabolism of all the major nutrients. Signs of a deficiency are not eating, an inflamed ulcerated mouth, bad breath, black tongue, diarrhea, and weight loss. Toxic reaction due to excess amounts is unknown in the pet

Pantathenic Acid

This is a vitamin found in most foods. It plays an essential part in carbohydrate, fat, and amino acid metabolism. Signs of a deficiency are depression, failure to grow, reduced appetite, hair loss, and diarrhea. Toxic reaction due to excess amounts are unknown.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

This is found in meats, veggies, and cereal grains. It is involved in enzyme systems associated with nitrogen and amino acid metabolism. The requirement depends on the protein content of the diet. Signs of a deficiency are weight loss, dermatitis, hair loss, and anemia. Excess amounts is not considered to be toxic.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

This is found in most foods and is essential in carbohydrate metabolism. A deficiency can cause eye and skin disorders, and small testicles. Some riboflavin may be manufactured by the small intestine. The amount produced by this method is not adequate to cover the pets requirements so it is essential that the riboflavin be supplied by the pets food. Toxic effects are not known.

Thiamin (Vitamin B1)

This is found in whole grains, peas, beans, and offal. It can be destroyed by cooking or by an enzyme found in fish called thiaminase. Thiaminase in fish is destroyed by cooking. Thiamin plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism. Thiamin requirement is dependent on the carbohydrate content in the diet. pets with a thiamin deficiency will usually stop eating, show signs of a disorder in the nervous system, weakness, and may die from heart failure. Thiamin in excess amounts is unlikely to cause toxicity.


Water plays a vital role within the body. It is the major constituent of the blood, it is involved in the temperature regulation, and is essential for digestion. Water represents 50% of the pets body weight. The pet can not live without water! Water is lost from the pets body via expired air. This includes panting, feces, urine, and sweat from the pets pads. Besides drinking, water is also produced from the chemical breakdown of nutrients within the body. Dry pet food may contain less than ten percent water, where moist pet food (canned) may contain more than 80% water. Water requirements will vary according to the climate conditions, the pets health, whether or not the pet is pregnant, and the water content of the food eaten.

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