Everyone knows them and knows that they are healthy. But what exactly are vitamins? Vitamins are organic nutrients that are essential for life in small quantities and cannot be produced by animals and humans themselves. Depending on the animal species, however, there are exceptions here, for example, vitamin C can be formed by dogs and cats themselves under certain conditions, and dogs can also form vitamin A from carotene.
A distinction is made between water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. The fat-soluble ones are supplied to the organism with fats. They include vitamins A, D, E and K. They can be stored to a certain extent in the organism(e.g. liver and kidneys), so that an undersupply is initially compensated and not noticeable. However, an intake of these vitamins that is considerably higher than required over a longer period of time can also lead to health problems.
Water-soluble are the B vitamins, which also include biotin, niacin, pantothenic acid and folic acid. The well-known vitamin C is also water-soluble. In contrast to the fat-soluble vitamins, they can only be stored in the body to a limited extent, so animals and humans have to consume them regularly.
Vitamin deficiency can have various effects in animals. In dogs, for example, the consequences of a B1-deficient diet were recognised as early as the beginning of the 20th century, similar to those in humans: Beriberi. This vitamin deficiency disease can lead to disorders of the muscles, nerves and cardiovascular system. In cats, a lack of vitamins often leads to skin and coat problems as the first externally recognisable sign.
So what are minerals? Like vitamins, they are also essential for life. However, they are chemical compounds that can be divided into bulk elements and trace elements.
The quantity elements include:
The bulk elements are needed in relatively large quantities (hence the name). In contrast, only small quantities (i.e. "traces") of the trace elements are necessary.
Among the most important are
If a dog or cat suffers from a mineral deficiency, they are less able to perform and more susceptible to diseases. Therefore, a complete, varied diet is essential for the animal to cover its need for the most important vitamins and minerals. Owners should pay attention to the supplementation of the important ingredients from the very beginning in order to enable their pet to lead a healthy and vital life.