Archive for August 27th, 2011

English Bulldog – Nutritional Building Blocks (Part II)Vitamins

Vitamins are vital elements necessary for growth and the maintenance of life. There are two classes of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins include the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

These vitamins are absorbed by the body during digestion using the water found in the dog’s food. Although it’s usually a good idea to allow the English Bulldog to drink water whenever she’s thirsty, additional water is not needed for digestion of these vitamins, because the water in the dog’s body is sufficient as long as the dog is not dehydrated. Excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted from the body in the urine, so it’s difficult to oversupplement these vitamins – although too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea.
The B vitamins serve a number of functions, including the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids. The B vitamins are involved in many biochemical processes, and deficiencies can show up as weight loss, slow growth, dry and flaky skin, or anemia, depending on the specific deficiency. The B vitamins can be obtained from meat and dairy products, beans, and eggs.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and, at the same time, a controversial vitamin. Some respected sources state that it is not a required dietary supplement for dogs, yet others regard C as a miracle vitamin. Some feel it can help prevent hip dysplasia and other potential problems, but these claims have not been proven. Dogs can produce a certain amount of vitamin C in their bodies, but this amount is often not sufficient, especially if the dog is under stress from work, injury, or illness.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

These vitamins require some fats in the dog’s diet for adequate absorption. Fats are in the meat in your dog’s diet and are added to commercial dog foods. Excess fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fat. Excess vitamins of this type can cause problems, including toxicity. These vitamins should be added to the diet with care.
Vitamin A deficiencies show up as slow or retarded growth, reproductive failure, and skin and vision problems. Green and yellow vegetables are excellent sources of vitamin A, as are carrots, fish oils, and animal livers. The vegetables should be lightly cooked so that the dog can digest them.
Vitamin D is needed for the correct absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and is necessary for the growth and development of bones and teeth and for muscle strength. Many dogs will produce a certain amount of vitamin D when exposed to sunlight; however, often that is not enough, and supplementation is needed. Balanced dog foods will generally have vitamin D in sufficient quantities.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that also works with several enzymes in the body. It has been shown to be effective in maintaining heart health and the immune system. It is also vital to other bodily systems, including the blood, nerves, muscles, and skin.
Vitamin K is needed for the proper clotting of blood. It is also important for healthy bones. Vitamin K is produced in the intestinal tract, and normally supple-mentation is not needed. However, if the dog is having digestion problems or is on antibiotics, supple-mentation may be required. Vitamin K can be found in dark green vegetables, including kale and spinach. These should be lightly cooked before feeding them to your English Bulldog.

Minerals

Minerals, like vitamins, are necessary for life and physical well-being. Minerals can affect the body in many ways. A deficiency of calcium can lead to rickets, a deficiency of manganese can cause reproductive failure, and a zinc deficiency can lead to growth retardation and skin problems.
Many minerals are tied in with vitamins; in other words, a vitamin deficiency will also result in a mineral deficiency. For example, an adequate amount of vitamin B ensures there is also an adequate amount of cobalt because cobalt, a mineral, is a constituent of B   .
Minerals are normally added to commercial dog foods. If you’re feeding a homemade diet, it can be supplemented with a vitamin and mineral tablet to make sure the dog has sufficient minerals.

Water

It may seem like common sense to say that your English Bulldog will need water, but the importance of water cannot be emphasized enough. Water makes up about 70% of a dog’s weight. Water facilitates the generation of energy, the transportation of nutrients, and the disposal of wastes. Water is in the bloodstream, in the eyes, in the cerebrospinal fluid, and in the gastrointestinal tract. Water is vital to all of the body’s functions in some way. Don’t forget to clean your dog’s water bowl every day.

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