Vitamins for Puppies

If you feed an AAFCO-certified “all life stages” food, your puppy is getting everything he needs nutritionally, so puppy vitamins are not needed.


A dog food that states on the label it meets Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards for all life stages is all your puppy needs for proper nutrition. Food with this label already contains the best puppy vitamins and is nutritionally complete, so puppy supplements are unnecessary.

It’s important to understand that adding supplements to your puppy’s already complete-and-balanced diet can create imbalances, toxicities, or synergistic effects among nutrients (see sidebar). So, instead of purchasing a vitamin supplement for your puppy, invest in a high-quality, complete, and balanced puppy food.

Food Freshness

Vitamins differ from minerals in that vitamins degrade over time. Minerals are relatively stable compounds. Because of this, the best thing you can do to ensure your puppy gets optimal nutrition is to purchase the right size bag of food, which is the one your puppy will consume within four to six weeks. By regularly providing fresh food to your puppy, you are ensuring he is getting the optimal levels of nutrients before degradation of vitamins begins.

Say No to Puppy Vitamins for Growth

Be sure to select a formula that is appropriate for the size dog you have. Large and giant breed puppies – defined as puppies expected to weigh 70 lbs or more as adult dogs – require diets formulated specifically for them, and you will find that phrase added to the AAFCO nutritional statement on the bag. By providing your puppy a complete source of nutrition, you can be confident that you are setting them up for success. Note: Formulations for large-breed puppies contain slightly lower levels of calcium, phosphorus, fat, and calories.

Wasted, Lethal Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin supplements are routinely recommended for people and growing children, but remember that most humans consume diets that are not formulated by nutritionists and are not complete and balanced. For this reason, human doctors may recommend multivitamins to fill nutritional gaps. With dogs and puppies, however, overdoing vitamins can be a waste of money or even harmful.

Vitamins are divided into two categories, fat-soluble and water-soluble:

  • Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, and any excess is flushed out of the body and excreted in the urine. Since the water-soluble vitamins your puppy needs are already provided in the food you give them, any excess will be unused and filtered out by the body.
  • Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body, however, and have the potential for toxicity if over supplemented. Vitamins A and D are of specific concern when it comes to toxicities in dogs and can be lethal at high enough levels.