Natural Multivitamins for Pets:  Real Food for Real Nutrition

Natural Multivitamins for Pets: Real Food for Real Nutrition

Posted by Heejo Yang on

If your dog or cat food is labeled “complete and balanced,” it is designed to provide all of the nutrients generally necessary for your pet. So you’re thinking “complete and balanced” means you don’t need to add supplements, right? Well, maybe. Read on!

Why Supplement? Your Pet’s Dietary Needs are Unique

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)* sets standards for pet foods labeled complete and balanced. These standards are designed for average pet requirements. But your dog or cat may have additional nutritional needs. (I mean, is your pet ever average?)

Do any of the following sound like your dog or cat? If so, it may be time for a multivitamin.

  • Needs a boost?

Lethargy, dry or itchy skin and coat, and poor digestion are signs that your pet’s diet is insufficient. Your vet and nutritionist can help identify particular dietary needs as well.

  • Dieting?

Overweight pets may need to go on a diet to prevent potential health problems.  If your dog or cat is getting smaller portions, it may not have all the required nutrients.

  • Ill or recovering?

If your pet is sick or just getting over a sickness or surgery, its defenses could be weakened and nutritional needs increased.

  • Active?  

Athletic pets burn more calories and may need additional dietary support. Also consider supplements with antioxidants to help fight damaging free radicals brought on by exercise. 

  • Raw feeding?  

If you are raw feeding your pet, be sure to provide vitamins and minerals not found in meat alone. (For more information, see our raw feeding post here.)

*(For those of you that love details as much as we do, check out the table below this post for further information on each of the AAFCO-required vitamins and minerals.)

Which Supplement? Real Food Means Real Nutrition

If you are supplementing your pet’s diets, be sure to use products specifically labeled for dogs and cats, since ingredients and dosages for pets are different than those for humans. When choosing between pet supplements, we here at kin+kind believe in those made from real foods.

Most conventional foods and supplements rely on synthetic vitamins and minerals. However, whole food advocates believe that synthetics are inferior. Animals have evolved to digest real foods that combine nutrients. While synthetic nutrients may be chemically identical, they have been separated from their natural partners and therefore may be absorbed and processed differently.


Multivitamins may not be necessary for every dog and cat, but your pet’s nutritional needs are unique. When choosing between supplements, look for those containing high-quality, whole foods that can be absorbed naturally. If you can use raw, cold-pressed, or otherwise minimally-processed foods, even better!



Minerals and vitamins listed as essential by AAFCO for dogs and cats:


Examples of Sources



Tofu, yogurt, raw bones, broccoli, cauliflower

Development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth


All animal tissues, eggs, fish, milk

Works with calcium to maintain the growth and structure of the skeletal system


Fruits, vegetables, milk, grain

Needed for the proper functioning of enzymes, muscles, and nerves


Fruits, vegetables, milk, grain

Aids in the transfer of nutrients to cells and the removal of waste products


Fruits, vegetables, milk, grain

Helps maintain the proper acid/alkali balance in the body


Spinach, broccoli, green beans, whole grains, seafood

Necessary for the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, bone growth, enzyme functioning, and protein production


Red meats, fish, poultry, shellfish, eggs, legumes

Critical for red blood cell health


Seafood, nuts, whole grains, seeds, legumes

Intestinal absorption of iron and its incorporation into red blood cells


Iodized salt, seafood, dairy products, kelp

Proper functioning of the thyroid gland


Spinach, broccoli, yogurt, beef, poultry, whole grains

Helps maintain healthy hair and skin


Nuts, whole grains, leafy vegetables

Proper use of protein and carbohydrates


Seafood, meat, whole grains, brown rice, vegetables

Antioxidant which functions in with Vitamin E to protect cells


Examples of Sources


Vitamin A

Carrots, fish liver oil, leafy greens, liver

Strong immune system and healthy vision

Vitamin D

Halibut and cod liver oil, fish, yogurt, eggs

Regulates the balance of minerals in the body

Vitamin E

Asparagus, spinach, corn, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils

Essential for cell function and fat metabolism

*Vitamin K

Cabbage, cauliflower, leafy greens and other vegetables

Activates the blood's ability to clot

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Lean meat, liver, fish, wheat germ, whole grains

Helps healthy metabolism, normal growth

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Eggs, fish, liver, lean meat, nuts, legumes, leafy greens

Helps facilitate enzyme function

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Asparagus, seeds, nuts, poultry, fish, liver, lean meat

Converts carbohydrates into energy, facilitates DNA repair

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)

Eggs, fish, lean beef, legumes, broccoli, sweet potatoes

Helps with energy metabolism

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Bananas, eggs, fish, meat, whole grains

Hormone regulation, healthy immune and red blood cell function

*Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Cauliflower, egg yolks, legumes, nuts, sardines

Converts carbohydrates into energy, produces amino acids and fatty acids

Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)

Beans, carrots, egg yolks, leafy greens, liver, pumpkin

Plays a role in amino acid and nucleotide metabolism

Vitamin B12

Cheese, eggs, fish, liver, meat

Healthy nervous system


Liver, eggs, cauliflower, shellfish, asparagus

Supports healthy brain and liver function

*Only listed as necessary by AAFCO for cats


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