All mammals, including both canines and humans, require vitamins and minerals in their diet. Although the nutritional needs of a dog are very different from that of a human, there are also many similarities. Each requires calcium, sodium, potassium, vitamins B, C, D, and a host of other common vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in our food. However, there are several options in terms of how to ensure that your protection dog is getting enough vitamins and minerals in its diet.
First and foremost, you should be feeding your dogs premium quality dog food. Cheap dog foods often contain little nutritional value to begin with, and many of the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals are destroyed by heat during the manufacturing process. Many high quality dog foods often include added minerals to ensure that the food meets the recommended standards for canine nutrition. Even with the active lifestyle of guard dogs and protection dogs, high quality dog foods should contain all of the nutrients your canine requires without the need for additional supplements.
Alternatively, there are a number of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables that can be given to your dog raw alongside raw beef and bones. Carrots, pears and apples are all suitable examples. However, it should be noted that a raw food diet requires much more thought and consideration on the part of the handler. While some fruits and vegetables are healthy for your dog, others, such as grapes, raisins or tomatoes, can be toxic. Also, switching your canine directly from a commercial dog food diet to a raw food diet can be hard on the stomach. Always consult your veterinarian before making any radical changes in the diet of your protection dog.
Finally, there are vitamin supplements. The simple truth is that vitamin supplements are in no way a replacement for a healthy vitamin-rich diet. In fact, too much of a certain vitamin can be toxic, and vitamin supplements may inadvertently make your dog sick. The only time you should ever give your canine a vitamin supplement is under the advice of your veterinarian. Whether you have a German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, or Dutch Shepherd, a natural, vitamin-rich diet is almost always the best solution.