One tan pitbull stands smiling with his tongue out next to a lime green Get Joy food cart. This is demonstrating food with a healthy level of Vitamin A in dogs.

What to Know About Vitamin A As a Dog Parent

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for dogs, just as it is for us! It is important that your pup gets the right amount of Vitamin A for optimal health.  

The Benefits of Vitamin A 

Vitamin A plays an essential role in your dog’s bone growth, vision, immune response, and skin and coat. Growth and development as a puppy and even as an adult are so important for dogs to live their best lives. Vitamin A is a bone and joint supportive vitamin. 

Healthy eyesight for your pup is supported by Vitamin A, especially the ability for dogs to see in color and in dimmer lighting.  

Moreover, a strong immune system can be attributed to Vitamin A because it stimulates the production and activity of white blood cells, which fight off infection and other diseases. 

Lastly, a shiny coat and healthy skin are results of your dog’s wholesome, fresh diet that contains Vitamin A. This vitamin helps the body generate strong skin cells and healthy hair follicles. 

Why Too Much Vitamin A is Bad  

If a dog consumes too much Vitamin A, this can be detrimental to their health. There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble.  

Vitamins B and C are water-soluble, which means these vitamins filter through the kidney, and any excess amount is secreted in the urine. So, your dog’s body can maintain a safe level of these vitamins on its own!  

On the other hand, Vitamin A, among a few other vitamins, is fat-soluble. This means they are stored in fatty tissues and will accumulate there until needed, whether that be for vision enhancement, an immune response, or bone growth. If a dog is consuming too much Vitamin A at once or over a long period of time, it can overwhelm their body sitting in tissue storage.  

How Much is Too Much 

This may seem daunting, but don't worry; it takes a LOT of Vitamin A to reach a toxic level for our four-legged friends. Let’s walk through how much is too much, and you’ll see it is pretty hard to reach! 

According to the AAFCO Canine Food Nutrient Profiles, a dog should be getting a minimum of 5,000 IU per kilogram of food and a maximum of 250,000 IU per kilogram of food.  

What Does That Mean?! 

When formulating our fresh food, we take this into consideration, so you don’t have to! We make sure your dog has enough Vitamin A for optimal wellness in their normal diet, and not too much that extra treats even come close to the maximum.  

Foods High in Vitamin A 

Carrots, eggs, sweet potato, and organ meats, especially liver, are packed with Vitamin A.  

Get Joy’s single ingredient Freeze Dried Beef Treats are rich in vitamins, including Vitamin A in the liver treats. For your pup to maximize their wellness with not too little and not too much Vitamin A, we recommend giving a handful of about 6-7 of our organ treats throughout the day.  

Signs of Vitamin A Deficiency 

Here's a list of signs to look out for that may point to your dog experiencing Vitamin A deficiency: 

  • Dry, itchy eyes 
  • Night blindness 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Lung problems  

Signs of Vitamin A Toxicity 

Here’s a list of signs to look out for that may point to your dog experiencing Vitamin A toxicity: 

  • Lethargy 
  • Vomiting  
  • Absence of hunger 
  • Abnormal bone growth  
  • Joint stiffness 
  • Paralysis  
  • Seizures 

The signs of toxicity and deficiency can be hard to decipher from each other and from clinical symptoms of other illnesses.

Consult our on-call veterinarians if you notice any of these signs to better understand what might be affecting your pup.