Originally postedJanuary 29, 2014
Pet Blog Readers! Please welcome Erica, a veterinary clinic technician,
with this guest post about the possible uses for vitamin B12
supplementation for your dog. I’d like to preface this by saying that
you should always consult with your veterinarian before starting any new
supplements, and definitely get your pet to the vet right away if they
are showing signs of lethargy (periods of time lacking energy,
excitement or extreme weakness).
The vitamin B12 is not only important for the human body- it is also
important to the health of a dog or cat’s nervous system and the growth
of red and white blood cells. Lethargy, weakness in the legs, or a lack
of appetite in a pet may be a result of a vitamin B12 deficiency. This
common deficiency may be a result of insufficient levels of the vitamin
in the pet’s diet, or of an inherited condition that makes it difficult
or impossible for the pet to absorb it through its regular diet. A
vitamin B12 deficiency that goes untreated may lead to more serious
problems, such as serious gastrointestinal diseases and weight loss. A
B12 vitamin supplement is a very effective and simple solution to the
problem, whether the problem stems from insufficient dietary levels or
from an inherited condition. B12 supplements can also help pets that
suffer from gastrointestinal ailments or kidney disease.
How is Vitamin B12 Administered to Pets?
vitamin supplements may be administered to pets by a variety of
methods, just as it can for humans. The most common method is by oral
supplement, which can be administered by crushing a tablet and mixing it
into the pet’s food, or by mixing the supplement with water and
administering it directly to the mouth by syringe. Increasing meat in
the pet’s diet will also provide more of the vitamin. Because many pets
have difficulty absorbing the B12 vitamin, injection is a commonly used
method of administering the supplement. Some will want these injections
to be administered by veterinarians, but the process is simple, and with
the veterinarian’s approval, the injections may often be done at home
by the pet’s owner. Typically, B12 injections are reserved for serious
deficiencies, and they are recommended if the pet has a gastrointestinal
illness or an inherited condition that prevents it from absorbing the
vitamin through food. Injections are typically administered to a dog’s
hind leg. Cats receive the vitamin through subcutaneous injection. B12
injections are typically given once a week for the first five or six
weeks, bi-weekly for another period of weeks, and, eventually, on a
How Long Until My Pet Shows Signs of Improvement?
the pet is taking the vitamin supplements or injections, the
veterinarian will test the pet’s blood regularly, until the B12 level is
acceptable. While the pet is taking the supplements, improvements in
appetite and energy, weight gain, and improvement of any
gastrointestinal problems should be noticeable. For the majority of
pets, a few weeks taking the supplement will begin to show improvements
in the problems associated with the deficiency, but the breed and
medical condition of the pet will ultimately determine whether it will
need the supplements in the short or long term.
The potential side effects of a B12 vitamin supplement are minimal. B12
is a safe, non-toxic vitamin. While it is possible for a pet to have too
much of certain vitamin supplements, taking too much of a B12
supplement will very rarely harm the pet, because it is not stored in
the body. The bloodstream will only absorb as much of the vitamin as it
needs at a time, and discard the rest through urination. Vitamin B12 is
truly a safe solution for pet lethargy, so talk to your veterinarian
today about Vitamin B12 injections or supplements for your pet.
Erica Anderson has spent ten years as a Tucson veterinary clinic technician. She loves writing about pets, parenting, and gardening.
So, have you tried B12 for your dog? How did it work out and what
were you treating? I’ve used B12 myself in the past to supplement my
diet and increase my energy and I think it worked pretty well for me!
Share your stories in the comments!