Are Human Multivitamins Safe for Dogs?

senior dog taking medsIn an effort to save time and money, many pet parents are wondering if they can give their dogs the same multivitamin that they are taking. Is this safe for your dog? In a word – no.

Dr. Laura Brickman writes on that giving your dog the same multivitamin you take could do more harm than good.

“It is very important not to give pets human vitamins,” she warns. “Since animals have different requirements than we do, supplementing pets with human vitamins can actually be harmful to them. Too much calcium, for instance, can make your pet very sick. If you think your pet needs a vitamin, talk to your veterinarian. They will recommend vitamins designed especially for pets.”

One of the ingredients found in multivitamins for dogs, which is recommended by vets to treat a number of health issues including allergies, is omega-3 or fatty acids. However, there is concern about how much your dog really needs, which is why your dog needs his own multivitamins – the dosage is already decided.

According to Dr. Shawn Messonnier, in an article on, “For people, research suggests that the effective dosage is from 1.4 to 2.8 grams of GLA (omega-6 fatty acid) per day, or 1.7 grams of EPA (fish oil) and 0.9 grams of DHA (omega-3 fatty acid) per day. It’s hard for people to take that much using the supplements currently available because they come in a much lower dose. If this dosage is correct, translating this dosage to dogs (adjusting for weight) means a 50-pound dog would need to take 10 or more fatty acids capsules per day, depending upon the supplement.”

He points out that usage is another issue when giving your dog a human or canine supplement.

“Should we use just omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), or combine them with omega-6 fatty acid (GLA)? Is there an ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids? The ideal dietary ratio seems to be 5 to 1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, although this is also debated, and whether or not this dietary ratio is ideal for the treatment of allergies remains to be seen,” he says. “According to one pet food manufacturer of premium (but not “natural”) food, allergic pets eating their diet containing the ideal ratio of 5 to 1 omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids showed improvement. Other dietary ratios failed to show the same improvement in allergic pets.”

Dogs get most of what they need from their food, but diseases like cancer and hip dysplasia call for a supplement specifically formulated to help your dog.

For example, Glucosamine and Chondroitin is a popular supplement taken by both humans and dogs for joint issues. However, giving your dog a supplement meant for humans will not produce the same results as one made specifically for canines. writes, “A standard human vitamin or a human vitamin mixture will not be effective for a dog.  Although dogs do generally require the same nutrients that humans do, the balance of those vitamins is quite different.”

Unlike other canine vitamin brands, the entire line of i Love Dogs vitamins and supplements is tailor-dosed based on the weight of your dog. Accurate dosing is crucial to ensure dogs are getting the maximum benefits of the supplement.

The bottom line is that if you want to give your dog a multivitamin or supplement, it needs to be specifically formulated for dogs. And as always, please consult with your vet if you have any questions about the right type of vitamin or supplement for your dog.

PHOTO: 3bugsmom

Sonya Simpkins

Sonya Simpkins is a contributing writer for i Love Dogs, Inc. In her spare time, she loves to take her dogs for long hikes and treks to the beach, out to eat and on long road trips across the county. She then turns those adventures into useful advice for other dog parents who also love to take their dogs with them wherever they go.

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Hi, I was almost confused of this truth. Not only glucosamin & chondroitin but many of the medicine are prepared from animals like dogs, horses etc. So if we can use their vitamins then why don't they use of ours. But thanks for this article for renewing my mind with right information.



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