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Vitamin B-6 for Dogs

| Updated September 26, 2017

Vitamin B-6, or pyridoxine, is a water soluble vitamin that's part of the vitamin B complex. Since it functions as a coenzyme, your dog's body needs it for the metabolism of amino acids. The canine body needs it for hydrochloric acid production, too. Vitamin B-6 is associated with the manufacturing of red blood cells, healthy brain processes and the wellness of both the immune and nervous systems.

Vitamin B-6 Deficiencies

For a dog, the recommended minimum daily dose of this vitamin is 0.1 milligrams for each pound he weighs. Because of their high protein needs, felines require higher levels of vitamin B-6 than canines do. Although vitamin B-6 exists in a good amount of foods, it's not at all uncommon for the food manufacturing process to eradicate it. If a dog doesn't get sufficient vitamin B-6 in his diet, he could experience a deficiency. Note that the majority of commercial canine diets have adequate amounts of vitamin B-6, and deficiencies are more common in dogs who are fed homemade diets. Deficiencies in this vitamin can bring upon complications such as:

  • Kidney stones: Vitamin B-6 has subtle diuretic properties. 
  • Anemia 
  • Weight loss
  • Convulsions 
  • Insufficient growth 
  • Skin lesions 
  • Tooth cavities 
  • Water retention 
  • Epilepsy 
  • Death 

Vitamin B-6 deficiencies are frequently linked to various other medical issues, notably arthritis, cancer, artery disease, allergies and asthma. If you suspect that your dog might be suffering from a vitamin B-6 deficiency, notify your veterinarian as soon as possible. She may suggest ways in which you can naturally add vitamin B-6 to your pooch's diet.

Strong Dietary Sources

Meat, wheat germ and yeast are all strong sources of vitamin B-6. It exists in cereals and in dairy products, albeit very minimally. Examples of meat sources of the vitamin include:

  • Pork
  • Buffalo
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Goat
  • Lamb
  • Rabbit
  • Ostrich
  • Sardines
  • Haddock
  • Salmon
  • Halibut

Note that eggs are sources of the vitamin, too.

Some fruits contain Vitamin B-6, including watermelon, which is a great treat for dogs. Not only is it full of vitamin B-6, but it's also full of vitamins C and A. Other vitamin B-6 sources include:

  • Alfalfa
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Lima beans
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli 

Excessive Amounts of Vitamin B-6

Although insufficient amounts of vitamin B-6 in dogs can cause problems, so can the opposite -- excessive amounts. If a dog consumes more than 200 milligrams for each 2.2 pounds he weighs a day, he could become more susceptible to nerve damage. Chronic overdoses of this vitamin can also lead to muscle weakness and ataxia. The latter condition is characterized by problems with bodily movement control. Outside of overdose, the vitamin is believed to be overall safe for dogs. If you are worried that your dog may be consuming too much vitamin B-6 in his diet, ask your veterinarian.