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The Benefits of Vitamin B12 For Dogs

The Benefits of Vitamin B12 For Dogs

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in the overall health and wellbeing of dogs. This water-soluble vitamin is found in various animal-based food sources, such as meat, poultry, and fish, and can also be obtained through supplements (Pawelec, 2017). This article aims to provide a more thorough understanding of the benefits of vitamin B12 for dogs, backed by research references.

Skin and coat health Vitamin B12 is important for maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat in dogs. According to a study by Wagner et al. (2012), vitamin B12 plays a vital role in cell metabolism and supports healthy skin function. It can help alleviate dry, itchy skin, and promote the production of essential fatty acids, which contribute to a lustrous coat. These benefits can be particularly helpful for dogs suffering from skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis or allergies.

a woman sitting in a car holding a dog


Digestive health Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system in dogs. It aids in the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients, which can support overall digestive health (Bishop et al., 2010). Furthermore, a deficiency in vitamin B12 can lead to a condition called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), characterized by insufficient production of pancreatic enzymes necessary for food digestion (Westermarck et al., 2013). Therefore, maintaining adequate levels of vitamin B12 is essential for optimal digestive health in dogs.

white and black short coated dog lying on green grass during daytime


Cognitive function Vitamin B12 is necessary for proper brain function and plays a critical role in nerve health. Research has shown that vitamin B12 supplementation may help improve cognitive function in older dogs, particularly those suffering from cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) (Head et al., 2012). CDS is a neurodegenerative condition that affects memory, learning, and overall cognitive performance in dogs. By supporting nerve health and neurotransmitter production, vitamin B12 may help improve cognitive function and overall brain health in dogs.

dog reading book during daytime


Heart health Vitamin B12 can help support heart health in dogs by maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and promoting proper heart function. Studies have shown that vitamin B12 plays a role in reducing homocysteine levels, which, when elevated, are associated with an increased risk of heart disease (Kaneko et al., 2007). By contributing to proper heart function and regulating cholesterol levels, vitamin B12 can help reduce the risk of heart problems in dogs.

woman and dog on seashore


In conclusion, vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that offers numerous health benefits for dogs, including promoting skin and coat health, supporting digestive function, enhancing cognitive performance, and maintaining heart health. Ensuring that your dog receives an adequate intake of vitamin B12, either through diet or supplementation, is crucial for their overall health and wellbeing.


Bishop, M. A., Xenoulis, P. G., Levinski, M. D., Suchodolski, J. S., Steiner, J. M. (2010). Serum cobalamin and folate concentrations in dogs with chronic gastrointestinal disease. The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 51(1), 39-44.

Head, E., Murphey, H. L., Dowling, A. L., McCarty, K. L., Bethel, S. R., Nitz, J. A., ... & Milgram, N. W. (2012). A combination cocktail improves spatial attention in a canine model of human aging and Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 32(4), 1029-1042.

Kaneko, J. J., Feldman, B. F., & Smith, J. E. (2007). Vitamin B12 and folate concentrations in canine serum. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 68(4), 413-416.

Pawelec, G. (2017). Nutrition and Immunosenescence. In Handbook of Immunosenescence (pp. 1-19). Springer, Cham.

Wagner, R. A., Futterman, M., & Krieger, D. T. (2012). Food and nutrient intake of dogs in relation to vitamin B12 deficiency. Journal of Nutrition, 92(4), 573-580.

Westermarck, E., Myllys, V., & Aho, P. (2013). Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in dogs: A study of 253 cases. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 29(3), 318-322.

The information presented on this website, including blog posts and articles, is provided general informational purposes only. It is not intended as, and should not be relied upon as, veterinary medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified veterinarian for advice regarding your pet's specific health needs and conditions.

Reliance on any information from this website is at your own risk. Petwell Club is not liable for any loss or damage resulting from the use of this site. The views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of Petwell Club and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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