Non-Energy Producing Nutrients


Even though they are not energy producing, vitamins, minerals and water are extremely important to pets. Everyone knows or at least has heard the important roles water plays: maintains body temperature; helps metabolize body fat; aids in digestion; lubricates and cushions vital organs; transports nutrients; and flushes toxins from the body. But do you know the different types of vitamins and minerals your pet needs? As well as the roles they play in supporting your pet’s life?


Essential for normal growth and development Do not provide energy but do help with the release of energy Cannot be made by the body, they must be obtained through the diet.
Help boost immune system.
Vitamins are divided into two groups: Fat Soluble and Water Soluble

Fat Soluble Vitamins

  • Vitamin A, D, E, and K
  • Must work in conjunction with fats in order to be used by the body.


Vitamin A

  • Helps maintain the skin and the mucus membranes
  • Helps support vision and growth
  • Important in reproduction
  • Tooth development
  • Found in liver, fish oils and dark yellow/orange plants
  • Gives the egg yolk the yellow color


Vitamin D

  • Increases the amount of calcium and phosphorus absorbed from the intestines
  • Regulates the use of calcium
  • Helps move calcium out of the bones to other needed places
  • Helps keep phosphorus within the kidneys
  • Found in: marine fish, fish oils, egg yolks, beef, and liver


Vitamin E

  • Used as an antioxidant in pet foods
  • Highest concentrations found in green leaves
  • Found in vegetable oils and grains


Vitamin K

  • VERY essential in a pet’s ability to produce and use clotting factors
  • Found in leafy green plants
  • Can be made by the bacteria that live in the large intestines
  • Can also be synthetic

Water Soluble Vitamins

  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, B12, Choline, and C
  • Needs a regular intake of water in order for the body to use


Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12

  • All of these vitamins are used by the body in metabolizing proteins, fats and carbohydrates
  • They can be found in a number of places: whole grains, organ meat, fish, egg yolks, brewers yeast, leafy greens, oilseeds, and some nuts


Vitamin B9

  • Helps in the formation of amino acids and DNA
  • Found in organ meat, egg yolks, leafy greens, and also be formed by the bacteria in the intestines



  • Not a true vitamin but acts as one in the body
  • A very important part of the cell wall structure
  • Found in egg yolks, organ meats, legumes, and whole grains


Vitamin C

  • Functions as an antioxidant
  • The body of most pets (expect guinea pigs) can make vitamin C
  • Guinea pigs must be supplemented


Required by all living organisms to maintain optimal health.• Essential for metabolic processes.
Help maintain digestive liquids and fluids that surround cells.
Minerals that are meat origin are more easily digested than minerals that are plant origin
Minerals are divided into three main classes: Macrominerals, microminerals, and trace elements (we will only cover the first two)



  • Most abundant mineral in the body
  • Gives the structural support to the skeleton (99% of the body’s calcium is found there)
  • For optimal bone growth diets must have a balanced ratio of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium
  • The easiest form of calcium that they body can absorb is in bone meal



  • Second most abundant mineral in the body
  • Acts in ratio with calcium in bone structure
  • Also helps with the formation of RNA and DNA and cell membranes
  • High concentrations are found in meats and eggs



  • Third most abundant mineral in the body
  • Helps metabolize carbohydrates
  • Found in bone meal, oilseeds and fibers


Sodium and Chloride

  • MAJOR electrolytes in the body
  • Play a role in maintaining osmotic pressure, regulating acids, transmitting nerve impulses and in muscle contractions



  • Helps in the transportation of oxygen through out the body
  • Found in organ meat, beet pulp, soymill run and peanut hulls



  • Plays a very important role in the metabolizing energy producing nutrients
  • Helps support healthy immune function and skin
  • Found in meats and fiber



  • Aids in the absorption of iron and the formation of some amino acids
  • Stored in the liver



  • Works together with vitamin E to help protect cells from damage
  • Not as important for dogs and cats as it is for grazing animals



  • Very important in helping the thyroid glands produce the normal amount of thyroid hormone
  • Found in fish, eggs and iodized salts

One last “take home” note is that all animals require nutrients NOT ingredients.