vitamin b12 for dogs uses benefits

Vitamin B12 for Dogs: Uses & Benefits

Vitamin B12 for dogs is very important in the promotion of optimum canine nervous system functioning. It is also known as cobalamin and its principal effects are related to its ability to aid in the production or formation of myelin, the thin layer of tissue that wraps nerves in the brain. Aside from its clinical importance in brain functioning, cobalamin is also involved in the production of red blood cells as well as aid in cellular metabolism alongside other members of the B-vitamin family.

Uses of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 for dogs is primarily indicated in the prevention of Vitamin B12 deficiency. A deficiency in cobalamin can lead to irreversible damage to the different structures of the brain as well as the spinal cord. If the deficiency is not that significant, your dog may show lethargy or fatigue, pallor, depression, or lack of appetite. However, severe Vitamin B12 deficiencies in dogs can lead to gross motor abnormalities as well as problems in sensory perception. The condition can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.

use of vitamin b12

Vitamin B12 is also indicated in the following conditions.

Cobalamin Malabsorption

This is a breed-specific condition whereby the small intestines are unable to absorb Vitamin B12. Cobalamin malabsorption is often a result of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in dogs although it is not uncommon that other disorders of the small intestines can lead to the non-absorption of Vitamin B12 by the cells of the small intestines. Beagles, Border Collies, and Giant Schnauzers are particularly susceptible to cobalamin malabsorption.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

In EPI, the dog’s pancreas is not secreting the right amounts of Intrinsic Factor which is needed to facilitate the absorption of Vitamin B12 from the small intestines and into the bloodstream. With insufficient, if not totally absent, Intrinsic Factor vitamin B12 will not be absorbed, distributed, and utilized by the cells especially the nervous system cells of the brain and spinal cord. It is for this reason that Vitamin B12 is often necessary for dogs with EPI.

Benefits of Vitamin B12

The benefits of Vitamin B12 are directly related to its principal functions. Here are some of the most important benefits of Vitamin B12.

  • It aids in the management of vitamin B12 deficiencies by supplying the dog’s body with ample amounts of cobalamin necessary for optimum health and wellness of the dog.
  • It helps maintain normal functioning of the brain and spinal cord by allowing for the more efficient synthesis of myelin.
  • It helps increase red blood cell production which can help dogs have the energy they need to perform many of their physical activities on a daily basis.
  • Helps improve a dog’s appetite so that it is able to fulfill its nutritional requirements.

How Vitamin B12 Works

Vitamin B12 works by providing the body with the right amounts of cobalamin that it needs for optimum functioning especially of the brain and the rest of the nervous system.

how vitamin b12 works

Potential Side Effects

Cobalamin is a water-soluble vitamin. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins it doesn’t pose any significant threat of toxicity or serious side effects. The only problem will be pain at the injection site since this vitamin for dogs should only be administered via injections.

Things You Need to Know about Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is generally considered a supplement. However it can also be used as treatment for the management of Vitamin B12 deficiency. If the reason for its use is associated with malabsorption syndromes, then it can only be administered by injection. If the reason for its use is only as a nutrient supplement, then oral presentations can be given.

How is Vitamin B12 for Dogs Given?

Since one of the major causes of vitamin B12 deficiencies is malabsorption, vitamin B12 can only be given as an injectable solution. If vitamin B12 is to be given orally this will only go to waste since the small intestines of the dog simply doesn’t allow for the absorption of cobalamin. When Vitamin B12 is injected, the vitamin is readily absorbed by the blood and can get to work immediately.

If your dog doesn’t have any problems with cobalamin malabsorption or there is no vitamin B12 deficiency, you can give oral supplements available in 100-, 250-, 500-, 1000-, and 5000-microgram tablets.

Drug Interactions

Certain drugs are known to interact with Vitamin B12. It is best to check with your vet if your dog is taking medications or other supplements.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is important in many functions, but most especially brain and spinal cord functioning. It can be used both as a treatment for vitamin B12 deficiencies and as a supplement for optimum canine health.

You may also like our article on the best calming treats for dogs.


  1. Maureen Carroll, DVM, DACVIM, Cobalamin Deficiency, The MSPCA Angell
  2. Vitamin B12 Supplementation in Pets with EPI, PetMD
Dr. Travis McDermott

Dr. Travis McDermott is a small animal veterinarian that has been practicing for nearly 15 years in Las Vegas, NV. Dr. McDermott was born and raised in the great State of Texas and grew up on an emu farm raising chickens and pigs for 4H and FFA. He attended Texas A&M University for both undergraduate and DVM studies.After graduation in 2006, Dr. Travis McDermott started practicing at Tropicana Animal Hospital in Las Vegas, NV. In 2012, he took over as hospital director of Durango Animal Hospital – one of the largest veterinary hospitals in Las Vegas. Dr. McDermott treats dogs and cats as well pretty much any exotic animal that walks in the door. His interests include surgery, dental procedures, and ultrasound, but his main passion is endoscopy. Since becoming a veterinarian, Dr. McDermott has served as a board member and president/chair of both the Nevada Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association Political Action Committee and currently serves on the board of the Viticus Group (formerly Western Veterinary Conference).

  1. Dean Woehrle
    Oct 26, 2021

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  2. Cathie Lechliter
    Oct 22, 2021

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    Oct 19, 2021

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    Oct 16, 2021

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  5. Katie Kelly
    Jul 08, 2021

    *Hi, I am wondering how often do you recommend I give my dog 54lb Chow mix dog methyl b12 5000 mcg pill orally for back leg/spine issues? Daily or weekly? I look forward to your response.
    Thank you!
    ~Katie Kelly

  6. Angela Martin
    May 14, 2021

    Where can l buy B12 in injection form, in England? My vet can not supply but will give me a prescription for it!!

  7. Aug 08, 2020


  8. Sylvia Boronski
    May 27, 2019

    I have been using the injectable B-12 for many years, on many animals, thanks to 2 vets over the years that have ordered it for me and allowed me to give it.
    My horse’s rear leg lameness was helped for many years; it helped save 2 seven month old pups that were poisoned by giving energy and appetite; and, helps in recovery for severely debilitated animals that have found their way into my life.
    I, also, take higher doses orally when around people at work with colds, and also because I am veggitarian.

  9. Andrew
    May 12, 2019

    How much b12 can I give a puppy?

  10. Brenda
    Apr 30, 2019

    My dog had the vitamin b injection today, she seems to be gurgles and coughing a lot, is it a side effect from the injection, she has a collapsed trachea. Could be just that, unsure, thank you

  11. Apr 26, 2019

    There is no science that states vitamin B12 is only available via injections. Vitamin B 12 can be obtained orally. Dogs and cats are carnivorous animals and can obtain B Complex vitamins from eating real foods, real meat.

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Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.