Riboflavin in Dog Food

Riboflavin is one of the Vitamins that AAFCO has recognized as essential for dogs following NRC’s 2006 research.

What is Riboflavin?

Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B-Complex vitamins. It’s also known as vitamin B2. Water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored in the dog’s body as fat-soluble peers such as A, D, E and K can. This means that dogs need a regular dietary intake of riboflavin to maintain their health.

Complex vitamins are so called because they are generally found together in nature. The B-Complex vitamins work together and therefore supplementing with one often means that your dog will need more of the others too.

Types of Riboflavin:

Riboflavin is available in two main forms, the bioavailable flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and the less bioavailable flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD).

When food is processed from its raw form, riboflavin gets lost. For example, when flour is milled, up to 80% of its riboflavin is lost in the process.

This means that even if a food contains riboflavin, it may not have enough left to meet your dog’s needs.

Pet food manufacturers add back this Vitamin after processing and there are two main types that you’ll see on the labels;

  • Crystalline Riboflavin: This is a synthetic or man-made form of the vitamin.
  • Riboflavin Supplement: This is the natural form of riboflavin and is found in yeast.Your dog’s body can make use of either form, but the Supplement form is thought to be better absorbed.

Food Sources of Riboflavin:

Riboflavin is found in meat, milk, eggs, and green leafy vegetables. It’s also added to many processed foods such as cereals and flour.

Below is a complete list of sources of Vitamin B

  • Organ meats such as liver and kidney.
  • Eggs.
  • Cheese.
  • Yogurt.
  • Milk.
  • Lean beef.
  • Chicken.
  • Fish.

What Does Riboflavin Do for Dogs?

Riboflavin is necessary for energy metabolism and helps the body to break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It also helps to convert vitamin B6 and folate into their active forms, which the body needs for metabolism. In addition, riboflavin is necessary for red blood cell production and plays a role in the immune system.

This Mount Sinai blog discusses further its role in assisting the body to metabolize fats and proteins.

Benefits of Vitamin B:

Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is one of the eight vitamins in the B complex. The B complex vitamins are important for many different functions in the body including;

  1. Cell growth and reproduction.
  2. Energy production.
  3. Metabolism of fats and proteins.
  4. Proper functioning of the nervous system.
  5. Riboflavin is also necessary for the conversion of vitamin B6 and folate into their active forms, which the body needs for metabolism.

How will I know my dog is deficient of Vitamin B?

Signs of a riboflavin deficiency in dogs are rare because this vitamin is found in most dog foods. However, if your dog is not eating a balanced diet or is on a long-term course of antibiotics, he may become deficient.

A riboflavin deficiency can cause problems with the skin, hair coat and nails. The dog may have a scaly skin, dull hair, and brittle nails. In severe cases, there may be corneal ulceration and blindness.

If you think your dog may be deficient in riboflavin, please consult your veterinarian.

Research on Roboflavin for Dogs:

  1. Assists in reducing pet weight slowly: A study published in 2013 showed that when dogs were given riboflavin, they had a reduced rate of weight regain after being spayed or neutered.

How much Riboflavin does my dog need?

The amount of riboflavin your dog needs will depend on his age, activity level and overall health. Puppies, growing dogs

AAFCO recommends feeding dogs of all stages a dosage equivalent to 5.2mg per kg of dog’s body or 1.3 mg of thiamine per 1000 calories for all life stages – growth, reproduction, and adult maintenance.

Is Roboflavin safe for dogs?

Yes. There is no known toxicity for riboflavin in dogs. In fact, AAFCO does not set an upper limit on how much of Vitamin B you can feed your dog.

FDA approved Roboflavin under GRAS notification meaning “Generally Recognized As Safe” for use in animal food as per this Code of Federal Regulation.