Vitamin D for dogs? YES, dogs do need vitamin D. Too little or too much could be a problem just as in humans. In this article we learn the importance of vitamin D for dogs, vitamin D toxicity or poisoning and what to do if your dog experiences that.
Pharmacies and supermarket stores are stocked with human vitamins. Given all of our alternatives, it makes sense to question whether dog vitamins are a good option for our pets as well. If you take vitamins or supplements, like four out of every five individuals in the United States, you might be wondering if they’re also beneficial for your “furry family member”.
Vitamin D for Dogs
The “sunshine vitamin” or vitamin D helps your dog’s body balance minerals like calcium and phosphorus for strong bone growth. Your dog wouldn’t be able to grow or keep healthy muscles and bones without it properly.
But very high vitamin D levels might be harmful to your dog’s health. Because vitamin D is fat-soluble rather than water-soluble, when a dog or other animal consumes too much, the excess does not quickly pass via the urine. Instead, it is kept in the liver and fat cells. Vitamin D overdose can cause renal failure and possibly death.
Dogs do, to a lesser extent than humans or many other mammals, convert some sunlight to vitamin D.
Therefore your dog’s diet should provide the bulk of the vitamin D they need. Dogs have evolved to largely obtain their vitamin D from meat because they are predominantly carnivores (though they can eat plant materials).
Fish, steak, eggs, dairy products, and liver are all excellent sources of vitamin D for dogs.
Causes of vitamin D Toxicity in dogs
Too much vitamin D in pet food can cause vitamin D toxicity in dogs. Additionally, it might happen if a family member’s vitamin D supplements are unintentionally ingested by a dog.
Another frequent way for dogs to become toxic to vitamin D is through unintentional consumption of substances known as cholecalciferol rodenticides, which are used to kill rodents like rats and mice. In chemistry, vitamin D3 is known as cholecalciferol.
Toxicity of vitamin D in dogs can cause them to lose weight, slobber excessively, have little appetite, drink and urinate more, and/or vomit.
Diet-related toxicity typically manifests itself more gradually over time, depending on the amount of vitamin D present in the meal.
The symptoms of vitamin D toxicity from rodenticides or supplements usually appear within hours or days of exposure.
For the diagnosis of vitamin D poisoning, consult a veterinarian. He or she will analyze your dog’s symptoms, inquire about the food your dog consumes and potential messes your dog may have made.
If necessary, they may also draw blood to check the levels of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, or they may collect urine to check the kidneys. A veterinarian will decide the best course of action after doing an examination and analyzing the findings.
The course of treatment will vary on how each case is evaluated by a veterinarian, but the main goals will be to:
- cease providing recalled dog food,
- stop the source of vitamin D exposure,
- and purge the body of any extra vitamin D.
Early detection of less severe vitamin D poisoning may allow the veterinarian to decide whether a change in food will help the condition resolve within a few weeks to months or whether medication is necessary.
Until they reach a healthy baseline, a veterinarian may additionally keep track of blood calcium and phosphorus levels.
The bottom line
Contact a vet right away if your dog exhibits symptoms of vitamin D poisoning, such as:
- loss of appetite, increased thirst and urination,
- excessive drooling,
- and/or weight loss.
Give your veterinarian a thorough account of your pet’s diet, including the food you (or other family members) give him as well as any additional food or objects he may have ingested. Taking a photo of the pet food label, including the lot number, may be useful.
Knowing the lot code assists the FDA in pinpointing the precise time the contamination happened and any more items that might have been impacted if your veterinarian feels the meal is the cause of excessive vitamin D.