Is Your Dog Getting Enough Vitamin D?
Did you know that dogs with low levels of vitamin D are at risk of getting bone cancer? Ensuring your dog gets enough vitamin D not only benefits the bones, but it also helps in boosting the dog’s immune system. The secret is in getting the right balance of vitamin D for dogs.
Researchers took a study to discover the levels of vitamin D in a dog’s blood. Out of 320 dogs tested in that project, about 75% turned out to have low levels of vitamin D.
What does that say about your dog?
It is possible that your dog does not have enough vitamin D in his blood. Vitamin D deficiency can trigger severe illnesses in a dog, some of which can lead to death. So it is important that your dog receives as much vitamin D as possible from its daily diet.
But we cannot trust pet food to have enough vitamin D for dogs.
Pet food Companies rely on bulk production to meet their sales targets. Raw dog food loses most of its nutrients when it is commercially processed. And that is one problem.
There is also a possibility that locally bought kibble has high levels of vitamin D for dogs. This should boost your dog’s vitamin D levels, right? Not in the least, too much vitamin D is toxic to dogs and can even lead to death.
Importance of vitamin D for dogs
Vitamin D in dogs handles a lot of physiological processes in your pup. The vitamin helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus into the body. These two minerals are responsible for the formation of strong bones and a healthy skeletal structure in your dog.
Vitamin D helps boost a dog’s immune system. Dogs with enough levels of vitamin D rarely fall sick. So if you ever want your dog to do fewer visits to the vet, get the vitamin D balance right in its food.
Vitamin D Deficiency in Dogs
Vitamin D exists in two forms; vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. Both humans and animals get Vitamin D2 directly from food. We draw Vitamin D3 from the sun which we absorb into the skin.
Dogs have a thick coat which prevents them from processing vitamin D3 from the sun. This means they can only get both forms of vitamins from the foods they eat. So if the food they eat does not contain the required amounts of vitamin D, it catalyzes a series of health issues.
Vitamin D deficiency in dogs leads to poor absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Reduced calcium and phosphorus levels lead to low bone density and poor skeletal formation. Since your dog is not able to absorb or retain calcium, it will be at risk of bone cancer.
Low levels of vitamin D in dogs also affect a dog’s immune system. A weak immune system exposes your dog to all sorts of diseases. Remember your dog will never let you know if it is feeling under the weather. Since summer is here, your dog may be vulnerable to the sniffles and other diseases.
Increased Vitamin D in Dogs (Hypercalcemia)
While you aim to raise the levels of vitamin D in dogs, you also do not want to overdo it. High levels of vitamin D or hypercalcemia can cause major health issues in your dog.
Too much vitamin D in a dog’s blood causes body tissues to harden. The first organs affected are the kidneys. Symptoms of kidney failure in dogs include lethargy, constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. As your dog’s appetite reduces, it will rapidly lose weight leading to anorexia. It only takes a few days for the kidneys to harden after which the dog’s life is at risk.
You also have to be aware of the vitamin D content in locally sold dog food. Some pet food brands have high amounts of vitamin D which is dangerous for your dog’s health. Always check the product’s packaging label to see how much vitamin D content is in it.
So what is the right amount of Vitamin D for dogs?
Nutritionists affirm that there should be about 500IU of vitamin D per kilogram of pet food. For larger or older dogs, the amount can go up to 1000 IU per kg of dog food. If your dog is getting vitamin D in the amounts of 500-1000 IU, you will never worry about the furry fellow every getting sick.
One problem though, not everyone is a fan of metrics. We may not always get the measurements right especially when the days get busier for us. Fortunately, you only need to know the right sources for vitamin D for your dog.
If you do not trust store-bought pet food, you can always rely on raw dog food for your dog’s rich source of vitamin D. Ensure you are getting the concentration of calcium and phosphorus in the pet’s food. Your dog will never suffer vitamin D deficiency in its life.
If accessing fresh raw dog food is a challenge, then stick to store-bought kibble with the right vitamin D content. Consider the age and size of your dog to determine how much vitamin D content they need in their food. Younger dogs like puppies will need a high amount of vitamin D, say 1500IU per pound of food, to develop healthy bones. Mature dogs need about 500IU of vitamin D while older dogs will need more to keep their bone mineral density at a healthy level.
Another great idea to reinforce your dog’s meals with vitamin D for dogs supplements. It is possible to add vitamin D supplements in your dog’s drinking water or food by using products like Bullyade. Besides vitamin D, your dog also benefits from other vital vitamins like A, B1, B12, and B6.
Vitamin D for your Dog This Summer
It is still a good idea to get your dog out this summer. Even though his coat is not designed to synthesize vitamin D, he still gets to enjoy the warm sun with his favorite human. Ensure he supplements his vitamin with a healthy diet and electrolyte-added drinking water.