What are some good sources of Vitamin D in dog food?
If your dog is on a commercial dog food that meets the AAFCO standards, then the foods are already well supplemented with vitamin D. At one time, it wasn’t unusual for see vitamin D deficiencies in dogs that ate commercial food—but now that’s a thing of the past since the dog foods are fortified.
Vitamin D is also naturally present in some foods, such as eggs, mackerel, salmon, herring and cod liver oil. Some people use cod liver oil for their dog’s skin and coat or for the Omega 3s so, if you already use it, she’s also getting it from that source.
Vitamin D is sun-synthesized which means the dog can also get it naturally outside—10 to 15 minutes three times a week does it. Dogs can manufacturer vitamin in their bodies, but if your dog does needs more vitamin D—and never, ever do this without first consulting with a veterinarian– she can be given a basic vitamin D tablet or one containing fish liver oil.
Vitamin D is necessary for normal development and for healthy teeth and bones. It promotes the absorption of calcium and aids in maintaining adequate blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
Deficiency includes bone malformations (rickets) characterized by bowing of the legs, thickening of the joints, and an increased incidence of fractures. It has even been linked to some heart and circulation problems.
Just as much of a concern is toxicity. Vitamin D is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins (A, K, D, E) which means it cannot be excreted like the water-soluble ones. Therefore, it’s just keeps building up. Excessive vitamin D can result in increased calcium absorption from the intestines. This means it gets reabsorbed and that leads to elevated levels of calcium in the blood and it can end up in places the heart, kidney and lungs.