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What is Calcium Supplements Poisoning?

Cases of calcium supplements poisoning most often result when a canine family member discovers a supply of human calcium chews. As palatable to dogs as they are to people, our pets can ingest a large number of these chews, wrappers and all which can result in a case of toxicity. Vitamin D3 is usually included in supplements because it aids in the absorption of the calcium, allowing for the body to increase stores. Excessive amounts can cause symptoms like vomiting, gastrointestinal irritation, and thirst. Pets who have existing kidney issues, as well as young dogs, are more at risk of toxicity from eating calcium supplement chews. Some pet owners also choose to supplement their pet’s diet with calcium; this is generally not necessary if proper food is the mainstay of the diet. Care must be taken to not overdose a pet in this way as well.

Calcium supplement poisoning in dogs can occur when a canine ingests a large amount of this product; for example, in the form of non-prescription calcium chews taken by people as an aid to boost their calcium. Toxicity from the consumption of excessive amounts of Vitamin D3, as well as elevated blood calcium levels, can result.

Calcium Supplements Poisoning Average Cost

From 57 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Calcium Supplements Poisoning in Dogs

Calcium supplements poisoning can result in effects as serious as kidney failure. Other dogs will experience a mild stomach upset. The level of toxicity will depend on the age and size of the dog (in comparison to the amount ingested), as well as the state of the kidneys at time of exposure.

Ingestion of chews

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Hypercalcemia

  • Blood in the urine
  • Blood in the stool
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Tremors
  • Rapid breathing
  • Collapse

Vitamin D Toxicity

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness

Types

Calcium supplements can lead to toxicity if too much of the chews are eaten. The brand most pet owners may be aware of is Caltrate; other brands are Viactiv and Nature Made. Some products with added calcium and Vitamin D which could also be palatable to your dog are Tums tablets and Citracal gummies.

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Causes of Calcium Supplements Poisoning in Dogs

  • Calcium absorbed in the chewable supplements is increased when Vitamin D3 is added
  • Chews and other forms of supplementation can contain both vitamins D and K
  • Pet owners who feel calcium addition is needed must speak to their veterinary caregiver for advice and verification of the need
  • Calcium chews are often chocolate flavored; chocolate can be poisonous though most chews contain only enough chocolate to make your dog very sick
  • Excessive calcium causes electrolyte changes
  • The blood may have high calcium levels
  • Kidney damage can be acute but can lead to chronic kidney disease
  • Puppies and dogs with previous or concurrent kidney issues will be predisposed to poisoning
  • The heart and gastrointestinal tract can be affected
  • Vitamin D3 is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract increasing serum calcium levels and the kidney cannot eliminate or regulate it
  • If a dog eats a lot of calcium chew wrappers there is a chance of obstruction
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Diagnosis of Calcium Supplements Poisoning in Dogs

If you suspect that your pet has consumed a large number of your calcium supplement chews or tablets, or if you have been adding supplements to his diet and notice that he is drinking excessively, is lethargic, or seems depressed, these signs along with other behavioral changes indicate that your dog should be seen by the veterinarian. If you have the calcium supplement packaging available bring it along to the clinic as the more information provided to the veterinary team, the better.

Clinical signs like frequent urination, information provided by you as to your pet’s history (previous illnesses, current medications, or knowledge of intake of supplements), and a physical examination will all add to the quick diagnosis by the veterinarian. Blood tests such as serum chemistry may reveal elevations in the blood of BUN (blood urea nitrogen), calcium, and phosphorous. Kidney function can also be evaluated by blood tests like complete blood count (to look for anemia) as well as urinalysis to verify the urine concentration.

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Treatment of Calcium Supplements Poisoning in Dogs

The treatment steps will be contingent on the severity of the toxicosis. What type of supplements were eaten, how much extra vitamin D3 and K are contained in the tablets, chews, or powder, and the severity of the signs will all be determining factors in the steps the veterinary team will take to treat your canine companion. If the signs of toxicity are relatively mild, blood tests are within normal ranges, and your dog appears stable, he may be sent home with instructions for you to monitor him for changes in behavior or health condition.

In more severe cases of poisoning, such as in the case of hypercalcemia or kidney trouble, the veterinarian may need to commence more intensive treatment. The veterinary team may induce vomiting (which could bring up chew wrappers) or perform gastric lavage to flush out the stomach. Fluid therapy via intravenous could be needed; this may also include medications to promote a bowel movement, increase urine production, ease nausea, and stabilize blood calcium levels. Blood markers, electrolyte levels, and kidney and liver function will be monitored because all must be normal before your pet can be released from the hospital.

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Recovery of Calcium Supplements Poisoning in Dogs

Most simple cases of calcium supplement ingestion will end in a positive way as long as the situation was treated as needed. If the poisoning resulted in kidney damage, the prognosis will depend on the extent of the damage and your dog’s response to the treatment. When you bring your furry family member home, keep an eye on him and provide a restful place for him to sleep. Keep food, supplements, medications, and household products out of reach of children and pets.

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Calcium Supplements Poisoning Average Cost

From 57 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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Calcium Supplements Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Yorkshire Terrier

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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None Right Now

She is not showing any symptoms but VERY WORRIED since she is about 6 pounds and ate just one Vitafusion Calcium gummy and one Vitafusion B-12 gummy.

July 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Vitamin B is not a fat soluble vitamin, and she should urinate any excess out. Calcium can be toxic at excess levels, however. Since she is so small and I do not know the amount of Calcium in the gummy, it would be best to contact your veterinarian or a Pet Poison Hotline, and give them her weight and the amount of Calcium in the chew. They will be able to tell you if you need to worry or what actions may need to be taken.

July 20, 2020

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Dachshund

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13 Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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25lb dog ate 3500mg of calcium and 3500 mg of vitamin d3 chewable. Should we take her to the vet. She has a history of kidney stones

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I would recommend heading to the veterinarian immediately. I would also recommend calling poison pet helpline on your way to the veterinarian at 855-764-7661. They will be able to tell you based on the amount ingested how toxic it is and will be able to make up a treatment plan for your veterinarian so that they can monitor your pet. I hope she feels better soon.

July 15, 2020

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Maddie

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Chocolate labrador

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5 Years

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Fair severity

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3 found helpful

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My lab (80lbs) ate 40 multivitamin gummies which have a total of 16,000 iu vitamin D cholecalciferol and also 1600 mg calcium as tricalcium phosphate in total. She’s not experiencing any symptoms and has no known health issues. She’s 5 or 6 yrs old. She got into the vita fusion simply good multivitamin gummies about 3 hours ago. Should I be worried?

May 30, 2018

Maddie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Dogs typically have toxic effects from Vitamin D if they eat more than 4000 IU per kg. Maddie weighs 36 kg, so a toxic dosage for her would be about 140,000 IU. It would be wise, however, to keep an eye on her for any vomiting, diarrhea, or increased urination or drinking, and have her seen right away if any of those things occur.

May 30, 2018

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Fletcher

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Mixed

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7 Years

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Fair severity

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My 7ish year old beagle mix ate a 250 mg calcium chew. It contains 500 IU of vitamin D and 125 mg of phosphorus. Is he in any danger? He is a relatively healthy dog other than having allergies.

May 20, 2018

Fletcher's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

WIthout knowing the weight of Fletcher, unfortunately. I can calculate that 500 IU of Vitamin D (that is the real concern in this situation) is 0.0125 mg, and the toxic dose for a 10 pound dog would be 0.5 mg. He is probably okay, but it would be best to monitor him for any signs of lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting or diarrhea and have him seen immediately if he starts showing any of those signs.

May 20, 2018

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Pickles

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Silky Terrier

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3 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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None

My dog pickles ate about 40 Viactiv calcium chews plus vitamins D and K. He seems completely fine at the moment and he probably did it a few hours ago. Since he isn’t showing any symptoms should I be worried and take him to the vet or should I just wait and watch him?

April 1, 2018

Pickles' Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There is not just a risk of toxicity from calcium, but with the high levels of vitamin D and the milk chocolate or dark chocolate flavor there are other possible risks of poisoning. I would recommend that you visit your Veterinarian or an Emergency Veterinarian as the effects of poisoning may be delayed and it is too late to induce vomiting at this time; also Silky Terriers are not heavy dogs so the amount consumed per kg or per lb is potentially toxic. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://viactiv.com/

April 2, 2018

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Rosa

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Rottweiler

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8 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

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None

Our 8.5 month old Rottweiler may(?) have ingested some soluble vitamin C & multivitamin tablets. I came home to find them on the rug but can’t be sure if she had any or if she did how much. With her curiosity I imagine she would have at least tried one! They do not contain any D or K vitamins. Majority made up of B & C vitamins. They have calcium and zinc in them. Should I be worried? She is currently (7 hours later) acting completely normal and is alert. Per tablet: Vitamin C 476mg B1 10.4mg B2 13.6mg Niacin 45.3mg B6 7.1mg Folic acid 200ug B12 8.6ug Biotin 130ug Pantohenic acid 22.7mg Calcium 120mg Magnesium 95mg Zinc 9mg

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Anna

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Basset mix

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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My dog ate 7 calcium chews. They are 500 mg with 800 iu of vitamin D. She weighs about 45 pounds. She’s not experiencing any symptoms at this time but does she need to be seen?

Calcium Supplements Poisoning Average Cost

From 57 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800