Calcium. Potassium. Magnesium. Glucosamine. Electrolytes. Carbohydrates. Vitamins A, B, C, and Zed. Well, maybe not Zed, but when it comes to your dog’s nutrition, the information and various vitamins and minerals can feel a bit like an informational alphabet soup. Navigating these dietary waters, however murky, is an essential part of raising a happy, healthy dog with years of quality life and companionship ahead of them. One of the most important and misunderstood of the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain your dog’s health is good ole Vitamin D. In the correct doses, Vitamin D ensures your dog’s overall well-being, but can also quickly become dangerous if overused. Read on to discover everything you need to know about Vitamin D and your precious pooch
The Importance of Vitamin D for You and Your Dog
As with most vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, Vitamin D plays an essential role in some very specific processes in your dog’s growth and development. Vitamin D is important to bone development through its ability to allow your dog’s body to properly metabolize, absorb and utilize calcium. In addition, emerging studies are showing a direct connection between immune health and sufficient levels of dietary Vitamin D. These two functions alone account for both your puppy growing into a healthy adult dog and for maintaining that health once they’ve reached maturity.
Ensuring Your Dog Receives Adequate Vitamin D
In humans, Vitamin D can be derived from both dietary sources and from exposure to the sun. Some people with certain conditions or in areas of the world where sunlight is limited must supplement with vitamin D or be sure to consume higher quantities of foods rich in the nutrient. Dogs, however, are not able to produce Vitamin D via skin exposure to the sun. They are, therefore, limited to food sources of Vitamin D making a healthy and balanced diet even more important.
Many commercially available dog foods are fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients. It’s important to pay attention to packaged dog food labels to ensure you’re buying a complete diet for man’s best friend. Fresh pre-packaged, raw, and homemade diets are also good alternative sources of nutrition for Fido. Many times, nutrients will be degraded as a result of the cooking and extruding process that goes into making commercial dog food. A well-researched homemade diet for your dog can be a great alternative to ensure they receive everything they need in their daily meals.
Using Caution to Avoid Vitamin D Toxicity
Finally, a word of warning when it comes to Vitamin D. Pet owners should use caution when supplementing their dog’s diet with Vitamin D. While your pooch would have to eat a great deal of natural food in order to create a problem, adding in supplemental Vitamin D could potentially lead to toxicity. Too much Vitamin D can lead to a calcium imbalance in your dog’s system. This, in turn, can lead to heart, liver, kidney and other issues. Vitamin D toxicity is fairly rare, but if you’re concerned your dog may be taking in too much of this nutrient you should seek veterinary assistance.