Vitamin D Deficiency in Dogs
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for dogs, which means it must be part of their diet in order for your dog to maintain optimal health. Muscles and nerves require vitamin D for proper function because it helps regulate calcium and phosphorus absorption. Vitamin D’s role in calcium absorption is also essential to the health of the dog’s bones. The most important muscle in the body is the heart insufficient Vitamin D levels can lead to congestive heart failure. If a dog does not get enough Vitamin D in their diet they have an increased risk of complications due to heart disease and suffer from a bone disorders such as osteomalacia and rickets. New research is also showing that low levels of Vitamin D are linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Many animals can synthesize Vitamin D themselves with the help of exposure to sunlight, but dogs are not very efficient at this process and benefit from dietary Vitamin D. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends that adult dog food provide 500 IU of Vitamin D per kilogram of food. The most common sources of Vitamin D are liver, fish and egg yolks, but it can be found in beef and dairy too. Be careful to not give too much Vitamin D because it is a fat-soluble vitamin that can lead to toxicity if you over dose. Providing your dog with a healthy multi-vitamin is a great way to ensure that your dog is receiving all of the vitamins they need in appropriately balanced levels.