Will Vitamin D Hurt Dogs

Dogs require vitamin D as a vital ingredient to maintain calcium and phosphorus balance and retention. But very high vitamin D levels might be harmful to your health. Because vitamin D is fat-soluble rather than water-soluble, when a dog or other animal consumes too much, the excess is not quickly eliminated in the urine. Instead, it is kept in the liver and fat cells. Vitamin D overdose can cause renal failure and possibly death.

How much vitamin D might be harmful to dogs?

Dogs’ liver and fat serve as stores for vitamin D. They cannot eliminate extra amounts in their pee since it is not water soluble.

Vitamin D poisoning can be brought on by as low as 0.1 mg/kg of the vitamin. This equates to 0.45 milligrams for every 10 pounds of body weight. The lethal dose is around 2 mg/kg, or 9 mg in a dog weighing 10 pounds.

Dog Food With Too Much Vitamin D

It was once believed by some experts that commercial dog food was deficient in vitamin D. However, when it was discovered that their diets contained an excessive amount of Vitamin D, numerous kinds of dog food underwent voluntary recalls. Thankfully, the majority of reliable commercial dog food manufacturers test their products for the right amounts.

Getting Into Vitamin D Supplements

Some dogs enjoy snooping around in anything and everything they can. The majority of the time, when a dog discovers vitamin D tablets, the owner unintentionally put them within reach. Your dog might easily consume enough vitamin D from your supplements and drugs to result in toxicosis.

Ingesting Rat Poison With Cholecalciferol

There are many different kinds of rodenticides available, and they are all dangerous to dogs. It’s not uncommon for dogs to find and consume rat poison since it tastes delicious to them.

Can I feed human vitamin D to my dog?

We are residing in peculiar times. A greater number of individuals have never been urged to “stay home” for such an extended period of time. The major drawbacks of spending so much time indoors, such as the mental, physical, and social ones, are frequently highlighted. Recent news stories have made us aware of a less evident negative impact of lockdown: vitamin D deficiency. Health professionals worry that a lack of exposure to sunlight is causing a large number of people to become deficient in this essential vitamin. They advise certain populations to take vitamin D tablets to top up because Britain doesn’t get much sun, even in the best of weather. Naturally, as an animal-loving society, concerns have been raised about whether our canine companions, who may also spend more time indoors than usual, should also receive vitamin D pills. Therefore, we shall address the query “Do dogs need vitamin D supplements?” today.

What Even Is Vitamin D?

I should probably clarify what vitamin D is. Let’s start with why it’s truly significant, so get ready for a brief biology lecture! A chemical called vitamin D has a variety of affects on the bodies of mammals, including ourselves and our pets. This section will refer to vitamin D in humans, but practically all animals, including dogs, share a similar biochemistry.

Maintaining “calcium homeostasis,” or normal calcium levels, is vitamin D’s major goal. The mineral calcium is crucial for healthy bones and muscles. Additionally, it is employed in the contraction of muscles, cell communication, and the clotting of blood in the event of an injury. Vitamin D is essential to maintain calcium homeostasis since too much or too little calcium can be harmful.

The process by which vitamin D accomplishes this is actually rather intricate and includes numerous organs. Either through eating or skin contact, the inactive form of vitamin D enters our bodies (more on this later). It has no impact while it is idle. The parathyroid glands, an organ in our necks, are responsible for measuring the blood calcium levels. It releases a hormone known as parathyroid hormone if it determines that the calcium level is too low. This hormone affects the kidneys and liver. They are instructed to change inactive vitamin D into active vitamin D3 in this (calcitriol). Our intestines absorb more calcium when vitamin D3 is active, and our kidneys excrete less calcium as a result. In other words, vitamin D acts to raise calcium levels back to healthy levels when they are low.

Other secondary functions of vitamin D include phosphorus homeostasis (another essential component of bones), bone remodeling following injury or exercise, dental health, immune system control, eyesight, and muscular growth. We can safely say that vitamin D is a crucial chemical for both healthy humans and canines!

Dogs and Vitamin D

We’ve already discussed that our skin is a source of vitamin D. The ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is what makes things work. It is absorbed via a skin-based precursor to vitamin D, turning it into inactive vitamin D. It can then be processed into active vitamin D3 in the liver and kidneys. This explains why the consequences of reduced sunlight during the lockdown have received a lot of attention recently. We might not be creating enough vitamin D to satisfy our bodies’ needs if not enough sunlight reaches our skin. But does this apply to dogs?

Dogs do, in fact, convert some sunlight to vitamin D, but they are not very effective at it, unlike humans and many other mammals. The majority of a dog’s (and cat’s) vitamin D needs ought to be met by diet. Dogs have evolved to predominantly obtain their dietary vitamin D from meat because they are primarily carnivores (though they can eat plant materials) (whereas cats must consume all of their vitamin D from meat). Fish, eggs, beef, dairy products, and liver are healthy canine vitamin sources. These should make up a sufficient portion of your dog’s diet to avoid vitamin D insufficiency and low calcium, which can lead to weak bones, inactive muscles, heart disease, and other diseases. Veterinarians may recommend vitamin D supplement tablets for your dog if there are particular hazards associated with vitamin D or calcium insufficiency.

Do Our Dogs Need to be Outdoors More Often?

We can infer from biology that having less sun will not significantly affect a healthy dog’s production of vitamin D if there are no symptoms of calcium or vitamin D shortage. A dog on a typical diet is extremely unlikely to develop vitamin D deficiency from a lack of sunlight. Naturally, sunlight provides a variety of other health advantages, so it’s advised to spend lots of time outside. Be cautious since the same UV light that produces a lot of vitamin D in people and very little in dogs can also be harmful. The same way that UV light harms human skin, it also harms dog skin. especially skin that is paler and has less hair. Dogs are susceptible to getting sunburned, and prolonged UV radiation exposure raises the risk of skin cancer. The same way we protect our skin, these can be avoided. minimizing prolonged sun exposure, avoiding the sun’s rays, and applying sunscreen (human sunscreen can be utilized). despite the availability of dog-friendly products) on skin that is pink or white (skin, not fur, so part the hair to check).

Of course, it’s possible for dogs to have a vitamin D deficiency. There are certain marketed pet meals that have minimal vitamin D content. This can leave some dogs with a deficit. However, it is difficult to determine from a product alone what is adequate for your dog. Each dog is unique and has a distinct need for vitamin D. Some dogs also absorb more vitamin D from their food than others. It is recommended to start by seeing your veterinarian if you feel your dog may have low vitamin D levels. Blood tests they can run will show if your dog has any deficiencies. They can then advise changing your diet or taking vitamin D supplements. It is crucial that you do not increase the vitamin D intake of your dog. Consult a qualified veterinarian, as we’ll cover later.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

There is little doubt that vitamin D is crucial for animal health, but just like with fat or carbs, too much vitamin D (vitamin D toxicity) can be detrimental. A surplus of vitamin D is typically excreted by the body. However, our dog’s body might not be able to handle a sudden enormous consumption of vitamin D or a high intake over time. No matter how much there is, vitamin D will always have the same impact. As a result, vitamin D poisoning causes the kidneys to excrete less calcium and causes more calcium to be absorbed from the diet and removed from bones. Hypercalcaemia, or excessive calcium levels, are the result.

Hypercalcaemia can cause kidney and intestinal damage, vomiting, constipation, and excessive urination in addition to causing muscular damage, twitching, and seizures. It may be lethal in extreme circumstances. Additionally, the fragile, calcium-deficient bones are more vulnerable to damage and breakage. Dogs are nevertheless at danger for vitamin D poisoning even if they are more resistant than herbivorous animals. Because human vitamin D pills frequently contain far too much vitamin D, we advise against giving them to dogs and suggest only increasing their dietary vitamin D in response to a veterinarian’s recommendation.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you are an authority on all things calcium, vitamin D, and sunlight. Hopefully you will realize there is no need to give your dog a vitamin D supplement if they are not spending as much time outside during the lockdown. Your happy, healthy dog likely consumes enough vitamin D in their diet. If you’re still unsure, talk to your veterinarian about your worries. They can securely advise you on how to increase your dog’s vitamin D intake if necessary. Remember that humans are unique and that we require occasional exposure to the sun in order to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D. So enjoy some sun while it’s here. But keep in mind that you’ll both need some suntan lotion if you’re traveling with a furry pal!

Can vitamin D afflict dogs?

Vitamin D supports numerous areas of healthy health in both people and dogs. However, excessive amounts of this vitamin might be hazardous for dogs. Increased thirst is one of the signs of vitamin D poisoning in dogs, depending on the amount and length of exposure.

How do I react if my dog consumes vitamin D?

Calcium, a mineral required for strong bones, muscle contraction, healthy neurological and immunological systems, and other bodily functions, can only be absorbed by the body when vitamin D is present. Vitamin D toxicity can happen in large doses. Two variations of vitamin D exist. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is created by plants, fungus, and yeast, whereas Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is produced by animals.

Pets who consume supplements containing either form of Vitamin D or rodenticides (rat and mouse poisons) containing cholecalciferol frequently become poisoned. Larger doses are typically more tolerable by animals, and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) has a significantly greater margin of safety than vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Numerous treatments for treating psoriasis on the skin also contain significant levels of vitamin D (such as calcipotriene, tacalcitol, or calcitriol), and pets may become ill if they lick the cream off a person’s skin or directly from the product tube. Poisoning has also been caused by improperly prepared pet feeds, both commercial and homemade.

What are the signs of vitamin D poisoning?

After consumption, symptoms of vitamin D overdose often appear 12–36 hours later. The amount of vitamin D consumed determines how severe the symptoms are. Smaller doses frequently cause nausea, diarrhea, increased drinking and urination, stomach pain, depression, and anorexia. Increased calcium and phosphorus levels brought on by higher doses can lead to renal failure. In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, acute poisoning may also result in slowed heartbeat, irregular heartbeats, bleeding in the bowels, and mineralization of body tissues. Without the proper care, death could happen.

How is vitamin D poisoning diagnosed?

Pets with the typical symptoms and a history of exposure to vitamin D supplements, rat/mouse poisons, or psoriasis medications are typically diagnosed with vitamin D poisoning. Blood tests that reveal increased levels of calcium, phosphorus, or renal damage raise the possibility of vitamin D toxicity. It is possible to collect a urine sample to evaluate kidney function. Specialized testing may occasionally be required to rule out further calcium elevation sources.

How is vitamin D poisoning treated?

As with any poisoning, the best chance for a full recovery is with prompt treatment. Pet Poison Helpline, a 24-hour animal poison control hotline, can be reached at 1-800-213-6680 if your dog has consumed vitamin D supplements, pharmaceuticals, or rat- or mouse poison.

The volume consumed and the period of time since ingestion determine the sort of treatment required. Early treatment and decontamination reduce the possibility of severe poisoning. The vet may make the animal vomit if the ingestion happened soon after therapy. Activated charcoal can be given once the vomiting has been controlled. This may reduce the amount of vitamin D that is absorbed from the digestive system. Only a veterinarian should provide activated charcoal. Otherwise, pulmonary aspiration and potentially fatal alterations in blood salt levels could happen.

Blood tests are required to assess calcium, phosphorus, and kidney function. Outpatient care might be sufficient if a small amount was consumed. When higher amounts are consumed, inpatient care may be required, including IV fluids, extra drugs to block vitamin D absorption, steroids, anti-nausea drugs, antacids, and drugs to lower calcium and phosphorus levels.

What care is required after treatment?

Sadly, vitamin D overdose can have long-lasting symptoms that can continue for weeks or even months. Following hospital release, blood tests to check calcium, phosphorus, and renal function are frequently advised. Monitoring may need to be done for several weeks if there are spikes in renal, calcium, or phosphorus readings. Since calcium levels may rise again after first treatment, some dogs may need additional hospital care. Dogs with elevated calcium levels may develop kidney injury. They could need ongoing treatment for renal failure, such as antacids, blood pressure medications, fluid therapy, anti-nausea drugs, and blood test monitoring.