Vitamin D levels in pets- are they getting enough?

Most of us know about the importance of Vitamin D in maintaining not only healthy bones, but in the function of the immune system and preventing cancer. Most physicians recommend that people in the northern half of North America take between 1000 and 3000 IU daily over the winter months when there is not enough exposure to sun for our bodies to produce this essential vitamin. What about our pets?
Unfortunately our companion animals do not even produce Vitamin D from sunshine in the hottest sunniest summer months as their skin lacks the enzyme to convert sunshine to the vitamin that we all need. Almost 100% of their vitamin D must be taken in from the food.
A recent study showed that a majority of dogs are lacking this essential vitamin. This was true for dogs on commercial diets as well as on home prepared diets . But some dogs eating the same food had low levels and other had adequate levels. What does this tell us? There is no way to know if your pet has enough Vitamin D without doing a blood test. Once the test is done we can tell if the level is in the optimal range, or if a supplement needs to be given. Disorders of the bowel and kidney can lead to low levels so it is especially important for dogs and cats with those illnesses to have their levels tested. A simple blood test can give us the answer, and the sample can be drawn at the same time as other early-detection and wellness blood screening tests.

Over the past few months I have been routinely running the Vitamin D level test, and the results to date show that an overwhelming number of my patients are deficient in Vitamin D and require a supplement.

For more information, see the research article

The effect of diet on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in dogs

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