According to research, 75% of dogs don’t get enough vitamin D in their body. Unlike humans, dogs could not garner vitamin D from exposure to the sun. Dogs solely get their vitamin D from their diet. But, what is Vitamin D and how do dogs benefit from it?
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of phosphorus and calcium in the body. Phosphorus assist in the growth and repair of body cells and tissues. Calcium strengthens bones and teeth, conducts nerve impulses, contracts muscles, produces the heartbeat and a factor in clotting blood.
The Epidemic of Low Vitamin D
In the past years, dog food contains lesser vitamin D. This will lead to hypocalcemia or low calcium in the body. This will cause brittle bones, bone deformities such as rickets, and even dysfunctions in the immune system.
The best indicator of circulating vitamin D in the body is the 25-hydroxyvitaminD (25VitD) or the calcifediol. Calcifediol is produced by the liver to act as the converter of vitamin D3, the type of vitamin D absorbed from the sun or fatty meat, and to its active form, vitamin D. It is determined that dogs should have 100 to 120 ng/mL of 25VitD in their body.
A Link between Vitamin D and Cancer
The link between vitamin D and cancer is still under the microscope. According to a research conducted by Sharp et.al. on “The effects of diet on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25VitD) concentrations in dogs”, it was speculated that dogs who have a lower amount of 25VitD in their body are more prone to having cancer. However, 25VitD is just the precursor of vitamin D.
In a study made in 2004, results accounted that 25VitD in dogs with lymphoma, hyperparathyroidism, and kidney disease were lower than those of healthy dogs. Furthermore, the active form of Vitamin D wasn’t different between these sick dogs and healthy dogs. What we can conclude from these researches is that diseases can reduce the dog’s ability to formulate 25VitD and not vitamin D. Also, we conclude that a low 25VitD is present in cancer.
The Link to Cancer and Disease
As shown in the aforementioned research, the 25VitD in dogs with lymphoma and other diseases were lower than those of healthy dogs, while the active form of Vitamin D wasn’t different between the sick and the healthy dogs. It could be said that the link between cancer and other diseases is the lowered amount of 25VitD circulating in the body.
Vitamins for Dogs
Because it is difficult to test the presence of vitamin D in the blood, only the precursor 25VitD could be tested. Researchers have discovered that dogs who are supplemented with salmon oil have higher 25VitD than dogs receiving other Vit D supplements.
According to the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), your dog will need 125 IU of vitamin D per 33 pounds of dog on a 1,000 calories of food at minimum and 750 IU at maximum. An ounce or wild salmon every day or two will be enough to meet this need.
Up to this day, vitamin D in your dog’s body cannot be accurately measured since only 25VitD can be tested. Although it is advised that you take your dogs to a routine check-up, prevention is always better than cure. Enhance your dog’s diet with vitamin supplements to secure them with a healthy body, strong bones, and long life.