Vitamin is a word that itself means “Vital” amines or the essential amino acids. There are many types of Vitamins that are required by the organisms for various functions of their body. Many people are not aware of the fact that vitamins are as essential for dogs as it is for humans. One of the most important vitamins is Vitamin D. The specialty about this vitamin is that it is not in abundance in dietary sources and can be obtained from the rays of sunlight early in the morning.
Many times the required level for the Vitamin D is sufficed due to the exposure to the sun but sometimes it is not sufficient enough for the normal working of the different organs or processes that require an optimal amount of Vitamin D. It is needed by the muscles and nerves for the proper function. The major role of vitamin D is in the calcium absorption in the bones. It also helps in regulating phosphorus absorption as well.
Dog Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is an essential part of the nutrition for dogs as it helps in their muscle and bone development. But many times people who feed their dogs don’t check for the levels of Vitamins in their dog food. This causes the deficiency of Vitamin D in the dog which can cause a lot of diseases and other consequences as well. It has been noted that deficiency of Vitamin D can cause following diseases and symptoms:
The disease which is known as Osteomalacia is in which dog suffers from joint and muscles pain, sometimes bone fractures as well are caused due to the deficiency of Vitamin D.There is softening of bones and bones also become fragile due to low levels of Calcium and Vitamin D.
Dogs generally become less active and groan due to the pain in their joints and muscles as the disease progresses. They also start limping which is a symptom of this disease.
The deficiency of Vitamin D is one of the many causes of rickets in both cats and dogs. However, it is rare that rickets is completely caused due to the deficiency. The symptoms of the diseases include damage to the teeth of the dogs and the most prominent symptom will be the bone pain and tenderness in the dog’s legs. Sometimes dogs might experience muscle cramps due to the tenderness.
Congestive heart failure
The deficiency of Vitamin D can cause problems in the most important muscle of the body- heart and can lead to congestive heart failure. The common symptoms of facing problems in heart muscle are the following:
- Loss of appetite
- The dog is always sleepy or tiredness is seen
- A frequent cough
- Constant panting and difficulty in breathing
- Dogs also become lethargic and do not exercise
- Noisy breathing and swollen abdomen due to the fluids in the stomach
The low levels of the vitamins are also linked to the increase in the risk of getting cancer.
As many animals are able to synthesize Vitamin D in their body itself it is not a problem for them but dogs are not efficient in doing so and hence the dogs need Vitamin D from a food source along with the exposure to the direct sunlight. There are many food sources that are rich in Vitamin D such as dairy products, fish, egg yolks, etc. Beef is also a good source of Vitamin D for the dogs. Another option is to give your dogs multivitamin supplements that will help them in maintaining the optimal level of all the essential vitamins.
A dog owner should try to incorporate the food sources rich in Vitamin D to help in elevating the levels of Vitamin D in the dogs. Also, it should be kept in mind that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and it shouldn’t be given more than the recommended concentration. The overdose of the vitamin can lead to toxicity in the body.
I hope this article helped you in knowing the importance of Vitamin D in dogs along with the diseases related to its deficiencies. Make sure your little furry friend is eating healthy and having optimal levels of vitamins to stay healthy.