Vitamin D for Your Pets?
Well, if you’ve looked outside recently, you may have noticed winter is here. We can say goodbye to the sun for the next few months. With a lack of sun exposure comes Vitamin D deficiency -for people and our pets. Why is this a big deal? For people, it is known that Vitamin D plays a large role in many functions in the body. For our pets, recent research suggests Vitamin D deficiency may play a role in congestive heart failure, some forms of cancer, IBD, infectious diseases, and more.
How do dogs and cats receive Vitamin D?
Much like humans, the most natural source is UVB light from the sun. However, animals have fur and people do not (although we all know a few people that may be an exception) which makes the process a little different. When sunlight contacts human skin, it starts a chemical process which leads to producing Vitamin D that is absorbed by the body. With animals, the sunlight hits their fur and causes a chemical reaction which leads to Vitamin D production. However, an animal must then lick or groom their coat to ingest it. It should be noted that some believe that the primary source of Vitamin D for pets is not from exposure to the sun.
What other sources of Vitamin D are available for pets when sunlight isn’t available?
Naturally, supplementation is one route. However, a healthy diet should supply sufficient Vitamin D. Per this article, good sources include:
- Canned Salmon
- Canned Mackeral
- Canned Sardines
- Beef Liver
- Egg Yolks
- A few other raw meats – especially that involve the liver
If your animal is eating a well-rounded healthy diet, they may be getting sufficient Vitamin D. Curious if your pet has sufficient Vitamin D levels? Your local vet should be able to help by conducting this test!
In conclusion, Vitamin D plays a pretty big role in our pets’ health, just like ours. Naturally, we all want what is best for our fur babies. Winter is here, and gone is the sun. We need to make sure our pets receive a healthy diet that will replace any Vitamin D they may be missing from exposure to sunlight. It’s dark outside, but our little companions have a bright future with Vitamin D.