Vitamin D Deficiency in Cats and Dog

This was from listening to a podcast with Dr. Katie Kangas. This is what she had to say,

“Diseases arise because there has been a chronic nutritional deficiency that typically does not get identified in a conventional medical situation for a human or a pet and at some point it tips over into obvious symptoms and then the patient gets labeled with a disease and then goes on a pharmaceutical drug and the underlying functional problem never gets identified.

Magnesiuam, trace minerals and Vitamin D especially are deficient in pet foods. Vitamin D is mainly responsible for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body. This affects a large range of functions in the body. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to everything chronic and all kinds of inflammatory patterns, infections and cancer and other immune-related diseases. The normal range of Vitamin D for cats and dogs is 100 to 150 ng/mL.


Cats and dogs do not get Vitamin D from sunlight exposure – they rely completely on their diet for all of their Vitamin D. 

If you pet is chronically ill, testing for deficiency should be included in blood work. Depending on levels, you can provide a supplement and/or change their diet. If you supplement, you will need to recheck levels as recommended by your vet. If levels are 80 ng/Ml or higher, you probably just need to adjust your pet’s diet. If you give a supplement, you must give it in a whole food form or you probably won’t be doing your pet any favors.”

Dr. Katie Kangas, starts with Answers pet food because it contains naturally containing Vitamin D. Fermented foods are great for the gut and the raw dairy, and bone broths good levels naturally occurring Vitamin D. 

There are two types of vitamin D: vitamin D2 (which primarily comes from plant sources) and vitamin D3 (which is the most usable form for dogs and comes mainly from fatty meats and liver).

When vitamin D3 is eaten by your dog, it needs to be converted into a usable form (which is actually a hormone).

Vitamin D3 is first absorbed through the intestines, and then converted in the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D (or 25VitD). The active form of vitamin D that the body uses is 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, also called calcitriol.

Here are some other factors that are known to decrease the ability to convert dietary vitamin D to 25-VitD:

  • Polyunsaturated fats can decrease the bioavailability of vitamin D
  • Fluoride (which is present in many pet foods and water supplies) decreases magnesium, which is an essential cofactor for vitamin D
  • Strong magnetic fields can reduce vitamin D levels
  • PCBs increase the risk of deficiency by 3%
  • Roundup (glyphosate, which is present in foods and the environment) decreases vitamin D
  • Flame retardants (which are 10 times higher in dogs than humans) inactivate vitamin D
  • Low magnesium in foods
  • Spay/Neuter (spayed females have 10% less 25VitD than intact females and neutered males have 30% less than intact males)
  • Kidney disease (prevents the conversion of 25VitD to the usable form of vitamin D)
  • Exposure to DDT and other pesticides

Certain drugs (as well as St Johns wort and mineral oil) can consume or block vitamin D

If you are feeding a highly processed food, i.e., dry and canned food, then your food could be lacking in vitamin D. If you do not want to feed a raw diet rich with Vitamin D, like Answers Pet Food, then consider adding one of their milks or fish stock. Also raw eggs and sardines have good sources of Vitamin D. Make sure your eggs come from free range chickens. 

Dr. Katie Kangas, Answers Academy Presents…Episode 6. Google Podcast

Dogs Naturally Magazine.


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