Giving your dog what it needs is vital to its health. Dogs need proper nutrition, plenty of daily exercises, and mental stimulation.

Without these things, they can become unhealthy both physically and mentally.

The below will teach you all about Vitamin D, essential for dogs.

Dogs don’t get vitamin D from the sun like us humans. However, they get it from their food, such as liver, beef, egg yolk, and cod liver oil.

About Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin stored in special cells known as lipocytes. Humans get mainly Vitamin D from the sun. However, dogs get it from their diet only or supplements.

Dogs do not get Vitamin D from the sun because dogs can’t metabolize the UVB rays into Vitamin D.

Vitamin D plays a vital role within the dog’s body in absorbing the calcium and regulating it around the body, looking after the bones of a dog along the way. Vitamin D is one of the main five vitamins and minerals needed for healthy bones and joints.

Vitamin D: Supplements

When and if you need to give your dog vitamin D, it’s always better to do it fresh, using fresh foods like spinach, yolk or liver.

Many supplements on the market are of poor quality and barely worth using.

However, not everyone can access fresh or high-quality commercial dog foods. In this case, a dog should be given multivitamin supplements instead that will cover all areas like Vitamin A, E, K, Complex B Vitamins, Zinc, and folate.

Try not to pick a brand that does not mass produce in vast quantities, but rather the companies with a more personal approach. These brands will have your dog’s interest at heart.

What does IU stand for?

IU stands for “international unit.” A measure of how much a vitamin or mineral will affect your dog’s body.

What does RDA mean?

RDA stands for recommended daily allowance. However, this will be different for each size of the dog. 

Best Vitamin D foods For Dogs

Adding any of the below to your dog’s bowl at mealtime will give them an added boost of Vitamin D.

  • Beef
  • Cod liver oil
  • Egg yolk
  • Liver
  • Sardines (Once a week)
  • Skinless Salmon
  • Spinach


I recommend giving your dog a tin of sardines each week regardless. 

Sardines contain two types of fats that are very important to a dog. 

Providing your dog sardines fresh or from a tin in freshwater once a week will guarantee they get these essential fatty acids.

What is a good source of vitamin D for dogs?

Fresh foods are the best source of Vitamin D. such as liver, beef, egg yolk, and cod liver oil. Add as an extra to their daily meals for an added boost of Vitamin D. Although high-quality commercial dog food should have the required amount of Vitamin D already.

Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency In Dogs?

Although it’s pretty rare in dogs to have Vitamin D deficiently, the symptoms of this are below.

  • Nausea
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased Urination
  • Weakness
  • Loss of balance

Can dogs get Vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D is essential to regulate the calcium around a dog’s body. A dog’s deficiency in Vitamin D will cause bone dysfunction such as rickets. 

How do dogs get Vitamin D from the sun?

They don’t. Dogs get their vitamin D from the food they eat or supplements. However, fresh food is always better than supplements—food such as liver, beef, egg yolk, and cod liver oil.

Do dogs get Vitamin D from licking their fur?

No dogs do not get Vitamin D from licking their fur. Instead, they get Vitamin D from the foods they eat.

How do dogs get Vitamin D with fur?

Dogs dont get Vitamin D from the sun like us humans. They get vitamin D from their diet.

Why can’t dogs get Vitamin D from the sun?

Dogs can’t get Vitamin D from the sun because they can’t turn UVB rays into Vitamin D.

Do dogs need Vitamin D supplements?

Most dogs do not need vitamin D supplements if they eat a good quality commercial diet or fresh home-cooked meals. 

Good quality commercial diet or fresh home-cooked meals will contain all the vitamin D a dog needs.

However, you can give your dog a dose of vitamin D by feeding them foods such as egg yolk, cod liver oil, beef or liver. If you need to give your dog a supplement, try to find a food-based one.

How much Vitamin D does a dog need daily?

A dog’s recommended amount of Vitamin D is 5 IU/lb.

Recommended Read: How much protein does a dog need in his diet?

How much is Vitamin D toxic to a dog?

The toxic potential of Vitamin D is pretty rare, but the dose of 50 IU per day over a few weeks can cause (Hypercalcemia) calcium builds up in the heart, muscles, blood and soft tissues of a dog.

Hypercalcemia is when the calcium level in your dog’s blood is above average. Too much calcium in a dog’s blood can weaken your bones, create kidney stones, and interfere with how the heart and brain work.

How do I know if the food I’m feeding my dog is good quality?

The best way to tell if your dog’s food is high quality is by checking the ingredients. Never trust the front of the package! Look for fresh, pure, plant-based, and botanical ingredients. If you see derivatives or bone meal listed, that’s a sign that the food isn’t as high quality.

Bad Quality Ingredients

Feeding your dog the best food will help improve their overall immune system.

If you find any of these ingredients in your dog’s food, I recommend switching to a healthier food brand.

Wheat: Check to see if your dog has wheat in its food and, if so, how much. Wheat is not a natural food for dogs, and many are allergic to it. A possibility is that your dog could have allergies to wheat. The most prominent symptom of wheat allergies for a dog is skin problems.

Bone Meal: This is bones grounded up of any animal to provide poor quality calcium.

Derivatives: Can be any part of any animal, including beak, bones, or feet added. Sometimes it can state the type of animal. However, it will still be any part of that specific animal—class as poor quality nutrition.

Vegetable Derivatives: Vegetables from many possible vegetable sources. These can be either good or bad—generally, it’s human vegetable preparation waste.

Fat: Animal fat is often sprayed on dog food to make it tastier and more appealing. The fat comes from the cooking process of the animal, and when it’s heated to a very high temperature, and as the grease floats to the top, it’s gathered up for use. Dogs certainly need fat in their diet—however, it’s questionable if this is the best option.

Good Quality Ingredients

If your dog’s food has any of the below ingredients listed, then the food is of good quality. 

Vegetables are the purest of good quality vegetables needed in a dog’s diet.

Botanicals, Herbs or Plants: These are added health enhancements for your dog. If this is listed on the label, it means excellent quality dog food with your dog’s health at the forefront of their company.

Pure Meat: Meat taken from a specific animal. Such as beef, chicken, or duck. The best quality dog foods have pure or fresh meat labelled on the back.


IN DOGS, Vitamin D is not processed from the sun’s UVB, so their diet must require some Vitamin D foods. Most good-quality commercial dog foods will have the RDA. However, add any foods listed above if you feel that your dog could benefit from a Vitamin D boost.

Perhaps your dog doesn’t like fresh foods! Then a supplement might be worth looking into. Or, if you can’t provide or get access to fresh foods and the commercial dog foods aren’t that great of quality, then a dog could massively benefit from a multivitamin supplement.

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