The 7 Best Dog Food for Vitamin D Deficiency

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

Is your dog getting enough Vitamin D?

Long walks in the sun can only do so much for your furry friend. While Vitamin D is just essential for them as it is for us, they won’t be able to absorb it all from sunlight.

If their food isn’t providing enough Vitamin D, they are at a high risk of Vitamin D deficiency.

It is scary because, without Vitamin D, their system is unable to absorb phosphorus or calcium – two of the nutrients essential for healthy bones and skeletal system. I think you can see why getting enough Vitamin D is a concern.

Proper diet with an optimal level of Vitamin D is the only way to prevent deficiency or overcome it before its too late.

Without further ado, I’ll share my list of the best dog foods for Vitamin D deficiency.

The Best Dog Food for Vitamin D Deficiency

1. Taste of the Wild — High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Buffalo, 2. Lamb Meal, 3. Chicken Meal, 4. Sweet Potatoes, 5. Peas

When it comes to perfectly balanced nutrition, Taste of the Wild High Prairie has won my trust. It is a formula rich in animal proteins and fatty acids, and also contains a good balance of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin D.

Made from noble sources of protein, this dog food has enough calcium and phosphorus as well. So overall, it is a good option for healthy bone and joints. It also includes dried chicory root for better absorption nutrients.

2. Blue Buffalo—Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Brown Rice, 4. Barley, 5. Oatmeal

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula is a holistic recipe; i.e., it takes care of your baby’s nose-to-tail health. It has a good balance of all the essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.

Plus, it has glucosamine to ensure better joint function and mobility. While it is not a grain-free recipe, it contains quality grains such as brown rice that are least likely to cause allergies.

3. American Journey—Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Salmon, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Peas, 5. Sweet Potatoes

American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato is another favorite of mine that often shows up on all my lists because of the balance of taste and nutrition it packs in every bag.

Salmon is an excellent source of Vitamin D, and because it is first on the list of ingredients, you know your dog is getting plenty. Moreover, you get plenty of beneficial fiber to aid digestion.

4. Purina—Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Salmon, 2. Barley, 3. Ground Rice, 4. Canola Meal, 5. Oatmeal

This recipe is formulated for dogs with allergies and sensitivities without compromising on nutrition. This recipe is filled with prebiotic fiber, which not only offers a reasonable level of Vitamin D but also ensures good absorption. It is a good formula for healthy joints and mobility.

This one also has salmon as the first ingredient, which is a great natural source of Vitamin D. I also like this formula because it includes zinc as well. Plus, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids make it a good option for dogs with high-maintenance coats.

5. CANIDAE—All Life Stages Multi-Protein Formula Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Turkey Meal, 3. Lamb Meal, 4. Brown Rice, 5. White Rice

Canidae All Life Stage is a formula that is perfect for a multi-pet household because it is balanced to meet the nutritional need of all breeds at every life stage.

It has just the right amount of all the essential micronutrients. Plus, it has the patented HealthPLUS Solutions, a blend of antioxidants and probiotics to ensure preventive care of your pal.



Is Vitamin D essential for dogs?

Vitamin D is just as essential for dogs as it is for humans. Its main purpose is to regulate a healthy balance and retention of phosphorus and calcium. Therefore, it is an essential nutrient for healthy bones and joints.

How much Vitamin D is safe for dogs?

While it depends on your dog’s breed and size, the average recommended dose of Vitamin D for dogs is 225 IU per pound of food. Dogs with thick or double coats can’t absorb sunlight as efficiently, so you may increase the dosage for them.

What is Vitamin D toxicity in dogs?

Vitamin D toxicity can happen when your dog has been on a diet with excess Vitamin D for months. It happens over time, and it occurs when your dog is consuming dog food with more than 500 IU per pound. FDA has recalled several products due to Vitamin D toxicity.

What causes Vitamin D deficiency in dogs?

Vitamin D can either be obtained by food or through sunlight. The latter is difficult for dogs due to thicker skin and coat. The only way to get the appropriate level of Vitamin D is through diet. Dog food that doesn’t offer sufficient amounts can cause deficiency over time.

What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency in dogs?

Vitamin D deficiency can limit the absorption of phosphorus and calcium, which can cause weaker bones and joints. It can cause bowed legs and swollen joints, and if left untreated, can lead to rickets and osteoporosis.

Do dogs need sunlight for Vitamin D?

The answer is not as simple as it seems. While the sun is a significant source of Vitamin D, dogs are unable to absorb much from it. That’s mainly because of thicker skin and coat. So, you need to make sure they are getting enough from their diet.

Can dogs take Vitamin D supplements?

Dogs do not need as much Vitamin D as humans, and the deficiency is quite rare. Supplements meant for humans have a high level of Vitamin D and may cause toxicity. Opt for Vitamin D supplements for your dog only if prescribed by your veterinarian.

Does dog food contain enough Vitamin D?

Very few dog foods contain optimal levels of Vitamin D. Studies show that most low-quality commercial dog foods do not have enough Vitamin D. That said, there have been many cases of recalls due to excess Vitamin D as well.

What are the best sources of Vitamin D in dog food?

Fish is the best source of Vitamin D in dog food. It is best to find a product that has salmon, cod, herring, or any other fish as its main ingredient. Liver and egg yolk are also additional sources of this vitamin. However, that doesn’t mean you should only stick to a seafood diet for your dog. Almost all kinds of meat, including beef and chicken, have Vitamin D.

Buyer’s Guide: Best Dog Food for Vitamin D Deficiency

We have talked a lot about why Vitamin D is vital for dogs. It is important for your dog’s bones,  immune system, and even heart health. Now let’s talk about how much Vitamin D they need and how you can make sure that they are getting enough through their food.

Vitamin D3 vs. Vitamin D2

…or should I say…

Sun vs. Food

Vitamin D3 is what we get from the sun, and Vitamin D2 is obtained from the diet. Since dogs have a thicker coat and their ability to absorb D3 from sunlight is generally weak, they need both these vitamins from the diet. You should look for a dog food that contains both D2 and D3.

Deficiency vs. Toxicity

It is important to know how much Vitamin D your dog needs.

On average, dog food with 500 IU of Vitamin D per pound is what veterinarians recommend. Since younger pups are actively growing, they need more Vitamin D than adult dogs. It can be around 1500 IU per pound. Large breed dogs may also need a slightly higher dose, i.e., around 500 IU of Vitamin D per pound of dog food.

Anything less than that, or an absence of Vitamin D from the diet, which is possible with low-quality dog food with no nutritional value, can cause a Vitamin D deficiency. Without Vitamin D, the absorption of calcium and phosphorus is almost impossible. It is this deficiency can lead to bone and skeletal diseases.

Now, on the flip side, more than the recommended amount of Vitamin D can lead to Hypercalcemia or Vitamin D toxicity. It can lead to several health issues, such as kidney and heart diseases.

So, be sure to read the label and check the amount of Vitamin D you are providing your pet through diet. I always recommend asking your vet about the amount of Vitamin D your dog needs according to its size, breed, and age.

Let’s move on to my best dog food for Vitamin D deficiency for puppies and seniors.

Best Puppy Food for Vitamin D Deficiency

6. Wellness—CORE Grain-Free Puppy Chicken & Turkey Recipe Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Potatoes, 5. Peas

Wellness CORE is one of my preferred puppy formulas because it offers a good balance of nutrients essential for the body and brain alike. While it has DHA for optimal brain and eye function, it has Vitamin D for healthy bones, teeth, and joints. Plus, it has plenty of healthy proteins to keep your little one happy and healthy. Meat is also a good source of Vitamin D and your little buddy will get plenty of it in this bag.

Best Senior Dog Food for Vitamin D Deficiency

7. Iams—ProActive Health Mature Adult Dry Dog Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Chicken By-Product Meal, 3. Ground Whole Grain Barley, 4. Ground Whole Grain Corn, 5. Ground Whole Grain Sorghum

Senior dog foods focus on bone and joint health and contain a good ratio of Vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and other compounds such as glucosamine. Iams Proactive Health is one of the finest when it comes to a healthy balance of nutrients that are essential for bones. This formula is for mature dogs over the age of seven. Aside from vitamins and minerals, this recipe has enough digestive fibers to ensure healthy digestion.