Humans need vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. They can heal wounds, boost the immune system, create energy, strengthen bones, and so much more! If vitamins are essential to human health, are they essential to dogs’ health as well?

You got it! Vitamins are important for dogs, too. For example, vitamin D allows for the regulation and balance of phosphorus and calcium in dogs. But, like most things, high levels of vitamin D can cause vitamin D toxicity in dogs.


Causes of Vitamin D Poisoning

There are several ways for dogs to suffer from vitamin D poisoning. Listed here are some of the most common occurrences. Dogs can snoop around and get into things they are not supposed to. They may get into vitamin D supplements that someone in the house takes. Dogs may develop vitamin D toxicity from eating dog food that contains elevated levels of vitamin D. Another common way that dogs can develop vitamin D toxicity is from ingesting specific chemicals called cholecalciferol rodenticides that are for killing rodents. Cholecalciferol is the chemical name for vitamin D3. If your dog has ingested rodenticides, you have bigger problems at hand.


What are the Signs of Vitamin D Toxicity in Dogs?

Clinical signs of vitamin D toxicity may appear anywhere from 12 to 36 hours after intake. The amount ingested and a dog’s state of health can impact the intensity of the symptoms. Smaller dosages are often associated with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, stomach discomfort, depression, and a lack of appetite. High dosages can put the kidneys at risk of failing. An elevated respiratory rate, trouble breathing, and intestinal bleeding are all markers of serious poisoning. Other symptoms include a sluggish heart rate and mineralization of bodily tissues in addition to the ones listed above. Death can occur if the proper treatment is not given.


How is Vitamin D Poisoning Diagnosed?

Vitamin D poisoning is almost always traced to using supplements containing vitamin D, rodent poisons, or certain medications. Blood tests for calcium, phosphorus, and renal damage indicate vitamin D intoxication. A urine sample will help determine how the kidneys are functioning. Specialized testing may be necessary in certain cases to rule out other causes of high calcium levels.



Proper treatment depends on the amount of vitamin D ingested and how long it has been since the consumption occurred. Significant poisoning is less likely with prompt care. Your vet may induce vomiting. Dogs will be administered a dosage of activated charcoal by a veterinarian to reduce vitamin D from the gastrointestinal tract. If a small quantity has been consumed, outpatient therapy may suffice.

If you fear your dog is suffering from vitamin D poisoning, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® immediately at (855) 764-7661 to help save your dog’s life.