5 Safe Pets to Keep at Home

Who doesn’t love keeping a pet? The adoration for innocent animals excite every person to own and care for a pet.

Over 70% of U.S. Households own pets of various kinds. Some of the most popular pets people love to keep are freshwater fish, cats, dogs, and birds.

Some of the most common and safe pets to around house are;

Freshwater Fish

Over 12.5 million households in the U.S. own freshwater fish as a pet. Undoubtedly, fish is the most beloved pet in the entire country. The exotic marine species are most loved for their innocence, vibrant color, agility, and decoration. Although it can be crucial to maintaining hygiene of the aquarium to ensure the safety of fish, people do often manage time to take care of their pet.

Keeping freshwater fish has been linked to health benefits such as reducing stress and lowering your blood pressure and heart rate.

Rabbit

Rabbits are one of the most beloved pets around the world. Many people choose the furry animal for their playfulness, innocence, and temper. Rabbits are also one of the frequent pets who are abandoned in the animal shelter. You can help save this innocent animal from landing in the shelter throughout their life. They are also home and children friendly.

Dog

Dogs are undoubtedly the most beloved pet around the world. There are over 65 million dogs in the U.S. household. Although they are loved and cared for, dogs can often be a victim of the disease, illness, and other ailments. You should provide necessary vaccines, keep their kennel clean, and house-train them.

Cat

Cats are another most popular pet around the world. In the U.S. alone, Cats exceed the number of house pet in comparison to dogs, mostly because a cat owner is likely to keep multiple cats as pets. Unfortunately, cats also account for one of the frequent pets who are found in animal shelters.

Birds

Birds often make great pets however they require special attention from their owners. They are most beloved for their gentleness, friendliness, and look. Budgies, Cockatiels, Cockatoos, Parrotlets, and Hyacinth Macaws are a few of the most kept bird pets in the U.S.

Do Rabbits make Good Pets?

Who doesn’t love the cute furry animal hopping around the house? Most people keep pet rabbits at home, however, many wonders if they make a good indoor pet or are they safer to keep around small children.

DID YOU KNOW? Male rabbits are called bucks; females are called does.

Rabbits have long been kept pets beginning from middle ages. They were kept as livestock in Ancient Rome. Cottontail Rabbits are the most common form of pet rabbits found in homes today.

Pros of owning a rabbit

  • They are intelligent animals
  • They are clean
  • They can be potty trained
  • They have a good lifespan

Things to remember while keeping a Rabbit

Expenses

Owning a pet rabbit is similar to owning a dog or a cat. It comes with added financial responsibility. You must provide housing, food, and proofing along with ongoing costs for supplements, litter, spay/neuter, and vet bills.

Housing

Rabbits are social animals. You should consider keeping them within your home in a form of puppy pen, bunny condo, or a large cage. Rabbits need social interaction, plenty of exercises, and a lot of enrichment activities, hence a homely environment is important to keep them indulge.

Bunny Proofing

Bunnies are quite curious and persistent creatures. You must consider bunny proofing your house to keep your things safe from being chewed. They will nibble on almost everything they may find, like you most important documents.

Enrichment

They tend to find their own fun activities if they get bored which can range from breaking things to chewing papers, rugs, and upholstery. You must consider providing them with entertainment to keep them indulged. Keep empty toilet paper rolls, old phone books, and other paper products into their shelter, so they can nibble on it.

Litter Training

The great thing about rabbits is that they can be potty trained. Most rabbits are potty trained when you bring them from a shelter, however, some of them forget their good habit once they move into their new home. The drastic change in the environment can be very stressful. You should be persistent and consider potty training them.

Nutrition

A rabbit’s nutritional needs vastly vary from that of a dog or a cat. Proper nutrition and in the correct amount is vital for a rabbit’s well-being. Fiber is the most staple diet of rabbits hence they must have access to unlimited grass hays at all times.

Pet rabbits need a high-fiber (18% to 22% DM), low-protein (12% to 16% DM) diet for maintenance. Timothy grass hay pellets should be fed for maintenance because they are lower in protein, calcium, and calories than alfalfa pellets.

Traveling

Traveling can be really stressful for rabbits. You should consider hiring a bunny-sitter while you’re away from home. They aren’t considered a flight-friendly animal, hence you can save yourself from the hassle by keeping them as a pet if you do not move around a lot.

Children and Rabbits

Rabbits should be supervised when small children are around. The DSPCA advises that because rabbits are physically delicate and require specialized veterinary care, they are not appropriate for families with young children

February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

February is recognized as “Spay and Neuter Awareness Month” throughout the U.S.  The purpose of celebrating the day is to encourage pet owners to get their pets sterilized before the arrival of spring and summer months.

Spring and summer are associated with the rampant overproduction of puppies and kittens. The experience can get really unmanageable for most animal shelters, hence, spaying and neutering helps to prevent the problem.

Although neutering and spaying are associated with fixing male and female pets respectively, neutering can be used in the case of both male and female pets. Castration, sterilizing, and fixing is few of the contemporary terms used by most people.

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering your Pets

a. Female pets live a longer and healthier life

Spaying has major health benefits to female pets. It helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is rampant in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying female pets before their first heat prevent from these diseases.

b. Neutering provides major health benefits to male pets

Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering male dogs prevent testicular cancer and some prostate problems.

c. The spayed female won't go into heat

While cycles can vary, female cats usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. To attract males, they often yowl and urinate -sometimes all over the house! Spaying prevents female feline from going into heat.

d. The male dog won't want to roam away from home

An intact male often roams outside home to find a possible mate. Neutering your pet helps to keep them grounded and prevent unnecessary roaming outside the home.

e. Neutered males are well behaved

Neutered pets focus their attention on their human families. Unneutered dogs and cats generally mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house, and they tend to be aggressive. Neutering pets help to prevent aggression.

f. Spaying or neutering doesn’t make pets obese

Fixing your pets doesn’t invite obesity, lack of exercise and overfeeding does! Keeping your pet fit is more to do with daily diet, calorie intake, and exercise.

g. It is highly cost-effective.

Spaying and neutering pets cost lesser than you have imagined. It also prevents any unnecessary accidents, health issues which can cost more in the near future.

h. Good for Community!

Stray animals pose a real problem in a human settlement. They tend to prey on wildlife, invite car accidents, damage the local infrastructure, scratch or bite children etc. Spaying and neutering help to prevent aggression and overproduction of pups and kittens.

i. Education purpose

Millions of pets land in animal shelters every year, most of them are euthanized because only fewer pets ever get adopted. Fixing your pets helps to educate society including young children about the benefits of spay and neuter.

Control pet population

Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. To prevent animals from landing up in animal shelters or outright being assaulted on street, you can consider spaying and neutering them to control the unnecessary childbirth.

National Train Your Dog Month

January is the National Train Your Dog Month!

In 2010 the Association of Professional Dog Trainers began the National Train Your Dog Month campaign. The APDT believed it is time to dedicate a month to bringing awareness to the importance of socialization and training, and most of all, to inform the public that training your dog can be easy and fun! 

January is also the time when most people bring new pets home during the winter holidays.

How to best Train your dog

1. House Training

It is important if you're thinking about keeping your pet indoors. When pets stay inside, they require a housebreaking or potty training to relieve themselves at the right place.

A house training may include;

Crate training dogs and puppies

Crate training is a method of house training your puppy or dog. The crate is specifically used to keep your pup or adult dog confined in a space when you are unable to supervise. Since dogs do not generally urinate or defecate in the same place they sleep, they will most likely try to hold the urge to pee. Use positive enforcement while introducing crate to your pets.

House Train puppies

It requires patience while training the young pups. Set a schedule for everything; waking, eating, playing, and relieving. Check for signs when your pup needs to relieve. Use keywords repeatedly to make them understand the command.

Submissive/Excitement urination in Dogs

Most dogs tend to urinate when being submissive or in excitement. Also known as involuntary urination, it can be curbed by positive enforcement. Use the house training commands to make them understand that it isn’t right to pee inside the house.

2. Leash Training

Leash training is important when the pup starts growing into an adult dog. You will often take it outdoors, hence, keeping them in a leash is important to avoid any accidents or misbehavior.

Teach the dog how to walk properly with the leash. A loose leash walk may teach your dog not to pull or lunge when being leashed, making the experience more enjoyable.

3. Socializing

Socialization is basically the process of introducing a dog or pup to in the company of other animals, humans, places, and environment. Socialization should begin at a young age which helps them to adapt to social circle and behavior. The ideal age is between 3 and 14 weeks of age for puppies.

Socializing with Dogs

  • Take your dog out to observe other dogs
  • Resist tugging while walking
  • Go to dog training classes

Socializing with Humans

  • Ignore your dog's unwanted behavior
  • Act like everything is normal when he acts out
  • Introduce people slowly

Basic commands

Basic commands help to curb dog’s unwanted behavior and keep them safe. Every dog should be aware of basic commands.

Some of the basic commands are;

  • Look
  • Emergency recall
  • Come
  • With me
  • Leave it
  • Drop it
  • Sit
  • Lie Down
  • Stay
  • Wait

Proofing behavior

Proofing is the last step in training your dog to do any new behavior. Learn how to proof behaviors so your dog will be as obedient at the park or a friend's house is he is in your own living room.

Change a Pet’s Life Day is almost here!

It’s almost time to celebrate Change a Pet’s Life Day. Celebrated on January 24, the special day is held every year to encourage people to adopt pets from shelters and raise animal awareness.

On this day, pet shelters reduce the cost of adopting a new pet. Although the day highlights the importance of pet adoption to save shelter-pets from being deprived of homes, there are other ways you can support the cause.

Adopt a Pet

About 6.5 million pets enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats), simply because the pet shelters lack enough room for new pets and lesser pets are ever adopted.

It actually costs lesser to adopt a pet than buying a new one from the pet-farm or Puppy mills. Pet farms are the breeding center of pets that put profit above the welfare of dogs. The pets in farms are generally poorly housed.

Adopt a pet from your local shelter or rescue. There are more than just dogs and cats that need homes, pets such as bunnies, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, and farm animals need forever homes too.

Sponsor a Pet

If you can’t take a dog for yourself, you can get one for others. Consider gifting a shelter pet to your friend, family or someone considering to adopt a pet this year. Most adoptable shelter-pets costs ZERO to $250, hence, gifting one won’t be hard on your pocket.
Volunteer your time

You can also consider volunteering your time at the animal shelters. A helping hand is always appreciated. You can clean the shelter home, utilities, and beds, or play with the pets to keep them indulged and active. Volunteering your time will help shelters provide care for all the dogs that they look after, and it helps dogs get some much-needed socialization.

Donate

Animal shelters can't run by themselves. They need funds to carry out daily activities of feeding, caring, and nurturing the pets, initiating rescue missions, finding and protecting dogs, neutering or spaying, micro-chipping, and vaccination. Consider donating to animal shelters so they can give back to society.

Spread the word about Adoptable Dogs

You can always spread the word about the shelter homes in your area or any pet that needs to be adopted. Those who have less or none information about adoption will be encouraged to adopt a new pet.

Raise Awareness for Shelters

You can always put a word to your mayor, congressmen, or advocates to raise awareness for the animal shelters. Even better, you can seek if your local shelter is organizing any event. You can always offer a helping hand.

Tell Your Dog's story

To encourage others to adopt new pets, you can share your own story of owning a pet. When did you first meet your pet? How were the initial challenges? Unforgettable story or experience you share with your pet etc. Showing the positive impact your dog has had on your life is a great way to show others that a dog might be right for them, too.

One simple act of kindness can make a difference in a pet’s life.

5 Useful Blog Posts from 2018

What would this world be without our pets? It’s harder to imagine a life without our beloved pets by your side. We share a special bond, and to maintain this bond we must ensure to provide them with enough care.

Here are 5 useful blog posts we made in the past year to help out all the pet owners and our furry friends.


Can pets get Skin Cancer?

Unfortunately, Yes! Like Humans, pets are susceptible to cancer and other form skin related diseases. Many domesticated and wild animals suffer from some form of cancer too.

Skin tumors are the most common form of cancerous tumors found in Dogs.  However, if it’s caught during early onset, it can be treated effectively. The disease is generally classified into Benign and Malign cancers. The term ‘Benign’ is used for less harmful cancer tumors, while ‘Malign’ is used for harmful cancer tumors.

6 types of common cancers among pets

  • Malignant melanoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Mast Cell Tumor
  • Melanomas
  • Hari follicle tumor
  • Epitheliotropic lymphoma

Read more..

How often do you groom your dog?

Dog grooming is a process by which a dog’s appearance is enhanced. It not only enhances the appeal but also keeps your pet hygienic and clean. It is also essential to keep your pet stress free and comfortable, especially those with long or heavy coats.

A person who professionally grooms the dog is known as dog groomer or Groomer. The grooming procedure, time and tools differ from one breed to another and one coat type to another.

5 benefits of Regular Grooming

  1. Eradicate Health Problem –Grooming lessens any chances of various health problems, such as skin allergy, parasitic infections, scratches, and matted hair.
  2. Cleanliness –General tidiness and physical appearance are ensured by regular and proper grooming.
  3. Vital Organs in Check –Grooming also monitors the status of essential body parts for the infection, such as; Eyes, Ear and Teeth, Nose, Underside, Skin Coat, Nail and Pads etc.
  4. Physical Appeal –The physical appearance and standard are maintained with regular grooming.
  5. Stress-free environment –Matted hair, long and burly fur can cause stress to many dogs on daily basis. Grooming keeps them comfortable and happy.

Read more..

The Obesity-related Condition in Dogs

Obesity is common in dogs with an unhealthy diet or lifestyle. As a pet owner, you must keep their weight in check and offer an optimum quantity of nutritious meal. It’s completely wrong to feed your dog from your plate or dinner table because their meal requirement vastly differs from humans.

According to a study,

Obesity accounted for more than 1.3 million nationwide pet insurance claims in 2016, a 23 percent increase from three years before.

10 Obesity-related conditions

Obesity causes various medical conditions in Dogs. Some of the common conditions are;

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cystitis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • hepatitis
  • Cruciate ligament injuries
  • Diabetes
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Chronic renal disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Lipomas

Read more..

Dental Problem in Pets

The dental problem in pets, both cats and dogs, is quite common than you think. By the age of 3, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of gum disease. The dental problem isn’t only persistent in senior pets.

Here are some of the common risks from a dental problem.

  • If your pet remains uncured from dental disease, they are at a higher risk of heart, kidney, and liver disease
  • Bacteria under the gum can travel to different internal organs.
  • Dental disease can result in bad breath, painful chewing, and tooth loss.
  • Broken teeth are a major concern among pets. Chewing on hard surfaces or materials can render their teeth weak. A broken tooth can expose the nerve of the tooth which can be a painful experience for your pet.

Read more..

All about Canine Therapy

Canine therapy is the guided interaction between a person and a dog with the goal of comforting and increasing joy in a person with a mental or physical health condition. The patients may learn to give the command to the dogs, play with them or pet and care for him.

Therapists observe their actions and behavior with the dog and use them for in other situations and further treatment.

Therapy Dogs

Any dog can be a therapy dog as long as s/he is well tempered, obedient, well socialized and loves to cheer others up. Therapy dogs undergo extensive training before working with patients. They work with people with special conditions, for example, people with learning difficulties, in special places such as a hospital, nursing home, hospices, schools, stressful conditions, and disaster areas.

Read more..

Is Your Dog Colorblind?

Unlike the popular belief that dogs are colorblind, your dog can actually see more than you have thought. The vision in the dog is much more similar to humans, however, they do not perceive the color as we do.

The movement and color are perceived by rods and cone cells in the retina respectively.

Retina is a layer at the back of the eyeball that contains cells sensitive to light, which trigger nerve impulses that pass via the optic nerve to the brain, where a visual image is formed.

Human eyes have more cones than rods, hence they can perceive more colors. They are also gifted with fovea which enables them to see the image in higher resolution. However, dogs possess more rods than cones which enables them to perceive light and movement, hence they are able to see better in the dark.

Anatomy of Dog’s Eyes

Dog’s eyes are similar to us humans. Their eye anatomy is similar to us which contains cornea, pupil, lens, retina, and rods, and cones. Like us, dogs do often encounter eye problems which are prone in humans.

Although the positioning of a dog’s eyes is a lot like us— at the front of the face, they have a better visual field.

Dogs have a total visual field of about 240-250 degrees which is 20% greater than that of a human. Dogs can pick the movement of objects better.

Unlike humans, dog’s eyes can’t perceive high-resolution vision. They have a better peripheral vision but lack binocular-vision like us.

A Dog’s Color spectrum

The human eye can see 7,000,000 colors. Some of these are eyesores. Certain colors and color relationships can be eye irritants, cause headaches, and wreak havoc with human vision.

To put it in simple term, the dogs' color field consists mostly of yellows, blues, and violets, while humans can perceive reds, greens, and oranges, which aren't distinguishable to dogs. Instead, they appear somewhere on their yellow to blue spectrum.

Dogs are Dichromats

Dichromacy is the state of having two types of functioning color receptors, called cone cells, in the eyes. Organisms with dichromacy are called dichromats.

dogs color spectrum

Canine's Night Vision Ability

With more rod cells in the eyes, Dogs are better at perceiving movement and vision in the dark. Rod helps to perceive movement and vision, however, it lacks clarity and resolution generating cell called ‘fovea’. Dogs aren’t as good as humans in perceiving the detail image of an object. However, they are very good at catching movement hence are a good chaser. They can see better in the dark, hence, they notice even small change in movement even in low light.

Dog's Sense of Smell

Humans have a typical sense of smell, however, dogs can smell far better than us. That’s because dogs have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. A human nose has only around 400 types of scent receptors.

Dog’s make up with their heightened sense of smell for their lower perception of colors.

Vision issues in Dogs

Dogs often lose their sight due to multiple factors. Some of the common factors are;

  • Aging
  • Heredity
  • Disease
  • Injury

Blindness in dogs is sometimes a secondary symptom to other diseases such as heart, liver, or kidney ailments or other systemic diseases such as diabetes.

10 New Year Resolutions from your Pets

What are you looking forward to doing this year? Work less, enjoy more, and eat healthily?

Like you, your pets look for greater things in life. If your pets could talk, this is what they would wish to do this year.

Adopt Shelter Pets

Approximately 6.5 million pets enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized due to lack of shelter and adoptive homes.

The cost of adopting a new shelter pet may cost $0- $500. The cost of adopting a new dog depends on its age and breed. Most feeds are taken by the shelter homes to take care of the necessary needs of the pet including vaccination, spay or neutering, and microchip etc. Most fees go into the shelter homes’ fund.

Go Hiking

This New Year, consider going on a hike with your beloved pets. Most small pets can hike 10 miles a day. A large dog can hike more. However, the hiking ability of canine isn’t determined by their size but age, health, and ability to breathe well.

Dogs with physical ailments can’t hike a long distance. And, you must provide paw protection to avoid any injury. Going outdoors with your pets can be the best thing to do. You can spend precious time with our pet indulging in a fun activity.

Pay Regular visit to Vets

Regular wellness exams help the vet to evaluate or determine the changes in your pet’s health and diagnose conditions before they get worse. Regular well-checks help to save valuable time, money and stress in the long run. Well, Check includes the pre-examination and physical examination to assess the overall health of your pet.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends for dogs and cats to have check-ups annually, at least.

Socialize more

Dogs are a social animal. They enjoy the company of humans and fellow pets. Socialization should begin at a young age which helps them to adapt to social circle and behavior. The ideal age is between 3 and 14 weeks of age for puppies.

Socialization helps to elevate stress in animals. Here are few tips to socialize your pets.

  • Take your pet out to observe other animals
  • Resist tugging while walking
  • Go to pet training classes
  • Ignore your pet's unwanted behavior
  • Introduce other pets/animals slowly

Groom often

Grooming is a process that ensures your pet’s hygiene and appearance is kept at an optimum level. Grooming may involve cutting or trimming hairs, brushing, washing, cutting nails, cleaning teeth and others.

Some of the benefits of grooming are;

  • Eradicate Health Problem –Grooming lessens the chances of contacting health problems, such as skin allergy, parasitic infections, scratches, and matted hair.
  • Cleanliness –General tidiness and physical appearance.
  • Vital Organs in Check –Grooming also monitors the status of essential body parts for the infection.
  • Physical Appeal –The physical appearance and standard are maintained with regular grooming.
  • Stress-free environment –Grooming helps to keep the fur even, clean, and unmated which helps to lessen the stress.

Get Pet Insurance

Pet insurance helps to cover medical costs and ensure your pet gets the optimum services during the emergency. It doesn’t only the pet owners to save cost, but make better decisions about the pet’s health based on finances.

Pet insurance can greatly decrease the cost of visiting vets from plain illness to major injuries. In an emergency, the insurance can be a lifesaver. Insurance offers the veterinarians freedom to provide the most comprehensive care possible.


You can choose to add more to the list. Ensure to keep your pets happy at any cost. They aren’t just your pets but a life-companion.

How to make sure Pets have a Purr-fect time this Christmas?

Christmas is a festival of joy. It brings your family and friends closer along with your pets. When you consider your pet a companion, you must consider keeping them happy. Christmas can be a great time to make them happy, as your furry friends need a great time too.

Here are few tips to remind every pet owner how to make sure pets have a Purr-fect time this Christmas.

Nutritional Meal

Nutrition is the most essential part of any pet’s life despite the change in weather, time, or even holidays. Both cats and dogs love to nibble on the food items including chocolates and holiday-meal residue, which can be harmful. A balanced diet is critically important to your dog’s cell maintenance and growth and overall health.

  • Protein – Eggs, skinless poultry, and dairy products. Note: Avoid holiday turkey as it contains garlic and other seasonings that can be harmful.
  • FatOmega-6 (linoleic acid) food. Fat provides concentrated energy and helps to absorb protein.
  • Carbohydrates –Whole grain, fruits, and vegetables. Carbs are generally the main caloric source in most dog food brands.
  • Vitamins –Vitamin is essential to perform many bodily functions. Tuna, mackerel, salmon, dairy products, beef liver, and egg yolks.
  • Minerals –Mineral is important for growth and strength, although it makes up only 1% of a dog’s body weight. Calcium and Phosphorus are the two main mineral requirement for pets.
  • Water –A dog should drink between ½ and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day to maintain their pH level and to keep bodily functions active.

Enough Exercise

Pets tend to easily add up weight in winters. As the outdoor activity gets minimum and the meal intake increases, pets can easily gain weight which can pose many health-related issues. Shedding pound can be difficult if they get less exercise. As a pet owner, you must consider offering enough exercise and play time for your pets. Get them outside the house, indulge in physical activity, or simply keep their weight and meal intake in check.

New Bed, Blanket or Mattress

It's winter and high time to switch their old mattress, bed, or blanket with new ones. Buy cozy and warm materials for your furry friend and protect them from the cold. You can buy a holiday-themed bed, fleece blanket, cushion, or mattress. Pets enjoy sitting in a colorful setting.

Christmas Goodies

You can gift Christmas goodies to your furry friend this season. Consider buying them an Apple Mint Christmas Dog Bones, Gingerbread Dog Cookies, Christmas Cookies, Dog Candy Canes, Dog Treats with pumpkin and peanut butter, Irresistible Christmas Cookie Dog Treats, Mutt Mints or Nutty Bacon Dog Treats. Like us, pets enjoy holiday-themed goodies too. As they are a food-lover, Christmas goodies can be a great treat.

Adopt a new pet

Consider adopting a new pet instead of buying one from the pet-farm. Approximately 6.5 million pets enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats) due to lack of shelter and adoptive homes. The shelter animals need love and care too, and who can be their best companion than a pet owner.

Christmas is a festival of joy indeed, and what could be better than splurging on your favorite companions.

Vitamin D Toxicity in Pets

The pet food brands made into the news lately. The excess nutrients found in the popular dog food brands recently stirred the debate on keeping a closer look at the pet food contents.

The report submitted by FDA (Food and Drug Administration) suggests that several popular brands of dog food have 70x the safe levels of Vitamin D which could kill dogs. Although it is rare, it is noteworthy to understand how it can adversely affect your pets.

Vitamin D Toxicity

Vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of excess calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia) which can cause various physical and mental ailments such as nausea, vomiting, weakness, or even kidney failure and death.

The homemade and raw meals lack Vitamin D, hence, most pet food brands added extra Vitamin D to compensate the homemade meal. At least 11 different labels or dog food brands were asked to recall their products by FDA.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Toxicity

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • Increased urination (polyuria)
  • Dark tarry feces containing blood
  • Presence of blood in vomit
  • Loss of weight
  • Constipation
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremor
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive drooling

Cholecalciferol & Vitamin D3

Cholecalciferol, also known as Vitamin D3 is a type of Vitamin D which is naturally produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. It’s also found in some human and pet foods or is taken as a dietary supplement.

It is important for the absorption of calcium from the stomach and for the functioning of calcium in the entire body. Cholecalciferol is used as a treatment or to prevent health conditions caused by a lack of vitamin D, especially skin and bone conditions.

Exposure

Taking 60,000 international units (IU) a day of Vitamin D for a longer period of time has been shown to cause Vitamin toxicity.

Cholecalciferol based rodenticides

Anti-coagulant Rodenticides commonly consist of Cholecalciferol. Concentration is typically 0.075% or 750ppm which equates to about 23mg/ounce of rodenticide. The clinical signs of toxicity are noted at > 0.5mg/kg of cholecalciferol ingestion, therefore a 44-pound dog would need to eat less than 1/2 ounce to cause toxicity.

Vitamin D Supplements

The intake of Vitamin D supplement is common in most pet food brands. Pet owners choose to add Vitamin D to their regular meal to compensate for its lack of nutrients. Multivitamins contain a relatively small amount of Vitamin D, hence, toxicity from multivitamin ingestion is rare. Primary Vitamin D supplements contain a large amount of cholecalciferol which raises the concern of toxicity.

Vitamin D Analogs

There are multiple Vitamin D analogs approved for use in humans which is included in psoriasis creams used for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism, doxercalciferol, or Hectoral which is used for the reduction of pTH (Parathyroid hormone). Dogs tend to lick the skin where the cream is being applied. The routinely licking of skin can cause toxicity.

Pet Food Contamination

Several commercially available pet foods have been known to contain Vitamin D as the major nutrient content. The over-supplementation of Vitamin D can lead to toxicity.

Treatment

Decontamination is the major treatment for Vitamin D toxicity. Within the last 4-6 hours of ingestion, vomiting should be induced with apomorphine at 0.03-0.04mg/kg IV. Hydrogen peroxide can be administered at a dose of 2.2ml/kg, with a maximum of 45ml, repeated once.

Hydrogen peroxide should be avoided in the case of cats as they are more susceptible to adverse effects. In cats, vomiting can be attempted with either xylazine at 0.44mg/kg IM or dexmedetomidine at 10mcg/kg IM.