There is emerging interest in linking vitamin D status to physiological health and disease states in the dog, as evidenced by the recent increase in publications in this area. This research has most likely been spurred by the studies exploring vitamin D and disease in humans. However, there are important differences in vitamin D intake and metabolism between humans and dogs that should be accounted for. The understanding of basic vitamin D metabolism and the relationship between vitamin D intake and vitamin D status in dogs remains even more limited than current knowledge in humans. This review will summarize current knowledge of vitamin D in the dog, including metabolism and dietary recommendations. Emphasis is placed on the limitations to current knowledge. Studies investigating links between vitamin D and disease will be discussed in light of this knowledge. Suggestions for future research, including the development of reference ranges to define blood vitamin D sufficiency, are provided.
Keywords: 25(OH)D; canine; cholecalciferol; dietary requirements; disease; ergocalciferol.