How to Keep your Dog Healthy During the Winter Months

The Sunshine Vitamin!

We’re all pretty good at staying on top of our own health especially during the winter months, but that makes you wonder, how does your dog stay on top of their health?

Personally, I take extra vitamin D during the colder season since I’m not out basking in the sunshine as much as I’d like – mostly because there isn’t that much sunshine to bask in right now!

So how does your dog get his vitamins? Well, there is the obvious factor like absorbing it through their food, but there’s another interesting way both cats and dogs can get their daily dose…

Our furry friends love to lay in that little patch of sun flooding in through the window, followed by an inevitable ‘cleaning’ where they proceed to lick their fur. When they do this, they’re actually ingesting all of the vitamin D that was absorbed by their fur! Who knew!?

Us humans absorb vitamin D through our skin so it’s no surprise that dogs would absorb it through licking their fur that was exposed to those warm, comforting rays of sunshine!

Most of us know it’s important they get a healthy dose of the vitamin for its many positive effects, but what could happen if they don’t? The NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) explains, “Vitamin D plays an indirect role in bone growth and maintenance by managing levels of calcium in the body. It controls absorption of calcium from the intestine, the movement of calcium in and out of bone, and the amount of calcium excreted by the kidneys. Muscles and nerves also require vitamin D for proper functioning. Insufficient vitamin D levels can lead to congestive heart failure in dogs, as well as an increased risk for complications due to heart disease and bone disorders such as osteomalacia (softening of bones) and rickets (bone deformities). Research has also shown that low levels of vitamin D are linked to an increased risk of cancer.”

Now knowing how important it is for your dog’s fur to absorb the sunshine, how do you handle the fact that they’re always covered up by their coat in the Winter?!

How bout getting them a dog coat that will still let the sun touch them? Consider getting them a Belly Bib. This upside-down coat is going to keep them warm and dry through those yucky slushy months, while still allowing them to absorb all of that good sunshine and vitamin D. Its super unique design leaves their back open and their belly covered so they can stay warm with the sun beating down on them while the cold slush splashes up on their belly (protected by the coat). You can even attach some Leggings to the Belly Bib to get even more underbody protection for the really messy days. Sounds like a win-win-win to us! 

After switching to a smarter dog coat that will help them absorb this important vitamin, you may still be concerned your dog is deficient in vitamin D or any of the other important vitamins he/she needs to keep them happy and healthy. If so, you should consider putting them on a supplement or switching their food to a more vitamin rich diet. There are lots of great supplements out there such as WellyTails Supplements which have the added bonus of being eco-conscious and Canadian! But be sure to always consult your vet first!

We should also mention something you need to be aware of – that too much sunlight can cause those harmful UV rays to damage a dog’s skin in the same way it does with humans (mostly for dogs with a lighter coat/shorter fur and/or light skin) so remember the age old saying – everything in moderation!

Join the conversation!

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Tell us how you supplement your dog’s vitamin intake and what measures you go to in the Winter months to keep them healthy! We might add your tips to our blog, so join the conversation in the comments below for a shout out!

Please note, I am by no means a vet or health practitioner in anyway – always do your research and talk to your vet and/or doctor regarding any questions you may about your health or your dog’s health. Stay happy and healthy friends!


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