Skip to main content

Effects of body fat mass and therapeutic weight loss on vitamin D status in privately owned adult dogs

  • Tabitha J. Hookey (a1), Robert C. Backus (a1) and Allison M. Wara (a1)

More than one-third of humans and companion dogs in Western societies are overweight or obese. In people, vitamin D deficiency is widespread and associated with obesity, a now recognised inflammatory state. Low vitamin D status occurs in dogs with inflammatory conditions, but its relationship with obesity has not been investigated. In otherwise healthy privately owned adult dogs of ideal body condition (control, n 7) and dogs with overweight to obese body condition (treatment, n 8), serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration and body composition as inferred from 2H-labelled water dilution space were evaluated. Subsequently, the dogs were transitioned to a commercial canine therapeutic weight-loss diet; control dogs were fed to maintain body weight and treatment dogs were energy-restricted to achieve a safe weight-loss rate. Thereafter, serum 25(OH)D concentration was re-evaluated 8 weeks after diet transition, and at the study end, which was 6 months or when ideal body condition was achieved. At study end, body composition analysis was repeated. Initial body condition scores and percentage body fat were positively correlated (ρ = 0·891; P < 0·001). However, percentage body fat and serum 25(OH)D concentration were not significantly correlated. Final serum 25(OH)D concentrations were greater (P < 0·05) than initial concentrations for control and treatment groups, indicating a diet but not weight-loss effect on vitamin D status. These findings suggest that vitamin D status of dogs is not affected by obesity or loss of body fat with therapeutic weight reduction.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Effects of body fat mass and therapeutic weight loss on vitamin D status in privately owned adult dogs
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Effects of body fat mass and therapeutic weight loss on vitamin D status in privately owned adult dogs
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Effects of body fat mass and therapeutic weight loss on vitamin D status in privately owned adult dogs
      Available formats
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Tabitha J. Hookey, email
Hide All

Present address: Royal Canin Canada Company, Puslinch, ON N0B 2J0, Canada

Hide All
1.Flegal, KM, Kruszon-Moran, D, Carroll, MD, et al. (2016) Trends in obesity among adults in the United States, 2005 to 2014. JAMA 315, 22842291.
2.Lund, EM, Armstrong, PJ, Kirk, CA, et al. (2006) Prevalence and risk factors for obesity in adult dogs from private US veterinary practices. Intern J Appl Res Vet Med 4, 177186.
3.McGreevy, PD, Thomson, PC, Pride, C, et al. (2005) Prevalence of obesity in dogs examined by Australian veterinary practices and the risk factors involved. Vet Rec 156, 695702.
4.Courcier, EA, Thomson, RM, Mellor, DJ, et al. (2010) An epidemiological study of environmental factors associated with canine obesity. J Small Anim Pract 51, 362367.
5.Holick, MF & Chen, TC (2008) Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. Am J Clin Nutr 87, 1080S1086S.
6.Hyppönen, E, Läärä, E, Reunanen, A, et al. (2001) Intake of vitamin D and risk of type 1 diabetes: a birth-cohort study. Lancet 358, 15001503.
7.Ponsonby, AL, Lucas, RM & van der Mei, IA (2005) UVR, vitamin D and three autoimmune diseases – multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis. Photochem Photobiol 81, 12671275.
8.Tamer, G, Arik, S, Tamer, I, et al. (2011) Relative vitamin D insufficiency in Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Thyroid 21, 891896.
9.Pilz, S, Dobnig, H, Winklhofer-Roob, B, et al. (2008) Low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D predict fatal cancer in patients referred to coronary angiography. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 17, 12281233.
10.Ahonen, MH, Tenkanen, L, Teppo, L, et al. (2000) Prostate cancer risk and prediagnostic serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (Finland). Cancer Causes Control 11, 847852.
11.Wang, TJ, Pencina, MJ, Booth, SL, et al. (2008) Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease. Circulation 117, 503511.
12.Dobnig, H, Pilz, S, Scharnagl, H, et al. (2008) Independent association of low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Arch Intern Med 168, 13401349.
13.Gorham, ED, Garland, CF, Garland, FC, et al. (2007) Optimal vitamin D status for colorectal cancer prevention: a quantitative meta-analysis. Am J Prev Med 32, 210216.
14.Del Pinto, R, Pietropaoli, D, Chandar, AK, et al. (2015) Association between inflammatory bowel disease and vitamin D deficiency: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Inflamm Bowel Dis 21, 27082717.
15.Compston, JE, Vedi, S, Ledger, JE, et al. (1981) Vitamin D status and bone histomorphometry in gross obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 34, 23592363.
16.Buffington, C, Walker, B, Cowan, GS Jr, et al. (1993) Vitamin D deficiency in morbidly obese. Obes Surg 3, 421424.
17.Bell, NH, Epstein, S, Greene, A, et al. (1985) Evidence for alteration of the vitamin D endocrine system in obese subjects. J Clin Invest 76, 370373.
18.Liel, Y, Ulmer, E, Shary, J, et al. (1988) Low circulating vitamin D in obesity. Calcif Tissue Int 43, 199201.
19.Selting, KA, Sharp, CR, Ringold, R, et al. (2016) Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in dogs – correlation with health and cancer risk. Vet Comp Oncol 14, 295305.
20.Gow, AG, Else, R, Evans, H, et al. (2011) Hypovitaminosis D in dogs with inflammatory bowel disease and hypoalbuminaemia. J Small Anim Pract 52, 411418.
21.Parker, VJ, Harjes, LM, Dembek, K, et al. (2017) Association of vitamin D metabolites with parathyroid hormone, fibroblast growth factor-23, calcium, and phosphorous in dogs with various stages of chronic kidney disease. J Vet Intern Med 31, 791798.
22.Gerber, B, Hässig, M & Reusch, CE (2003) Serum concentrations of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol and 25-hydroxycholecalciferol in clinically normal dogs and dogs with acute and chronic renal failure. Am J Vet Res 64, 11611166.
23.Kraus, MS, Rassnick, KM, Wakshlag, JJ, et al. (2014) Relation of vitamin D status to congestive heart failure and cardiovascular events in dogs. J Vet Intern Med 28, 109115.
24.Wakshlag, JJ, Rassnick, KM, Malone, EK, et al. (2011) Cross-sectional study to investigate the association between vitamin D status and cutaneous mast cell tumours in Labrador retrievers. Br J Nutr 106, S60S63.
25.Rosa, CT, Schoeman, JP, Berry, JL, et al. (2013) Hypovitaminosis D in dogs with spirocercosis. J Vet Intern Med 27, 11591164.
26.Gerber, B, Hauser, B & Reusch, CE (2004) Serum levels of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol and 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol in dogs with hypercalcaemia. Vet Res Commun 8, 669680.
27.German, AJ, Hervera, M, Hunter, L, et al. (2009) Improvement in insulin resistance and reduction in plasma inflammatory adipokines after weight loss in obese dogs. Domest Anim Endocrinol 37, 214226.
28.Wakshlag, JJ, Struble, A, Levine, C, et al. (2011) The effects of weight loss on adipokines and markers of inflammation in dogs. Br J Nutr 106, S11S14.
29.Barić Rafaj, J, Kuleš, A, Marinculić, A, et al. (2017) Plasma markers of inflammation and hemostatic and endothelial activity in naturally overweight and obese dogs. BMC Vet Res 6, 13.
30.Weidner, N, Woods, JP, Conlon, P, et al. (2017) Influence of various factors on circulating 25(OH) vitamin D concentrations in dogs with cancer and healthy dogs. J Vet Intern Med 31, 17961803.
31.Laflamme, D (1997) Development and validation of a body condition score system for dogs. A clinical tool. Canine Pract 22, 1015.
32.WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee (2013) Muscle condition score. (accessed May 2017).
33.Brooks, D, Churchill, J, Fein, K, et al. (2014) 2014 AAHA weight management guidelines for dogs and cats. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 50, 111.
34.Hollis, BF & Frank, NE (1985) Solid phase extraction system for vitamin D and its major metabolites in human plasma. J Chromatogr 343, 4349.
35.Lensmeyer, GL, Wiebe, DA, Binkley, N, et al. (2006) HPLC method for 25-hydroxyvitamin D measurement: comparison with contemporary assays. Clin Chem 56, 11201126.
36.Burkholder, WJ & Thatcher, CD (1998) Validation of predictive equations for use of deuterium oxide dilution to determine body composition of dogs. Am J Vet Res 59, 927937.
37.Backus, RC, Ginzinger, DG, Ashbourne Excoffon, KJ, et al. (2001) Maternal expression of functional lipoprotein lipase and effects on body fat mass and body condition scores of mature cats with lipoprotein lipase deficiency. Am J Vet Res 62, 264269.
38.Jennings, G, Bluck, L, Wright, A, et al. (1999) The use of infrared spectrophotometry for measuring body water spaces. Clin Chem 45, 10771081.
39.Lukaski, HC & Johnson, PE (1985) A simple, inexpensive method of determining total body water using a tracer dose of D2O and infrared absorption of biological fluids. Am J Clin Nutr 41, 363370.
40.Pace, N & Rathburn, EN (1945) Studies on body composition III: the body water and chemically combined nitrogen content in relation to fat content. J Biol Chem 158, 685691.
41.Young, LR & Backus, RC (2016) Oral vitamin D supplementation at five times the recommended allowance marginally affects serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in dogs. J Nutr Sci 5, e31.
42.Baeke, F, Gysemans, C, Korf, H, et al. (2010) Vitamin D insufficiency: implications for the immune system. Pediatr Nephrol 25, 15971606.
43.Wortsman, J, Matsuoka, LY, Chen, TC, et al. (2000) Decreased bioavailability of vitamin D in obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 72, 690693.
44.Blum, M, Dolnikowski, G, Seyoum, E, et al. (2008) Vitamin D3 in fat tissue. Endocrine 33, 9094.
45.Rosenstreich, SJ, Rich, C & Volwiler, W (1971) Deposition in and release of vitamin D3 from body fat: evidence for a storage site in the rat. J. Clin Invest 50, 679687.
46.Drincic, AT, Armas, LA, Van Diest, EE, et al. (2012) Volumetric dilution, rather than sequestration best explains the low vitamin D status of obesity. Obesity 20, 14441448.
47.Ding, C, Gao, D, Wilding, J, et al. (2012) Vitamin D signalling in adipose tissue. Br J Nutr 108, 19151923.
48.Sharp, CR, Selting, KA & Ringold, R (2015) The effect of diet on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in dogs. BMC Res Notes 8, 442.
49.Tryfonidou, MA, Holl, MS, Vastenburg, M, et al. (2003) Hormonal regulation of calcium homeostasis in two breeds of dogs during growth at different rates. J Anim Sci 81, 15681580. Jongh, RT, van Schoor, NM & Lips, P (2017) Changes in vitamin D endocrinology during aging in adults. Mol Cell Endocrinol 453, 144150.
51.Titmarsh, HF, Gow, AG, Kilpatrick, S, et al. (2015) Low vitamin D status is associated with systemic and gastrointestinal inflammation in dogs with a chronic enteropathy. PLOS ONE 10, e0137377.
52.Waldron, JL, Ashby, HL, Cornes, MP, et al. (2013) Vitamin D: a negative acute phase reactant. J Clin Pathol 66, 620622.
53.Codoñer-Franch, P, Tavárez-Alonso, S, Simó-Jordá, R, et al. (2012) Vitamin D status is linked to biomarkers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial activation in obese children. J Pediatr 161, 848854.
54.Spoo, JW, Downey, RL, Griffitts, C, et al. (2015) Plasma vitamin D metabolites and C-reactive protein in stage-stop racing endurance sled dogs. J Vet Intern Med 29, 519525.
55.Ibero-Baraibar, I, Navas-Carretero, S, Abete, I et al. (2015) Increases in plasma 25(OH)D levels are related to improvements in body composition and blood pressure in middle-aged subjects after a weight loss intervention: longitudinal study. Clin Nutr 34, 10101017.
56.Reinehr, T, de Sousa, G, Alexy, U, et al. (2007) Vitamin D status and parathyroid hormone in obese children before and after weight loss. Eur J Endocrinol 157, 225232.
57.Tzotzas, T, Papadopoulou, FG, Tziomalos, K, et al. (2010) Rising serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D levels after weight loss in obese women correlate with improvement in insulin resistance. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 95, 42514257.
58.Mazaki-Tovi, M, Bolin, SR & Schenck, PA (2016) Differential secretion of adipokines from subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue in healthy dogs: association with body condition and response to troglitazone. Vet J 216, 136141.
59.Kobayashi, T, Koie, H, Kusumi, A et al. (2014) Comparative investigation of body composition in male dogs using CT and body fat analysis software. J Vet Med Sci 76, 439446.
60.Thengchaisri, N, Theerapun, W, Kaewmokul, S et al. (2014) Abdominal obesity is associated with heart disease in dogs. BMC Vet Res 10, 116.
61.Ishioka, K, Okumura, M, Sagawa, M et al. (2005) Computed tomographic assessment of body fat in beagles. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 46, 4953.
62.Gangloff, A, Bergeron, J, Pelletier-Beaumont, E, et al. (2015) Effect of adipose tissue volume loss on circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels: results from a 1-year lifestyle intervention in viscerally obese men. Int J Obes (Lond) 39, 16381643.
63.How, KL, Hazewinkel, HA & Mol, JA (1994) Dietary vitamin D dependence of cat and dog due to inadequate cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D. Gen Comp Endocrinol 96, 1218.
64.Morris, JG (1999) Ineffective vitamin D synthesis in cats is reversed by an inhibitor of 7-dehydrocholestrol-Δ7-reductase. J Nutr 129, 903908.
65.National Research Council Ad Hoc Committee on Dog and Cat Nutrition (2006) Nutrient requirements and dietary nutrient concentrations. In Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats, pp. 354370. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
66.Berg, AH, Powe, CE, Evans, MK et al. (2015) 24,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 and vitamin D status of community-dwelling black and white Americans. Clin Chem 61, 877884.
67.Mawby, DI, Bartges, JW, d'Avignon, A, et al. (2004) Comparison of various methods for estimating body fat in dogs. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 40, 109114.
68.Schmid, A & Walther, B (2013) Natural vitamin D content in animal products. Adv Nutr 4, 453462.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Nutritional Science
  • ISSN: 2048-6790
  • EISSN: 2048-6790
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-nutritional-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed