What I am about to write will be extremely controversial and is something my editor had me take out of my book as surely no one would believe me. I am not a veterinarian and please check with your veterinarian before considering coping what I will write about today. See, I had a yellow hair Labrador retriever who I love but spoiled. Every Friday I would give him chicken strips from the local chicken place. It wasn’t like he didn’t exercise as for an hour everyday we would play catch. He would retrieve, Cassie my Border Collie would pick the ball up off the ground and place in my lap while Ginger the mutt but smartest dog I ever known would guard us. We did this for years. Then I became ill and stopped. By the time I recovered Ralph was getting older and didn’t/couldn’t play like we did before.
Well I kept feeding him like we were and being yellow haired he had an insatiable appetite. A few facts, Labs are know to have obesity issues which is thought to be a gene deficiency.1,2 Dogs that are given lean diets have been shown to live longer and be healthier.3 A lot of my fellow dog owners have overweight dogs. By feeding him too much he gained weight, a lot of weight. He was a big dog to begin with but soon ballooned to 135 pounds when ideally, he should be around 85.
As a lot was happening in my life I was distracted and didn’t really notice until one day he could barely raise himself from the floor. I knew I needed to do something. Yes, a reoccurring theme in my life, it takes a crisis to get me to act on some things. So, I knew he needed to lose a lot of weight or I was going to lose him. Guess what, yes, I started giving him vitamin D3 capsules like I was taking. Soon he was stronger, stopped snoring and more importantly his weight was dropping. Exactly like I saw in humans. After a couple months he was down to 85 pounds.
See putting him on a diet though great in theory would have made both of us miserable even though he needed it. With the vitamin D3 it appeared to do the same thing it does in humans- reduce appetite, speed up metabolism and block fat absorption. I think it is from their inability at least for one to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D3. They are mammals after all. Also, many mammals from what I understand produce vitamin D precursors that are on their fur and with sun exposure converted to vitamin D3 which when they groom themselves, they ingest.
Thus, either these yellow haired dogs don’t produce enough of the precursors for vitamin D3 or some how don’t get enough. Clearly more study is needed but this would certainly help explain why they always seem to be starving despite how much we feed them. Sort of reminds me of us. Ralph with losing the weight soon was much livelier and went on to live to be 14 years old which is great for a big dog. I only wonder how long he would have lived if I had known to give him vitamin D3 soon. Oh, Cassie a border Collie, she died of cardiomegaly -enlarged heart- which is apparently from in many cases- yes, lack of vitamin D.4 I found this out too late for her as she passed before I started my vitamin D3 experiments.

  1. Raffan E, Rowena J D, O’Donovan C J, et al. (May 10, 2016). “A Deletion in the Canine POMC Gene Is Associated with Weight and Appetite in Obesity-Prone Labrador Retriever Dogs”. Cell Metabolism. 23 (5): 893–900.
  2. Challis B G, Pritchard L E, Creemers J W, et al. A missense mutation disrupting a dibasic prohormone processing site in pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) increases susceptibility to early-onset obesity through a novel molecular mechanism. Hum. Mol. Genet. 2002; 11: 1997-2004.
  3. Larson B T, Lawler D F, Spitznagel Jr E L, et al, (September 1, 2003) Improved Glucose Tolerance with Lifetime Diet Restriction Favorably Affects Disease and Survival in Dogs. The Journal of Nutrition, 133:9 1:2887–2892.
  4. Kraus MS1, Rassnick K M, Wakshlag J J, et al. (Jan-Feb, 2014) Relation of vitamin D status to congestive heart failure and cardiovascular events in dogs. J Vet Intern Med. 28(1):109-15.

*The information posted above is for educational purposes only. Always check with your doctor before initiating any changes in your medical treatment. If you do not, then The Two-Minute Health Fact, Dr. Judson Somerville, nor The Optimal Dose is responsible!

1 Comment

Suleyman s coruh · February 16, 2020 at 5:33 pm


I wanted to add to your story. I had a German Shepard who passed away 4 years ago. I really loved him like most pet owners do. My observation is this; I am from Istanbul Turkey. In Turkey it is illegal to euthinize strays. Although there are a lot of pet shelters for dogs and cats we have quite a few street dogs and cats. Most of them are quite healthy as municipalities give them shots and people feed them with pet food. My observation is this, my dog with the best care and vetenery visits lived 9 years. The street dogs that were in front of my complex when I moved in 10 years ago are 90% all alive. Why? My theory is they lay in the sun winter and summer all day. I always thought there must be a catch. After reading your book and now this blog, I know why. D3 is really a miracle.

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