It’s a well-known fact that humans need vitamin D to maintain good health, but what about animals with fur? It turns out that they also need it – but not for the same reasons.
Most animals, including bears and dogs, can’t produce their own vitamin D because they lack an enzyme called 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase, which is responsible for converting cholesterol into this essential vitamin. So how do these furry creatures get enough of the nutrient?
In the wild, animals get their vitamin D by eating a certain type of worm that contains it. Worms have been found to contain small amounts in the soil and dirt too – but this is not enough for furry creatures who spend time outside (or inside) all day long during springtime when there’s more sunlight!
So for many, it is a mystery how they get vitamin D without going to the vet and getting shots! Some scientists have an idea though: when they lick their fur, it rubs off on them and gets absorbed through their skin. Other animals like seals also store vitamin d from eating fish with it.
1. They lick their fur
Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in many parts of the world. One way that animals have evolved to get vitamin D is by licking their fur. The sun will cause the animal’s skin to produce vitamin D, which will then be transferred into its fur and licked off by the animal.
So if you have you ever wondered why animals lick their fur? It’s not just to stay clean. They do it because they need vitamin D for healthy bones and teeth, but how do hairy animals get enough of the sun-activated nutrient? They lick their fur.
Animals that have hair on them like lions, bears, tigers and some other mammals spend time licking themselves to absorb the vitamin D from their skin oils.
2. They eat bugs that have vitamin D in them
Hairy animals need vitamin D to maintain their healthy coats. However, most of them don’t get enough sunlight to produce the vitamin naturally. This is a problem because hairless animals can suffer from sunburns and skin cancer.
Luckily for these animals, some bugs have been found to provide natural sources of vitamin D! These bugs are often eaten by hairy animals in order to supplement their diet with the needed vitamins.
3. They go outside and get some sun on their skin
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that helps regulate calcium and phosphorus in the body. It also regulates blood pressure, muscle strength, immune function, bone health, mood and more! Vitamin D can be obtained from food sources such as fatty fish (salmon for example), eggs, fortified milk and cereal or from sunlight.
There are a few animals who get their vitamin D primarily from sunlight: people with lighter skin tones living closer to the equator have enough sun exposure year-round; some animals like cats and dogs go outside on sunny days; birds maintain healthy levels by taking short flights through sunshine.
Just like humans, they can’t get all of their vitamin D from food alone. It also helps them stay healthy and clean.
So the next time your pet looks at you with those big brown eyes while you’re getting ready for work, don’t feel bad about letting him out for a few minutes so he can enjoy some fresh air and sunshine!