Nutritional Supplements for Squirrels
Vitamin supplementation is not required or recommended if you are feeding the squirrel a balanced diet (80% rodent block, 20% healthy vegetables and fruits*) and ensuring access to natural or artificial unfiltered light** for at least 20 minutes per day.
Supplementing a squirrel’s diet is tricky since an over or under abundance of vitamins and minerals over a long period of time is generally very harmful to the squirrel - Particularly with the fat soluble vitamins A, E and D***.
When to Supplement a Squirrel's Diet
The exception to the no-supplementation rule is:
If the squirrel has no access to unfiltered natural or artificial sunlight, then vitamin D3 supplementation (or foods with high concentrations of the vitamin) are highly recommended
The squirrel is injured, ill or highly stressed; in which case, C and B vitamins may help with the natural healing processes. Both are water soluble and generally don't pose a risk if provided within reasonable tolerances of the recommended dosages
The squirrel is pregnant
The squirrel is showing signs of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) such as lose of hind limb use or profound weakness, painful movement, etc. Since this disease is almost always fatal, or at the very least , progressively painful and debilitating, you must supplement with the right dose of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium. If the squirrel shows signs of MBD, seek immediate veterinary assistance from a resource experienced with this disease in wildlife or reptiles.
Squirrel Supplementation Guide
This vitamin supplementation schedule was excerpted from the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation A1 Manual.
Important Notes about Supplementation
*Artificial light bulbs must be replaced at the recommended schedule by the manufacturer to ensure potency sufficient for the body to manufacture vitamin D naturally.
**Vitamin D in higher dosages is used commercially as a rodenticide to kill rats so you must take extreme care when supplementing.
***Only use products safe for rodents, rabbits and other small domestic pets such as guinea pigs or hamsters available online or at most pet stores at the recommended dosages.
Please discuss diet with a knowledgeable resource or your veterinarian.
Squirrel Refuge makes every effort to publish accurate information. It is your responsibility to verify the accuracy of all information, claims, and advice before taking any action that may cause harm to your pet or wildlife in your care. If you believe any information is inaccurate, please contact us.