People who have dogs know it’s very important to feed their dog a healthy diet—but not all dog owners know which foods are best, or even which nutrients their dog needs most. After all, how often do you think about how much calcium is in your own diet?
Calcium for dogs is one of the minerals that many dogs don’t get enough of. Actually, that’s bad news, because calcium plays a vital role in many daily functions. Luckily, there are several ways to up the calcium in your dog’s diet, including with raw meaty bones or Lively Paws pet supplements.
Why calcium is key
Calcium for dogs is an essential nutrient for supporting a bone health and dog’s teeth. It’s also required to help their blood clot properly, allow their muscles lengthen, contract, and facilitate many cellular functions.
Even if your dogs’ blood calcium levels are normal, your dog may not be getting the right amount of calcium in his diet. Just like humans, the calcium levels within a dog’s bloodstream must be kept within a specific range to prevent serious health issues. Inadequate calcium can lead to loss of muscle control, seizures, and even death.
Adult dogs are able to absorb the amount of calcium their body specifically needs from their food, which helps to keep their levels steady; however, the amount of vitamin D affects this, because vitamin D is required for the uptake of calcium in the body.
Puppies aren’t able to control their absorption of calcium during their early years, which can mean they either get too much or too little. Low levels of vitamin D and calcium can unfortunately have severe health effects on a growing dog. They can develop deformities in their joints and legs that can make them unable to walk normally. If the condition is not fixed quickly, it could lead to long-term bone condition or orthopedic disorder.
Does your dog get enough calcium?
If you’re feeding your dog a balanced, complete raw food diet or giving him raw meaty bones, he’s probably getting enough calcium. However, because meat and most vegetables and grains are not substantial sources of calcium, you may need to ‘top up’ his calcium intake. Calcium for dogs is often recommended for dogs that are eating a home-made diet to ensure he’s getting everything he needs.
Multivitamins that include calcium
A multivitamin is an easy way to add to your dog’s diet and fill in any nutritional gaps. Look for a quality supplement from a reputable brand. Multivitamins can be a good choice if they provide a healthy dose of both calcium and vitamin D3, which is required for the absorption of calcium in the body. Many multivitamin formulas also include minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium—all of which are required for proper utilization of calcium. You will need to understand how many calories your dog needs based on the dog’s weight(not actual but ideal weight). This is because dogs who eat more will need more calcium to balance out the amount of phosphorus in the diet.
The National Research Council (NRC) recommends feeding an adult dog at least 1 mg of calcium per Calorie (kcal), which is the same as 1 gram (1,000 mg) per 1,000 kcal (Mcal). The nutritional guidelines published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has increased this to 1.25 mg calcium/kcal (1.25 grams/Mcal). It’s also recommended to give at least the lowest amount of calcium shown for the dog’s ideal weight.
For puppies, NRC and AAFCO recommend giving at least 3 mg of calcium per calorie. That’s three times the amount of calcium that adult dogs need on a caloric basis.
Raw meaty bones
Raw meaty bones are exactly that: bones covered in connective tissues and raw muscle meat. Bones are an excellent source of bioavailable calcium and other nutrients that play a vital role in a dog’s health. Be sure to check that the bones are safe for consumption. Ribs from pigs, lambs, and goats are a good source of raw meaty bones that can be safe for medium to giant breeds. However, singular rib bones can be a choking hazard, so it’s best to feed ribs in groups of 2–3 ribs rather than single pieces.
Rib bones from larger animals, such as cows, should be kept away from as the bones are more dense. denser and can increase risk of tooth fractures. Never feed cooked bones as they can splinter and cause serious health issues.