Why Dogs Need Calcium And How To Get It
As humans, we know that calcium is important for healthy bones. But what you might not know is that calcium is critical for a healthy diet in dogs. It is an essential mineral that many dogs get artificially in their commercial dog food. But if you are making your own dog food or feeding raw, it's crucial that you are keeping calcium in mind for your recipes.
When cooking for dogs or choosing the right meals, you need to make sure you are including calcium, iodine, vitamin D, Vitamin E, salt, Vitamin A, probiotics, and Omegas.
It might seem like a lot to absorb, but it's easy once you get the hang of it.
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Calcium for Dogs: Why They Need It
Calcium is a mineral that is a building block for bones and teeth. It also place a role in their muscles, including the muscles of their hearts and intestines.
Did you know that Calcium is also involved in hormonal signaling and if they aren't getting the right amount of calcium they can quickly fall into failing health?
Calcium is so important to a dog's health, that if aren't getting enough calcium in their diets, their bodies will start leeching it from their bones and weakening them. Calcium is especially important for puppies, pregnant females, and lactating dogs.
“Calcium is essential for neuromuscular, cardiovascular, immune and endocrine function. It’s vital for blood clotting. Calcium forms the skeletal structure or cytoskeleton within each cell. And every cell in the body depends on calcium to support enzyme functions, bodily signaling and to maintain cell membrane stability.” – Dr Ian Billinghurst
Different Conditions Can Cause Low Calcium in Dogs:
Calcium deficiency, or hypocalcemia, is diagnosed with a blood test. A calcium level is often included on blood work panels. If your dog’s calcium level is low, your veterinarian may recommend an additional test called an ionized calcium level to further evaluate the amount of free calcium in your dog’s blood.
Many different conditions can cause low calcium levels in dogs, including:
- Poor diet
- Severe trauma
- Protein-losing enteropathy
- Kidney failure
- Diabetes mellitus
- Urethral obstruction
- Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) toxicity
In order to treat your dog’s calcium deficiency, your veterinarian will first need to determine what caused the low calcium level. Additional diagnostics such as blood work, diagnostic imaging, and a urinalysis may be necessary to fully evaluate the problem.
How To Include Calcium In Your Dog's Diet
When making your dog's food, you need to make sure you are including natural sources of calcium like calcium-rich meats and fish. Let me be clear about this, dogs should not be on a vegan diet.
Our dogs enjoy both dry dog food mixed with healthy fruit, vegetables, and fats and we also give them fresh food daily. We know that feeding a raw diet to our dogs is EXPENSIVE and making every meal for them is time-consuming. This is why we have a combination diet for our dogs that provides them with all the vital nutrition they need.
Our own dogs enjoy changing up their daily meals with toppers like raw goat's milk, milk kefir, lentils, and other fresh foods. We have to be careful not to swap out Riley's food too often to keep an eye on his weight and make sure it doesn't affect Riley's sensitive stomach.
Whole eggs that are hardboiled and ground up are an excellent source of calcium.
However, keep dairy products to a minimum, as too much milk can be inflammatory and actually mute their sense of smell.
Fish high in Calcium are:
Do not feed your dogs raw fish or fish skins. Fish must be cooked to kill bacteria and parasites!
Vegetables high in Calcium:
Do not feed your dog bones.
Even though they are a source of calcium, many bones splinter inside a dog's and can stomach and can puncture organs or tear their intestines. You can obtain powdered bone products or cook the bones and grind them yourself. You can also use organic bone broth as a calcium solution.
Avoid grocery story meats that are usually treated with bleach or added salt.
Feed Your Dog Responsibly
Choosing to share your life with a dog comes with a lot of responsibility for their happiness and health. We are here to help you make the best choices for holistic health and nutrition care of your best friend.
There are so many options out there for food and treats, it's hard to know which one to go with.
One lesson we have learned through the many years of raising dogs is to read the labels. If you can't easily identify the ingredients in your pet's food, that's not the right food for your pet. And just because they sell it at your vet's office, does not make it the best option. Many vets earn a commission on the high-priced food they sell in their offices and don't take the time to do the research on the food they are suggesting.
We will never suggest a food, treat, or toy that we have not personally researched, tested, and know.
Our pets are our best friends, and we would never blindly give them anything that could harm them.
I hope that helps you to make decisions for your pets, that's my intent.
We also have a Facebook group for people who love pets. We would love to have you join the conversation!