Calcium plays a very important role in your dog’s diet. Not only does calcium help build strong bones, it also helps heart function by supporting the contractions in the heart muscle. Calcium also supports nerve transmission, muscle building and signaling, and helps with hormone secretion.
Calcium levels have the ability to remain stable in the body because calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. If the diet is low in calcium, the body will use the resources stored in these areas until more calcium is introduced into the diet. While this stored supply helps keep other body functions running smoothly, shortages of calcium can affect bone and tooth health. That is why it is always a good idea to make sure your dog has a healthy supply of calcium in the diet.
Vitamin D3 is also very important as vitamin D3 helps with the uptake of calcium in the body. These two vital nutrients work together as a team to provide not only healthy bones and teeth, but also to provide the additional support other body functions need
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Not all calcium is equal! The best source of calcium for a dog, when given as a supplement, is either calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. These are both economical and can be found at any supermarket or drug store.
When you are feeding a raw diet with bones and the diet consists of at least 50% easily consumable raw meaty bones, the bones themselves are an excellent source of calcium and provide the levels of calcium needed in the diet.
Commercial dog foods already contain the correct amount of calcium needed, so if you are feeding a commercial kibble, there is no need to add an additional calcium supplement.
If you are feeding a homemade raw or cooked diet that is void of bones, you need to add calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. When adding calcium to this kind of diet, the amount of calcium added depends on the volume of food served and NOT the dog’s weight. The amount of calcium added to the diet needs to be 900 mg of calcium per pound of food served. This is because we need to balance the DIET, not the dog!
When Do You Add Calcium to your Dog’s Diet?
You DO need to add calcium if you are feeding a home-cooked diet. Do NOT cook bones and feed them to your dog. They become hard and splinter!
You DO need to add calcium to your dog’s diet if you are feeding a raw diet, but do NOT feed raw meaty bones.
If feeding either of these two types of diets, you need to add 900 mg of calcium per pound of food fed. Again, don’t forget the vitamin D3! You want to ensure proper uptake of the calcium!
When Do You NOT Add Calcium to your Dog’s Diet?
You do NOT need to add a calcium supplement when you are feeding a raw diet that consists of 50% easily consumable raw meaty bones. These bones include, chicken necks, backs, wings and leg quarters, pork ribs, necks, and breasts, lamb ribs and turkey necks.
You do NOT need to add a calcium supplement if you are feeding a commercial dog food. Commercial foods already contain the correct amount of calcium needed.
You do NOT add calcium to a pregnant bitches diet that already has balanced calcium in it (i.e., raw meaty bones, calcium added to home cooked OR a commercial dog food).
When is it Most Essential That Dogs Have Calcium?
During pregnancy! It is essential that pregnant mothers get all the calcium they need, as well as vitamin D3, fish oil capsules and folic acid! However, do NOT add calcium to a balanced raw diet, a home cooked diet if you are ALREADY adding calcium, or to a commercial pet food. Pregnant dogs need calcium for development of the puppies, but too MUCH calcium can cause eclampsia once the puppies are born.
Some people advise removing ALL BONE from a pregnant bitch’s diet, but this is from the mistaken idea that raw diets have too much calcium. They do not, if the diet is balanced 50%-50% in meat meals and raw meaty bone meals each day. And pregnant bitches also need a source of Vitamin D3 during pregnancy and lactation.
During the puppy stages! It is very important that puppies get the right amount of calcium until their growth plates have closed!
During senior years! Senior dogs need more calcium AND they need high quality protein!
Don’t Forget the Vitamin D3!
Vitamin D3 helps with the uptake of calcium; however, it is not always easy to get the amounts needed. Foods highest in Vitamin D3 include:
- Salmon (also canned, water packed)
- Mackerel (also canned, water packed)
- Sardines (also canned, water packed)
- Plain Yogurt (fortified with vitamin D)
- Beef or calf liver
- Egg Yolks
The Berte’s Immune Blend contains vitamin D3. It also includes vitamins A, B vitamins, C, D and E, plus probiotics and digestive enzymes. Berte’s Daily Blend also contains vitamin D3 and includes vitamins A, B vitamins, C, D and E, plus alfalfa and kelp. Both of these supplements are a great addition to any diet whether you are feeding a raw, home-cooked, or commercial diet.
Don’t forget to add calcium to home-cooked meals at 900 mg per pound of food served. If you feed a raw diet, you don’t need to add calcium if you are making sure 50% of this diet is consumable raw meaty bones. When feeding a raw or home-cooked diet, you also want to make sure you are adding a good variety of proteins. This means you are feeding at least four protein sources. Don’t forget to add eggs, salmon, mackerel or sardines (canned in water is fine!), beef liver and yogurt fortified with vitamin D, and add a supplement with D3, such as the Berte’s Daily Blend!
Summer is almost here!
To help keep your dog’s coat and skin clean and free of parasites be sure to keep your dogs clean! The PurePet Shampoo is an excellent choice for gentle cleaning and the Halo Cloud Nine Herbal Dip is excellent for repelling both fleas and mosquitoes!