Is calcium essential for dogs to eat?

Calcium foods for dogs


April 8, 2021

Is calcium essential for dogs to eat?

There is a growing trend among dog owners to feed their dogs food that they have prepared themselves to feed them a better, healthier diet. This article will discuss how it is vital to incorporate calcium into home-cooked dog food because giving a dog an inadequate amount of calcium could harm him rather than benefit him.

Often people fail to remember to include calcium in their dog food recipes, which leads to nutrient deficiencies in puppies and adult dogs. Not enough calcium is dangerous to dogs long term. Calcium imbalances may lead to orthopedic issues, especially when a large breed puppy first becomes mobile. A dog with too little calcium can develop bone diseases as they grow.

Many recipes available online for DIY diets don't include calcium in their recipes. In addition, your pet's diet becomes depleted by giving them too many treats. Small pets, and those who sleep a lot, are most vulnerable. Make sure to give small treats, rather than large ones. Pets would prefer two or three tiny treats instead.


Nutritional benefits of calcium for dogs

Most people think if your pets' blood calcium levels are normal, they're getting enough calcium in their diet. This is not the case since both humans and dogs must keep their blood calcium levels within a specified range. If not, severe health issues can emerge, such as seizures and death.  Puppies' calcium levels tend to be affected by dietary calcium, while vitamin D intake can influence calcium absorption. A dog’s blood calcium level is also controlled by storing calcium in the bones, then retrieving it when necessary, which happens when there’s not enough calcium in their diet. 

When your dog's calcium supply is too low for a prolonged period of time, they develop nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism. Secondary hyperparathyroidism is usually caused by calcium deficiency and vitamin D deficiency. Excess parathyroid hormone can deplete the body's calcium. This will lead to lethargy, bone pain, swelling, being stiff, and even fractures.  There's another hormone called parathyroid hormone that gets elevated levels of phosphorus when the body needs calcium from its bones, which causes elevated levels of phosphorus in the blood. It's different from thyroid hormones. It is possible to develop hyperparathyroidism as a result of parathyroid disease or a kidney infection.  

Delaying treatment could lead to a serious spinal condition, congenital disorders of the teeth, and neurological problems. They may suffer malformed legs and have difficulty walking. Ultimately, they will no longer be as healthy. Perhaps we may have frightened you into wanting to add the right quantity of calcium into your dog’s homemade food – partly this was our intention because we only want what’s best for our canine friends. 


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When to not put calcium in your Dog’s food

Do not add calcium to commercial diets labeled as “complete & balanced” – this already has the right amount of calcium! Adding calcium to a “complete & balanced” diet would be particularly dangerous to large breed puppies.

Despite this, there are several exceptions to the rule when it comes to calcium that is worth mentioning. 

Do not add calcium to a home-cooked diet if:

  • No calcium supplements are needed if raw diets contain 25 percent or more bone — cartilage is highly nutritious and bones have a high calcium content. For example, Balance IT and Just Food For Dogs manufacture products designed to complement and balance a homemade diet food For Dogs. 


  • One also does not need to add calcium if you use a dog food “base mix,” such as those made by The Honest Kitchen and Sojo’s, that you combine with your own added protein source according to the product directions. There should be added calcium in every supplement or base mix that you use. Please do not accept the statements of the company's owners and reps or staffers of a pet food store. Pet food manufacturers that are not able to supply nutritional details at the time should not be relied upon on a regular basis.

Recommended Calcium Intake per day.

Dogs in the United States should receive 1.25 grams of calcium for each 1,000 calories consumed this is in accordance with what the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)’s research. You should determine the amount of calcium your dog needs daily by taking into account its size and weight. 


How can calcium deficiency manifest in dogs?

Several conditions can manifest as calcium deficiency in dogs, including inflammation of the pancreas, renal failure, parathyroid gland failure, and hypocalcemia. 

This disorder manifests in the following manner:

  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Muscle twitching
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures

You should have your dog examined by a veterinarian if you suspect that his/her body is lacking calcium. Your veterinarian will probably prescribe calcium supplements if he/she is deficient in calcium.


Add calcium to your dog's diet to improve its Health

Your dog will have a stronger coat and teeth as a result of adding calcium to his diet, as well as healthier bones, teeth, and gums. Dietary supplements help your dog's overall nutrition and digestive health. 


The Best Calcium Sources for Dogs

These shouldn't come as a surprise, but integrating these calcium rich food into your dog's diet is not always easy!


Yogurt for dogs

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt contains the most calcium for dogs. A cup of yogurt contains 450 mg of calcium. Depending on your dog’s size, you may be able to feed her just a spoonful or two. Adding plain yogurt to your dog’s meal will make them extremely happy.


Cheese for dogs

  1. Cheese

Dairy products like cheese, like cheddar and jack, are high in calcium. One ounce of cheddar or jack contains 200 mg of calcium. To add cheese to your dog’s diet, add it in bite-sized pieces in his or her meal. Many dogs prefer cottage cheese, which contains 65 mg of calcium in 1/2 cup. Just add a 1/2 cup to your dog’s food.


Chicken and Fish

  1. Chicken and Fish

A lot of calcium-rich foods are available such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines. Chicken is the best protein source filled with calcium. You can find chicken or fish made into dog food products because they contain calcium. 

Dogs love this: If you give your dog high-calorie foods that contain chicken and fish, they are likely to approve. Otherwise, they can have scraps of chicken and fish.


Vegetables for dogs

  1. Vegetables

In addition to the foods you can consume, you may also choose to eat foods high in calcium, such as the following: Bok Choy, Broccoli, Collard greens, Corn, Kale, Spinach, Turnips

In each cup of spinach or broccoli, there are 240 mg of calcium and 180 mg of calcium respectively. Vegetables are also good for your dog since they are low in fat. These are also healthy for dogs who struggle with their weight. Serve your dog the vegetables sliced up in bite-sized pieces with their meal or as snacks.



  1. Bones

Dogs enjoy chewing on bones as they ought to. However, some bones are dangerous for your dog's mouth, or they can cause stomach upset if not properly chewed. 

Incorporating Bones into Your Dog’s Diet: As a treat, dogs can be given raw or cooked bones. However, cooked bones are much better for digestion. If you’re worried about your dog choking on a bone, you can crush the bone into a powder and add it to the dog’s food.


Supplements containing calcium

  1. Supplements containing calcium

Calcium supplements make it easy for you to give calcium to your dog. Supplements take the guesswork out of whether or not your dog is getting the right amount.


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