Is Your Dog Getting the Calcium They Need?

I think we’re all guilty of loving our dogs so much that we often think about making them happy before we think about keeping them healthy.

Of course we’re not consciously trying to compromise their health. In fact, we’d be horrified if anyone ever suggested this. But, unfortunately, we may unknowingly be doing just that.

What could possibly be so detrimental to our dogs’ health? Feeding them a diet that consists mainly of human food…either cooked or raw.

Our food is so tasty…and they just don’t seem to get the same joy eating their food…and it’s just so hard to resist those eyes…and dog food makes Fido scratch…and I could go on and on with all the reasons people feed human food to their dogs.

We probably all know more pet owners than we can count on both hands that “love their dog too much to feed them dog food.” But that attitude can be detrimental to your dog’s health unless you are fully aware of all their nutritional needs, and are willing to supplement where human food falls short.

Balancing Calcium and Phosphorus

There are 2 essential minerals that your dog isn’t likely to get in sufficient amounts if their diet consists mainly of human food: calcium and phosphorus.

Calcium and phosphorous are two minerals that are essential to a healthy diet. Just like humans, dogs need calcium for strong bones, healthy teeth, blood coagulation, muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission.

Along with calcium, dogs need phosphorus in their diet. It’s also important in bone growth, essential to cell membrane development, and it’s a component of DNA. Phosphorus is also necessary for calcium metabolism.

But here’s the tricky part…the balance between calcium and phosphorus is critical. In an effort to give your dog enough calcium in a home cooked diet, it’s easy to give them too much phosphorus. And too much phosphorus is dangerous. Too much of anything in a dog’s diet is dangerous. Excess phosphorus can interfere with calcium uptake and can result in renal failure.

Calcium and Phosphorus in a Home Cooked Diet

If you feed your dog a commercially available balanced dog food, your dog will be getting the right balance between calcium and phosphorus. But problems arise when you feed your dog a diet that consists mainly of human food and you aren’t aware of what nutrients are important in what proportions. It’s easy to overdo it with phosphorus because animal proteins are high in phosphorus.

The ratio of calcium to phosphorus in your dog’s diet should be about 2 to 1 as you can see from the chart below (

Growth Stage % Calcium in the Diet* % Phosphorous in the Diet*
Peak growth and lactation 1.0-1.8 0.8-1.6
Half grown and last trimester of pregnancy 0.8-1.5 0.6-1.2
Adult non-reproducing 0.5-0.9 0.4-0.8

*On a dry matter basis

Interestingly, many foods that are low in calcium are high in phosphorus and foods that are high in calcium are also high in phosphorus.

Here’s the problem in creating a healthy home cooked diet for your dog. Look at these nutrition numbers. Beef has 217 mg of phosphorus and 15 mg of calcium in a 3- ounce serving. Lamb has 162 mg of phosphorus and 14 mg of calcium in a 3- ounce serving.

Now if you wanted to up your dog’s calcium by giving them a slice of American cheese along with the beef or lamb, you’d be giving your dog 156 mg of calcium but they would also be getting 145 mg more of phosphorus.

If you are trying to maintain a 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus, it’s likely you’ll have to add a calcium supplement to a diet that consists mainly of human food in order to just increase calcium without increasing phosphorus.

If you really feel strongly about giving your pooch a mostly home cooked diet, consider a diet that consists of ¾ commercial food, ¼ fresh food. This balance will generally give your dog the nutrients necessary to stay healthy.

But you can feel confident that if you choose to feed your dog a nutritionally balanced premium dog food without fresh food, you are doing the right thing for your beloved pet. Eliminate the worry over whether or not your dog is getting what they need from their food. Tooth extractions and broken bones are the last thing any one wants to see their dog go through.

If you are a customer of Husse you know you can trust that Husse Premium Dog Food is nutritionally balanced for all your dog’s health needs.

If you haven’t tried Husse yet, consider Optimal, Optimal Giant, Optimal Mini, Prima Plus, Senior, Valp or Valp Maxi which all contain the appropriate balance between calcium and phosphorus for optimum health.

Do you feed your dog a home cooked diet? Have you had any difficulties maintaining the right balance between calcium and phosphorus? We’d like to hear what your experience has been.  Leave a Comment above.

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