Do dogs and cats need calcium?
While many people are aware of calcium deficiency in people leading to osteoporosis, one of the most common chronic diseases in both women and men, animal guardians rarely give a thought to supplementing their pets with calcium. Calcium, as well as phosphorus, magnesium and other trace minerals are all involved with healthy skeletal, joint and oral health. Even mild deficiencies over time can contribute to chronic degenerative disorders involving not only the structural components of our body, but major organ systems such as the heart, urinary tract, as well as enzyme reactions throughout the body.
There is even some evidence in the human literature claiming calcium deficiencies help lead to the development of kidney stones, rather than calcium excess. And while most processed commercial pet foods claim to have adequate amounts of both calcium and other minerals, I often find these minerals are either not in an easily digestible form for pets, or in the case of some minerals, are destroyed in the processing of bagging or canning the pet food. That is why it is so essential to feed as fresh and minimally processed diet as possible.
Ideally, this would consist of balanced homemade recipe diets such as those found in Donald Strombeck’s book as well as Richard Pitcairn’s book on natural health for dogs and cats, both of which can be found on the internet. The next best choice would be natural minimally processed commercial diets such as Pet Guard or Wysong. However, even in balanced recipes found in the above books, it is often called to supplement with additional calcium to ensure adequate dietary supplies. This becomes even more critical in pregnant or lactating animals, which can rapidly become calcium deficient when fed strictly grocery or pet store quality commercial pet foods.
There are many excellent options for adding supplemental calcium to a pet’s diet, including Osteoform calcium phosphorus for dogs, which is wonderful for those pregnant and lactating animals, along with the excellent multivitamin Vitachews. I will often use both of these along with essential fatty acids to both pregnant and lactating animals.