Calcium Supplements

calcium requirement is higher for pregnant and nursing dogsWhat are calcium supplements?

Various forms of calcium are available for supplementation. Calcium bound to lactate, citrate, ascorbate, and other organic acids appears more easily and completely absorbed than inorganic calcium supplements, such as calcium carbonate.

Practitioners recommending a natural diet often recommend bone meal, in part because it contains an ideal ratio of calcium to phosphorus. Studies in humans demonstrate that bone meal does not appear to have a significantly different impact on calcium and phosphorus metabolism than calcium carbonate (chalk).

Bone meal supplements can, however, contain undesirable heavy metal contaminants such as lead and so are best avoided.

Feeding raw chicken wings, turkey necks, mutton and beef bones is an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus in a biological ratio. This is best done as part of a raw home-prepared diet. Please feel free to discuss the feeding of raw bones with the vets. Cooked bones can splinter in the mouth and puncture the gut. They should never be fed. We can advise you on the best bones for your dog.

Why recommend administration of calcium supplements to my pet?

Most pets do not require extra calcium, since calcium is added to most commercially prepared diets. Calcium requirements may be higher for animals in the last third of pregnancy, or for a pet with kittens or puppies that are a few weeks old until they have matured.

Calcium supplements are also often required to be added to home-prepared diets to ensure proper calcium balance. Without adequate calcium, painful bone deformities may arise.

"Calcium supplements are also often required to be added to home-prepared diets to ensure proper calcium balance."

Signs of calcium deficiency in nursing animals also include weakness, tremors, and fits (eclampsia).

An ideal ratio of calcium to phosphorus is 1.2 to 1. The essential thing is that there should never be more phosphorus than calcium.

In lactation, the diet should contain about 1.4% calcium. Increased calcium should not need to be given during pregnancy. During lactation, 250mg of Vitamin C can be beneficial’.

calcium deficiency can cause painful bone deformitiesHow much experience is there with the use of calcium supplements in pets?

Experience is extensive in using calcium supplements to treat and prevent calcium deficiency in pets. Intravenous calcium is commonly used to treat fits resulting from calcium deficiency. This condition is most commonly seen in dogs whose blood calcium levels fall shortly before or after giving birth to a litter of puppies.

What species of animals are being treated regularly with calcium supplements?

All animal species, including humans, require adequate calcium. Diseases arising in pets from inadequate calcium intake are most common in dogs, cats, and many reptiles. Reptile calcium imbalances often arise from inadequate or inappropriate use of vitamin D. Dogs and cats are the species that usually require calcium supplementation, especially when being fed homemade diets. If you choose to feed a homemade diet always add a good multimineral and vitamin supplement.

How much research has been conducted on this supplement?

Widespread research demonstrates the benefits of supplementation in pets with calcium deficiency. Calcium is a required mineral in the diets of dogs and cats; calcium deficiency results in debilitating bone diseases and may even be fatal if not treated properly. Prevention is clearly preferred by feeding a diet that includes the necessary amount of calcium.

hip dysplasia vs. normal hipHow safe are calcium supplements?

They are safe when used correctly. However, normal pets not needing supplementation can have problems if given too much calcium. Any time pets are given excessive amounts of supplements, including calcium, the balance among nutrients is disturbed. For example, calcium competes with other minerals such as magnesium for absorption in the intestine. If excessive amounts of calcium are provided, other minerals such as magnesium and zinc may become depleted. In addition, excessive calcium supplementation to pregnant dogs and puppies has been linked to the development of joint abnormalities like hip dysplasia. Avoid giving excess calcium to large rapidly growing puppies.

Calcium supplementation may increase the risk of calcium oxalate bladder stone development some animals. Several studies in humans suggest that the use of calcium citrate supplements inhibits the formation of calcium oxalate stones. Citric acid maintains urine calcium in soluble form.

Increased absorption of dietary aluminum has been noted in humans with the use of calcium citrate supplements, but it is not known whether this poses any health risks to dogs and cats.

Where do I get calcium supplements and do I need a prescription?

A prescription is not required for Calcium Supplements. However, please do talk to one of the vets if you have any concerns regarding Calcium in your pet. We are pleased to advise.

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