All mammals, whether dogs or other types of pets, need a number of minerals in their diets to remain healthy. In the absence of these nutrients, their bodies might not function properly, and they might even develop conditions that could be difficult to treat.
In today’s article, we are looking at some of the most important minerals that dogs require. Some of them are more necessary during their first years of life, while others are essential all the time.
Types of Minerals
There are two different kinds of minerals, and they are called microminerals and macrominerals. The seven macrominerals that dogs need are the following:
As for the microminerals, there are different ones, but the most important ones are listed below:
Besides these four, we can note iodine, fluorine, cobalt, boron, manganese, and chromium.
Many minerals work together in ensuring that a dog’s body works properly. That is why your veterinarian might recommend combinations of several of these minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D (which ensures that calcium is properly absorbed into your dog’s bones).
The most important minerals your dog needs
Calcium is essential for humans and animals alike. But for dogs, it is even more important as in some breeds, rickets is a pathological problem that can affect puppies.
Naturally, this also happens when pets do not receive the diet they need. However, calcium supplementation during the first 6 months to 1 year of life is paramount.
While there are different foods that contain calcium, they are often not the best to give to dogs. For example, cheese can cause digestive distress, and many other dairy types can, as well. Other calcium sources are chicken and fish and several veggies.
Phosphorus is a mineral that combines with other components present in your pet’s body. On top of that, phosphorus is involved in a number of processes that happen on a cellular level, making it possible for lipids and proteins to effectively develop membranes inside the pet’s body.
Some foods are quite rich in phosphorus, such as eggs, various fish species (such as salmon and halibut), meats like chicken and beef, and also lentils. Even potatoes have their fair share of phosphorus, although we wouldn’t recommend giving your dog large amounts of this food.
Not only is potassium a mineral, but it’s also an electrolyte. This nutrient is essential when it comes to ensuring that your dog’s heart functions properly. It’s also involved in a number of other functions, and it also makes it possible for your pet’s muscles and nerves to do their job as they’re supposed to.
While supplementation definitely exists, there are other sources your dog can get potassium from, such as veggies (carrots and beans) or meats such as fish, chicken, and turkey.
While salt definitely has its benefits, it can also be a little dangerous for dogs. In fact, many commercial pet foods today contain a little too much salt, which can sometimes lead to risky cardiac pathologies.
As for its benefits, sodium ensures hydration by keeping water inside the cells and muscles. It also maintains nerve functionality and generally keeps cell environments working properly.
Since sodium is already used as a preservative in dog kibble or canned food varieties, we strongly suggest that you avoid giving your pooch table scraps (unless you separately make your own pet food and steer clear of all condiments and seasonings).
Magnesium works in combination with several other minerals. It is involved in a wide variety of body functions and processes. In its absence, dogs can develop a number of worrying symptoms, such as anxiety, cardiac rhythm issues, fatigue and muscle cramps, and even digestive distress.
Some foods that contain good amounts of magnesium are leafy greens, fish, beans, as well as pumpkin, and squash. By the way, you can sometimes rely on the last two for regulating your dog’s digestive transit, whether they suffer from diarrhea or constipation.
While an iron deficiency in this species is quite rare, it can still be seen in some cases. For example, dogs that don’t get the right diet or those that suffer from malabsorption might develop iron deficiency.
But anemia is not the only health issue that dogs that don’t get enough iron can develop. Iron is an essential mineral, and it’s present in red blood cells — and they are in charge of transporting nutrients and oxygen to and from your dog’s organs.
While supplements do exist, iron is also found in several sources such as liver, eggs, and sardines.
This is another mineral that’s involved in many body processes. For example, it aids in wound healing but also influences the way your dog’s immune system functions.
Also, zinc makes it possible for some hormones to do their job properly. In its absence, dogs can have impaired growth or problems with their insulin metabolism.
Selenium is a micromineral that has several different benefits. For instance, it ensures that a pet’s reproductive system is working properly. It’s also involved in thyroid metabolism, and it even assists with the synthesis of genetic material.
Selenium also makes it possible for dogs to have a lower risk of developing joint pathologies, including hip dysplasia. It can also be used to prevent cardiovascular health issues or pancreatic conditions.
Fortunately, this mineral can be found in a number of food sources, such as proteins (pork, turkey, beef, and eggs), whole grains, as well as dairy.
While iodine is more commonly used in its betadine form, so for disinfection purposes, this mineral is paramount for maintaining a healthy metabolism. Iodine deficiency is almost always linked to hypothyroidism.
Some dog breeds have a much higher likelihood of developing iodine deficiency compared to others, and they range from Golden Retrievers and Doberman Pinschers to Miniature Schnauzers and Boxers.
This is a mineral that guarantees bone, connective tissue, and collagen health. It’s particularly important for nerve health.
Furthermore, it ensures that iron is absorbed properly, which means that it makes it possible for red blood cells to transport oxygen and nutrients inside your dog’s body.
Copper can be found in mushrooms, liver, pumpkin seeds, and grains such as buckwheat.
Not all dogs need the same mineral supplements. Puppies, adults, and seniors have different mineral requirements, and they might also have unique ones also depending on their specific health status.
Talk to your veterinarian about what supplements you should give to Fido, depending on all of these factors. Your vet can run blood tests that can reveal mineral deficiencies and recommend supplements accordingly.