Minerals – How much is recommended for healthy growth?

“My dog should be lacking for nothing!” Dog owners love their dogs and sometimes give too much of a good thing, with the best of intentions, of course. A wide range of animal food supplements such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements is available today, but “more” does not always mean “better” and even essential elements such as minerals may do great harm if given in excess.
In particular, calcium and phosphorous are often overdosed with the best of intentions and can cause serious harm for instance to puppies.

Calcium for your canine

The dog’s skeleton supports its body and the musculoskeletal system. Strong bones benefit the dog’s build and movement.  In addition, bones play an important role in maintaining the calcium level in blood and tissue. 99 % of the body’s calcium is present in the bones. This “calcium store” is either topped up or used depending on the food intake. This way, the calcium level in the blood important for many bodily functions remains constant. If the food contains too much calcium, large amounts of calcium are absorbed through the intestines and stored in the bones. This excess calcium is very harmful while the dog is still growing as osseous and cartilaginous tissues stop remodelling normally. The bone stops growing normally and fails to adapt to the ever changing environmental requirements. High calcium excess in food also prevents absorption of phosphorus, iron, zinc and copper and thus causes deficiencies of these minerals.

Beware of too much phosphorus

Another important factor is the phosphorus content of the food. Too much phosphorus interferes with calcium absorption lowering the calcium level in the blood and calcium is liberated from the bones. Food with high phosphorus content will quickly cause calcium deficiency in fast growing bones of tall breed puppies resulting in insufficient ossification of the growing bones and, due to fragility, increased likelihood of bone fractures. The recommended phosphorus amount in food must be dependent on the calcium amount.

Vitamin D

Finally, it is important not to overdose vitamin D as another important calcium metabolism regulating hormone. Too much vitamin D results in bone growth problems as it interferes with the calcium / phosphorus balance.  As all complete dog foods contain a sufficient amount of calcium, it is a common misconception that most skeletal diseases of the dog are associated with insufficient calcium or vitamin D intake. Much more commonly, excess calcium or a meat only diet, meat contains more phosphorus than calcium, causes health problems. This is why puppies and juvenile dogs should be fed a food containing the optimum level of minerals and vitamin D.


Best for skeletal development of growing dogs is a premium junior food such as Select Gold Junior providing a carefully balanced ratio of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. No mineral or vitamin D supplements should be given. Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.