Dogs need calcium for healthy bones, nerves and muscles. The Texas Veterinary Medical Association advises that pet foods certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, must provide complete nutrition. You will not need to add supplements. Too much calcium can cause kidney stones, developmental diseases, elbow dysplasia or early arthritis. Your veterinarian, however, may recommend calcium supplements for medical conditions or if you feed your dog homemade food.
Although all dogs love bones, splintered bones often cause injuries resulting in major surgery or death. Many people now feed their dogs raw diets and, because bones are a good source of calcium and phosphorus, include raw chicken bones daily. They believe that raw bones will not splinter.
You can purchase bone meal or grind it yourself. Bone meal, considered a good calcium supplement, provides calcium and phosphorus in the correct ratio. As a powder, you can just add it to your dog’s food. However, bone meal can contain contaminants from the environment. Too much bone meal may add high levels of heavy metals and lead to your dog’s diet. Born Free cautions that bone meal must be food grade. Do not feed bone meal sold for gardening.
Dogs easily digest cottage cheese and yogurt. Yogurt also replaces good bacteria in their systems if they have taken antibiotics. If your dog can tolerate nonfat milk, it is a good source of calcium. Most dogs love cheese, but you must consider the amount of fat in it.
Canned salmon and sardines with bones contain calcium. Tuna and trout are other choices. Vet Info recommends that you cook the fish before feeding it to your dog to avoid stomach upset or disease.
Egg Shell Powder
Eggshells represent the least expensive source of calcium. With a little preparation, you can use the shells that you would normally discard. Collect about a dozen eggshells and rinse them. To make them brittle and easy to grind, place on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Grind the shells with a coffee grinder or blender. Add the amount to your dog’s food that your veterinarian recommends.
Most pet stores carry calcium and mineral supplements. The calcium is often combined with phosphorous and vitamin D. You may find this to be the easiest source of calcium supplements when feeding your dog a homemade food.