FunNature & AnimalThis is how minerals help your dog

This is how minerals help your dog

The term mineral designates all the inorganic elements present in a food, elements that make up most of the ash that remains after the combustion of organic matter.

If we consider our dog as a “small cake” that we can divide into portions, it would be divided into the following proportions:

  • 66% hydrogen (H)
  • 25.5% oxygen (O)
  • 9.5% carbon (C)
  • 1.4% nitrogen (N)
  • Minerals only account for 0.7% of the “constituent matter” of the animal and form two well-defined groups:
    • Macrominerals : are the minerals for which the dietary needs can be expressed as a percentage or as a percentage; They are the following: calcium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, potassium, chlorine and sulfur.
    • Microminerals : those for which dietary needs are expressed in parts per million or milligrams per kilo, among which we have: iron, zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, manganese, cobalt, molybdenum, fluorine, boron and chromium

Macrominerals have as main functions:

  • They provide the necessary balance in the body (acid-base balance).
  • They maintain the necessary amount of water within the body (water balance).
  • They control the functioning of cell membranes in important activities such as nerve conduction and muscle contraction.
  • They maintain the integrity of the body’s structures.

Microminerals have as main functions:

  • Collaborate with certain organic enzymes ( metalloenzymes )
  • Control of countless biochemical reactions: intervention of iodine in thyroid hormone, intervention of iron in hemoglobin…

What we must keep in mind, due to its great importance for the health of the animal, is that the concentrations of minerals must be adjusted to the specific needs of the individual, since otherwise:

  • Low concentrations lead to impaired physiological functions (deficiencies).
  • In optimal concentrations, the supply of mineral covers the requirements of the animal.
  • Excessive concentrations produce toxic pharmacological effects (toxicity).

Mineral excesses and defects

Mineral Deficiency Excess
Calcium Usually caused by feeding exclusively on meat.
reduced growth, appetite, bone mineralization; lameness, spontaneous fractures, loss of teeth, convulsions, rickets.
Due to excess calcium supplementation or deficiency of phosphorus, zinc, iron and copper.
reduces efficiency and feed intake; nephrosis, lameness, formation of urinary precipitates (stones, crystals…)

Due to excessive calcium supplementation.

Effects : Appetite aberration, decreased feed efficiency, growth retardation, dull coat, reduced fertility, spontaneous fractures, rickets.

Due to excess phosphorus or calcium deficiency.
bone loss, uroliths, reduced food intake, soft tissue calcification.
Potassium Due to losses in diarrhea, use of diuretics or due to ingestion defect in cases of anorexia.
anorexia, growth retardation, lethargy, locomotion problems, heart and kidney damage, weight loss.
It is quite rare.
Sodium Effects: Inability to maintain the correct water balance, growth retardation, anorexia, fatigue, exhaustion, hair loss. Effects: thirst, itching, constipation, seizures and even death.
Magnesium Effects : muscle weakness, irritability, seizures, anorexia, vomiting, reduced body weight, calcification of the aorta. Effects : diarrhea, urolithiasis and cystitis, paralysis.
Iron It can occur if we feed exclusively with milk or secondary to blood loss.
Effects: anemia, rough coat, growth retardation, apathy.
Effects: anorexia, weight loss, liver function abnormalities.
Zinc Effects: anorexia, growth retardation, alopecia, impaired reproduction, vomiting, hair depigmentation, conjunctivitis. Relatively non-toxic. There have been cases of toxicity due to ingestion of nuts or certain coins…
Copper Due to excess zinc, iron or molybdenum.
Effects : anemia, growth retardation, hair depigmentation, bone lesions, neuromuscular disorders, reproductive failure.
Hepatitis, increased activity of liver enzymes.
Manganese Effects: reproductive impairment, fatty liver, bony curvatures of the limbs, reduced growth. Effects: partial albinism, fertility problems. Actually, it is not very toxic.
Iodine Effects: Fetal resorption, rough coat, enlarged thyroid glands, alopecia, apathy, lethargy. Similar to deficiency: reduced appetite, apathy, rough coat, reduced immunity, fever.
Selenium Effects: muscle changes, reproductive failure, reduced food intake, subcutaneous edema, renal mineralization. Effects: vomiting, spasms, staggering gait, salivation, reduced appetite, bad breath, nail loss.
Boron Effects: reduced growth, reduction of hematocrit, hemoglobin and alkaline phosphatase. Effects: deficiency-like manifestations.
Chrome Effects: impaired glucose tolerance, increased cholesterol. Effects: dermatitis, respiratory irritation, lung cancer.

Currently, commercial food ensures us the correct contribution of minerals, both macro and micro, for proper organic functioning.

The addition of minerals, in any form, must be avoided unless there is a recommendation from the veterinarian after an adequate assessment of the cause of a deficiency.

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