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Dog nutrition

Does Your Dog Food Provide Magnesium?

Pet Health, Dog nutritionJanet BreyComment
Too much or too little magnesium can cause dogs to be tired and depressed. Photo by  Dominik QN  on  Unsplash

Too much or too little magnesium can cause dogs to be tired and depressed. Photo by Dominik QN on Unsplash

Let’s face it. Our pets are family and we want to give them the best quality of life possible. Healthy food, exercise, a comfy bed, toys, coats, and even Halloween costumes!

Healthy food is one of the most important contributors to an active, happy pet. Understanding what is, or is not in your dog’s food, is very important. In a recent blog, I wrote about looking for certain ingredients that should be avoided. Today, I am writing about something that should be included or supplemented in the diet - magnesium.

Magnesium is a mineral that controls and supports many metabolic functions - both in humans and dogs. Most of us know about the importance of potassium, but not magnesium. Magnesium supports the following functions in your dog:

  • Hormone functions and secretions

  • Maintaining electrical balance across cell membranes (muscle contraction)

  • Maintaining calcium movement into the muscles (keep bones strong)

  • Metabolic functions (turning food into energy)

  • Proper absorption of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vitamin C and E

  • Transmission of nerve signals (thinking, brain functions)

If you think about it, almost every function of your dog’s body requires magnesium. So, if your dog has too much or too little, it can cause some serious problems. Symptoms of low magnesium levels can include depression, heart arrhythmia, lethargy and muscle pain. Symptoms of too much are similar.

After reading the Your Dog Advisor article, What is the Optimal Level of Magnesium for Your Dog, I checked the ingredients of my dog’s dry food. I did not see magnesium mentioned, nor did I see any of the ingredients noted in the article that represent magnesium, such as magnesium oxide, bone meal, or soy. For a complete list, see the article.

Next time I am at the vet, I am going to ask if they can check my dog’s magnesium level. If it is on the low side, I will look to supplement his diet with some kidney beans.

Always check with your vet before you add supplements or change how you feed your dog. It’s always good to have a bit of knowledge so you know what questions to ask. This post is not intended to provide medical advice, just help you provide the best you can for your furry family member.