America’s Blue Lacy Dog Blog

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Calcium For Puppies ~

Puppies thrive on protein – the more the better. It was once thought that too much protein was harmful, but studies have shown this to be false. Too much calcium and too many calories cause problems. Protein will not harm your puppy. *Personally I have found too much gives them the runs.

You must add the right amount of calcium to a pup’s homemade diet. Adult dogs can regulate their absorption of calcium, retaining what they need and excreting the rest. Puppies, particularly young puppies, can’t do this, so too much or too little calcium is harmful, especially during periods of rapid growth.

Puppies need more calcium than adult dogs do, but it’s important not to give too much. Studies performed on large-breed puppies showed that feeding too much calcium leads to developmental abnormalities, including hip dysplasia, hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD, a painful bone disorders that affects primarily large-breed puppies between the ages of 3 and 6 months), and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD, a disease of the cartilage that usually appears between 4 and 10 months of age).

You can determine calcium reuirements in a variety of ways: you can base them on calories fed, weight of the dog, or a percentage of the diet. Recommendations vary, but if you add between 1,200 and 1,500 mg of calcium per pound of food, that should provide an adequate amount without giving too much.

Because puppies need more phosphorus than adult dogs, it’s best to use bone meal rather than plain calcium. Bone meal contains phosphorus, as well as calcium. Look for brands that say they have been tested for lead and other heavy-metal contaminants.

Never add calcium if you feed a commercial dog food (puppies need a diet that’s approved for puppies or for all life stages). If you feed part homemade and part commercial, add calcium to balance out the homemade portion of the diet only.

Don’t add calcium if you feed a diet that includes at least 20 percent raw meaty bones, such as chicken necks and backs, if the bones are fully consumed. Bones provide all the calcium that is needed in the diet. Don’t feed more than 50 percent raw meaty bones; you risk giving too much calcium, which can put puppies at an increased risk of skeletal problems.

To provide a healthy puppy diet, feed a wide variety of healthy foods, add the right amount of calcium, and don’t overfeed. Remember that protein is beneficial, but too much calcium or too many calories can lead to disaster. Keeping your puppy lean will reduce the risk of bone and joint problems, but will not affect your dog’s eventual adult size.*DogAware.com

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