Selecting a dog food with the proper balance of necessary nutrients from healthy ingredients is important for your dog’s well being. Minerals are one essential class of nutrients that must be included in a healthy, balanced diet. They are crucial for the proper development and function of your dog’s body. Specific minerals must be present in a dog food in the right amounts to provide optimal health.
Minerals work together to coordinate body functions and maintain normal activities. While not providing enough of certain minerals is a concern, oversupplementation can also cause problems. Pet food manufacturers keep a close eye on just how much of each and every mineral is used in a dog food. Minerals used must also be able to survive processing and storage and they must also be of good quality and easily absorbed by the dog.
Many essential minerals are provided by common fruits, vegetables, meats and whole grains. These ingredients are used in many high quality products on the shelves today. The bulk of the minerals used in pet foods typically come in pre-combined powdered mixes. It is not reasonable to source minerals only from raw ingredients because they are less likely to survive processing. This is why you will see many chemical names on a bag of dog food.
Macrominerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium and sulfur. Calcium and phosphorus are very important macrominerals. A deficiency in either of these minerals can lead to bone deformities or weakness. Fractures can easily result in animals with calcium and phosphorus deficiencies. In young animals, oversupplementation of these minerals can lead to abnormal growth and development, especially in large breed dogs. Calcium and phosphorus are also essential for blood coagulation, muscle growth and nervous system function.
Magnesium works in harmony with calcium and phosphorus. Sodium and chloride work together to control the balance of fluid in the body. Imbalances of sodium and/or chloride can result in hair loss, fatigue, dehydration and even paralysis. Potassium is similar to sodium and chloride. Without adequate potassium the heart will not be able to beat normally. Sulfur is important in maintenance of hair, skin and nails. It also assists wound healing and detoxifies the body.
Even though they are only needed in extremely small amounts, trace minerals are essential in a healthy, balanced dog food. Common trace minerals include iron, zinc, copper, iodine, magnesium and selenium. Iron is important for oxygenation of red blood cells, energy production and immune system maintenance. Zinc supports the immune system, skin and hair coat health and aids in digestion. Other trace minerals include nickel, molybdenum, aluminum, silicon, chromium, boron, cobalt and fluorine.