Six best calcium rich foods for dogs

Calcium is an essential micromineral that helps to build and maintain strong bones.

Did you know, both humans and dogs need calcium to maintain strong bones, hearts, muscles, and nerves?

Yes, calcium deficiency can have substantial adverse effects on your pets’ growth.

Why is calcium essential for dogs?

Some studies suggest that calcium, along with vitamin D, may have benefits beyond bone health: perhaps protecting against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

A too little calcium or Hypocalcemia condition is called when the calcium level in the blood is lower than usual.

Hypocalcemia in dogs is associated with severe disorders, including antifreeze poisoning, inflammation of the pancreas, kidney failure, and parathyroid gland failure.

You can figure hypocalcemia by analyzing the telltale signs, including muscle twitching, loss of appetite, weakness, and listlessness. In some cases, it can cause convulsions or seizures.

How does a healthy animal control calcium levels?

The parathyroid glands embedded in the thyroid gland control the Calcium levels. The glands are responsible for monitoring the level of calcium in the blood. When calcium levels are too low, the glands release a hormone called parathyroid hormone (PTH), which acts to return calcium levels to normal.

Diagnosing and treating Hypocalcemia

To diagnose Hypocalcemia, your dog requires a routine blood test to reveal low total calcium. If the repeated value for total calcium is still low, then doing an ionized calcium test is recommended. It gives the definitive measure of calcium levels.

Your vet will further test the condition of other vital organs to assess the damage before administering the needed medical help.

If you're wondering, yes, hypocalcemia can be managed with a medication called Calcitriol plus nutritional supplements containing Vitamin D and Calcium.

However, it would be best if you were wary about feeding excess calcium to your dog. A buildup of excess calcium in the blood leads to hypercalcemia which can cause various physical and mental ailments.

Six best Calcium-Rich Foods for Dogs

Here are the best sources of calcium for your dogs.

Yogurt

Yogurt is rich in calcium and probiotics. The milk product made from bacterial fermentation is a healthier calcium choice for dogs. However, many dogs have trouble digesting yogurt because of lactose contents. Consider talking to your vet before adding yogurt to your dog's meal plan.

A cup of Yoghurt contains 450 mg of calcium. This is probably the only food source with so much calcium in it.

Consider adding yogurt to your canine's food regularly. Generally, one to two teaspoons of yogurt a day is a fair amount to give your dog.

In case your dog is a bit overweight, you can pick low-fat yogurt from the store. Also, avoid flavored yogurt that can be toxic to some dogs.

Cheese

Cheese is another excellent source of calcium for dogs. It also makes a fantastic treat for your dog as long as they're aren’t lactose intolerant. Lactose can upset your dog’s digestion, so be wary about consulting a vet before giving cheese to your dog.

You can give them any available cheese, including cheddar, mozzarella, and cottage cheese. Because cheese is as fattening as it is tasty, moderation is key. Try choosing a cheese type that is low in fats.

An ounce of hard cheeses, like cheddar or jack, contains 200 mg of calcium. Only add a slice of cheese, broken into pieces, to their meal.

Avoid feeding them cheese mixed with herbs or other products as it can lead to health complications.

Chicken and Fish

White meat is another excellent source of calcium. Unlike dairy products, meat doesn’t include lactose that troubles canine digestion.

Chicken and fish is also an excellent protein source. According to veterinarians, a daily dog meal should include at least 30% protein.

Chicken, Salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines are popular meat choices for dogs. Each portion could content from 170 mg to 370 mg of calcium. However, it is advised that you cook the fish well before offering it to your pet.

Be wary about feeding seafood to your dog as it may contain mercury. Raw tuna isn’t toxic to dogs, but you may want to feed them other types of fishes that don’t contain mercury, such as salmon, herring, flounder, and Wild Menhaden.

Vegetables

Vegetables are another excellent source of Calcium. Some vegetables are high in calcium, including Acorn squash, Argula, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Chard, Chicory, Collard greens, Corn, Dandelion, Kale, Mustard greens, potato, Spinach, and Turnips.

Spinach and Broccoli contain the highest amount of calcium; Spinach contains 240 mg of calcium for one cup, and Broccoli has 180 mg.

Not every dog will love to eat these vegetables, so you need to be creative with them. Cut veggies into bite-size pieces and incorporate them into your dog’s meal that contains meat or snacks.

Bones for dogs

If you’re a dog owner, you’d know that all dogs love to chew on bones. This is good because bones contain a good source of Calcium. Along with providing a good calcium source, bones will help to keep their oral hygiene in check.

Be wary about feeding them cooked bones that can easily crack into tiny shards. Although cooked bones are best for digestion, your dog can often chock on them.

A safe way to add bone to your dog’s meal is to ground it into a powder and then incorporate them into the dog’s food. You can also buy bone meal supplements for dogs.

Dogs love to keep chewing on bones, and they often spend much time doing it, so it’s a good idea to occasionally throw a large bone at them.

Calcium Supplements

Calcium supplements are an easy source of calcium for dogs. With calcium supplements, you needn't worry about lactose toxicity or indigestion.

Calcium pills for dogs take the guesswork out of giving your dog the right amount of calcium to boost their immune system and bones.

Consider mixing broken calcium pills or grounded calcium pills into dog food before providing it to them. Be wary about providing human calcium to dogs because it is formulated for humans.

Check out this infographic for more information.

 

Talk to your vet before providing adding a new source of calcium to dog food. A vet can properly diagnose their condition to advise if you should limit or increase their calcium intake.

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Urbandale, to learn more about preventing hypocalcemia in dogs.

Common Fears and Phobias in Dogs

We get fearful of many things in daily life, including someone shouting at us, fighting with someone, and road accidents, so it isn't unusual for dogs to fear similar frightful experiences.

AKC Chief DVM Jerry Klein points out,

Fear is a defense mechanism and isn’t something we can eliminate. Wolves and other wild canids rely on fear to keep them alive.

It only becomes a severe problem when fearful behavior poses dangers to the dog and other family members. Also known as Phobia, the fear culminates into an intense and persistent fear of something. 

Is phobia a problem?

Whether you know it already or not, your canine companion is phobic, and it’s a big problem.

These common phobias can have various causes, including a lack of early socialization, a negative experience, or a sudden frightful experience.  You can tell your dog is under stress by seeing the tell-tale signs, including cowering, trembling, drooling, barking, destructive and aggressive behavior, and, in some cases, aggression.

The additional cause of phobias in dogs includes genetics, but this is very rare. Most of the time, your dog grows phobia for something when they have a frightful experience.

Unlike us humans, dogs can't rationalize their phobia. Hence, it's our responsibility to reduce their stress when they're phobic and assure them that they're safe.

7 Common Fear and Phobias in Dogs

The frightening stimuli listed below are among the most common fears and phobias in dogs.

Thunderstorms

 

The loud thundering noise from the sky often trembles our own feet, so it isn't usual for dogs to fear thunder.

There are a few reasons thunderstorms instill terror in dogs. The most obvious of them is the loud noise. Dogs that are frightful of thunderstorms are also frightful of deafening noises.

There is even research that suggests noise phobias can be inherited.

The other more scientific reason behind the fear of thunder is the release of static electricity into the air. Dogs experience this static as a tingling throughout their hair coat and may even receive multiple shocks before the storm lifts.

This is why many dogs flee to the grounded areas in the home to escape the exposure to static electricity during thunderstorms.

Vetstreet's Dr. Marty Beckers suggests that rubbing your dog's coat with a dryer sheet can help to minimize static.

Fireworks

The fear of fireworks is much similar to thunderstorms. Fireworks instill a fear of loud noise in dogs which often turns into phobias. A sound phobia is common in dogs that are mostly inherited. 

According to Dr. Klein,

Herding breeds are susceptible to noise phobias, perhaps because they are so attuned to their environment.

Not only are fireworks extremely loud, but they also cause frightening odors and visual effects. The vivid display of lights and the smell of gunpowder often make dogs tremble in fear. This may make dogs run away, coil in, or become lost.

Dogs with a severe fireworks phobia may require anti-anxiety medication or sedatives. As an option, you can use preventive measures like Thundershirt, a snug-fitting garment that helps calm dogs by applying gentle, even pressure to the torso.

Car Rides

Fear of riding cars or any other vehicle is common in dogs who have experienced a frightful moment or lack gradual exposure to car rides. 

The traumatic experience often includes road accidents, being stuck inside the car, and a car ride to the veterinarian.

Dogs often become car sick when they aren't used to riding vehicles from an early age. It's similar to young children who get motion sickness from riding cars for the first time.

It's possible to overcome their fear response of car and motion sickness by working up to taking rides in small steps such as opening the door, getting in, spending some time, and then getting out or taking a brief ride around the house or neighborhood. After every successful step, you should reward them with treats or praise to install a positive appreciation.

The Visit to Vet

Most dogs are fearful about visiting veterinarians because they associate it with a past negative experience such as getting injected, surgical treatment, restrained, and strange smells.

Dogs have blood injection phobias, commonly referred to as a fear of needles, a similar experience faced by many people. They don't understand that veterinary visits are in their best interest; hence you should make them feel secure in a strange environment.

The irrational fear of the vet may be dealt with by bringing them to the vet for an occasional social visit that doesn't involve an examination. You can reward them with treats after every visit to instill a positive reaffirmation.

Being Alone

Fear of being alone or separation anxiety is a situational phobia. It often results in destructive behavior such as chewing on stuff, housebreaking accidents, incessant barking, and relieving themselves.

Dogs that aren't used to being left alone often face separation anxiety.

As a treatment, you can make necessary habit changes to alleviate their anxiety. Desensitization, the process of slowly getting the dog used to being left home alone, can also benefit dogs suffering from separation anxiety.

If the separation anxiety is severe, you can consult with the vet to provide medication to your dog.

Fear of strangers and other dogs

Fear of person is common in dogs that lack socialization from an early age. Most dogs fear meeting new people because they had a bad experience with them, such as being abused and abandoned.

Dogs that have not spent much time around other animals will exhibit fear of animal. This is commonly due to a lack of socialization.

For this reason, dog trainers and veterinary professionals recommend socializing your dog early and often. It would be best if you considered taking them to doggy daycare to introduce them to other animals. Interaction with other animals in the park often helps in socializing them at an early age.

Nervousness around strangers can be an inherited trait, but research shows that proper socialization can overcome this problem.

 

What should you do?

Here are few things you should keep in mind.

  • Keep an eye on your dog's body language so you can be more aware when they start exhibiting signs of fear. The standard body languages include pacing, panting, shaking, attempting to hide, salivating, etc.
  • If your dog starts growling at something, you should immediately remove them from that environment.
  • Talk to the behaviorist to develop a desensitization and counter-conditioning program for your dog.
  • Start socializing your dog with other humans and animals at an early age.

Check out this infographic for more information.

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best doggy daycare in Urbandale, to start socializing your dog in the presence of expert animal behaviorists and trainers.