Dog Mineral Supplements: The Know It All Guide

Pet MD - Canine Tabs Plus 365 Count - Advanced Multivitamins for Dogs - Natural Daily Vitamin and Mineral Nutritional Supplement - Liver Flavored Chewable Tablets Dog mineral supplements are a controversial issue in dog health and dog parenting. While many dog parents seem to find nothing wrong with feeding their furry friends dog mineral supplements, not everyone agrees.

Lots of veterinary doctors are concerned about the rate at which dog parents feed their dogs supplements.

Except in cases where your dog is strictly on a homemade diet, vets hardly see the need for supplementation.

Nonetheless, even with a complete and balanced diet, there are still other situations where dog mineral supplements might be completely unavoidable. But then again it might not even be in the conditions that you expect.

For instance, dog mineral supplements are not advised for pregnant dogs. It could lead to some serious complications but more on that later…

So, let’s quit dawdling and get to it…

What Are Dog Mineral Supplements?

Because minerals are not produced naturally by your dog’s body, they need to be obtained from their diet.

Minerals are inorganic elements and they are required by the body to carry out normal healthy functions.

Some are required in certain quantities higher than others and are referred to as macro elements. The one required in only little quantities are known as trace elements.

If your pet dog isn’t getting enough minerals, it could lead to certain grave health conditions that are best avoided.

In the same vein, when a dog has an excessive amount of minerals in his body it could lead to toxicity as well. So, the key is to maintain balance.

Thankfully, just like vitamins, most quality dog food already contain the necessary minerals a dog needs for healthy growth.

However, in some cases, certain dogs might require a mineral supplement.

Be extra careful with mineral supplementing, though. In fact, Dr. Wynn warns against supplementing a healthy dog’s diet for fear of toxicity.

If you think your dog is deficient in any mineral, then it might be a better idea to check with your vet first and let them recommend a supplement to you.


Essential Minerals For Dogs And Their Functions

  • Calcium: Calcium is essential for the development of healthy bones and the proper contraction of muscles. It also helps with blood coagulation and the transmission of nerve signals.


  • Magnesium: Magnesium plays a vital role in the absorption of certain other minerals and some vitamins as well. It also ensures that these vitamins and minerals are properly used.


  • Manganese: In the metabolism of protein and carbohydrate, manganese helps in the facilitation of the process. Also, manganese is involved in reproduction, enzyme synthesis and energy production.


  • Boron: For zinc and magnesium to function, they need the help of boron. Boron also helps in the functioning of bone hormones and vitamins.


  • Zinc: Zinc functions in the regulation of metalloproteinases. In addition to that, it also helps to support the proper of joint cartilage. NaturVet All-in-One 4-IN-1 Support Dog Multivitamin Supplement, Skin and Coat Health, Joint Support, Digestive Health, Dog Vitamin and Mineral Support, Soft Chews, Made in the USA, 120 Count


Trace Minerals For Dogs And Their Functions

  • Copper: This helps in the growth of soft tissue and the pigmentation of the hair as well. Aside that, you’d also find it playing a role in the development of red blood cells as well as the skeleton.


  • Iron: Helps in hemoglobin formation. Hemoglobin is the pigment responsible for moving oxygen round the body.


  • Selenium: Selenium has antioxidant properties which means that it protects the body from free radicals and their harmful effects on the body.


  • Iodine: The primary role of iodine is found in the proper functioning of the thyroid. It is also a critical element that determines the fertility of dogs.


  • Cobalt: This element is required only in very little quantity. And it is used in the formation of vitamin B12 (cobalamin). Cobalt also works to facilitate the metabolism of carbohydrates in cells to produce energy.

Next, this table will give you a detailed list of all the functions as well as deficiency (and excess) symptoms of the 12 essential minerals needed in dogs. We found this table at the


Table Showing Function, And Deficiency Symptoms Of Essential Dog Minerals

Mineral Function Deficiency Excess
Calcium Helps in the formation of strong teeth and bones, aids blood coagulation, cell signaling, nerve impulse transmission, and muscle contraction. Nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, skeletal abnormalities as a result of a decrease in mineral content of bones. Skeletal abnormalities found especially during puppyhood of large breeds, eclampsia during labor in pregnant women.
Phosphorus Involved in the development of DNA/RNA and skeletal structure, aids the metabolism of energy in cells, movement, and maintains the acid-base balance in the cells. Reduction in the dog’s ability to gain weight, reduced appetite, swelling or bowing of the forelimbs usually in puppies. Affects absorption of calcium leading to calcium deficiency, fragility and fracturing of bones especially in tall dog breeds during puppyhood.
Magnesium Aids enzyme function stabilizes muscles as well as nerve-cell membranes, facilitates the secretion and function of hormones, forms a part of the mineral content of teeth and bones. Reduction on the dog’s ability to gain weight, puppies get irritable and tend to experience convulsions, may experience hind leg paralysis as seniors, plus carpal joints might experience hyperextension.
Sodium Maintains the acid-balance in the cells, regulates the osmotic pressure in cells and helps in the generation and transmission of nerve impulses. Heart rates increases, dogs get restless, mucous membranes become dry and quite tacky.
Potassium Maintains the acid-balance on the cells, necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses and the reactions of enzymes. Also aids in the transport of materials around the body. Growth is stunted, puppies tend to get restless, neck muscles and rear limbs might get paralyzed, even as they suffer all-round weakness as senior dogs, too.
Chlorine Maintains the acid-base balance in cells, ensures the osmolarity of all extracellular fluids. Reduction in the ability to gain weight, puppies also tend to experience weakness.
Iron Facilitates the synthesis of myoglobin and hemoglobin. Can lead to improper growth, paleness of mucous membranes, diarrhea, as well as lethargy and general weakness. Oxidative reactions could occur that could lead to the damage of the gut and surrounding tissues.
Copper Aids the formation of connective tissues, metabolizes iron, helps blood cells to form, and also acts as a defense warding off oxidative damage. Puppies lose their hair pigmentation, anemia.
Zinc Improves enzymatic reactions; aids the proper replication of cells, wound healing, and skin function. Also helps to metabolize carbohydrates and proteins. Reduction in the ability to gain weight, lesions on the skin, vomiting.
Manganese Aids enzymatic function, encourages the development of bones and proper functioning of the brain. No observation from studies.
Selenium Protects the body from oxidative damage, enhances immune response. May lead to anorexia, dyspnea, degeneration of muscles, anorexia, or even coma.
Iodine Aids the synthesis of thyroxine, also helps in the differentiation of cells which leads to growth and development in puppies, regulates rates of metabolism. Thyroid glands enlarge, hair coat gets dry and sparse, unnecessary weight gain. Excessive drooling, tearing, dandruff, and discharge from the nasal cavities.
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Various Mineral Requirements In Dogs

The amount of minerals your dog should be taking isn’t set in stone anywhere.

Several factors come to play in determining the amount of minerals that are required for your dog.

Below, we list some of the most important ones:

  • Size: It follows that the larger your dog is, the higher his mineral requirement, at least, in comparison with smaller breeds.


  • Age: The need for minerals is actually highest at both ends of the growth spectrum. Young puppies need a good dose of minerals to help their young bones and muscles to develop. On the other hand, seniors also need a considerable dose of minerals in order to support their aging bodies.


  • Breeds: Some breeds have more trouble absorbing certain nutrients than others. These ones would need their diets supplemented. For instance, Siberian Huskies and other similar northern breeds tend to have a problem absorbing zinc properly.


  • Level of Activity: Of course, dogs that are really active would, naturally, require a higher mineral intake than the couch potatoes. You see, the bone is quite dynamic. So, it is always remodeling itself. And if it’s going to be doing all that remodeling constantly, you bet it’s going to need some minerals.


  • Trauma: If your dog has just recently suffered a trauma to his bones, like a fracture or something — it could even be a surgery — he would need to increase his mineral intake during such a period.


  • Dogs on a Diet: The rate of obesity among dogs is really bothering veterinarians worldwide and as such, many dogs are being put on diets to curb it. Unfortunately, dieting might also mean that your dog doesn’t get as much minerals as he normally should. In this case, supplementing would be necessary.



Do Dogs Need Dog Mineral Supplements?

No, they do not. Especially not when they are on a balanced diet. And if you think your dog is lacking in a particular mineral, consult with your vet first before getting supplements.

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Even if your dog falls into any of the categories mentioned in the previous section, it’s still important that you check with your vet, first. Do not take matters of your dog’s health into your own hands.

Dog parents that cook their dog’s meals themselves must consult with a vet nutritionist to see how dog mineral supplements can be included in their dogs’ meals.

This is because, unlike commercial dog food, homemade meals do not contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals needed by dogs.

Do not attempt to add the missing minerals on your own though. It’s not as straightforward as filling in the blanks.

A lot of calculation has to be done in order to arrive at the right amount needed for your dog.

Remember that minerals are needed in certain minimum quantities, which when exceeded, could cause toxicity.

Now, some people might ask “how about my pregnant dog?” Again, we need to remind you that you and your dog are just similar, you’re not the same species.

If you keep your dog on the normal meal routine for a pregnant dog, you wouldn’t need to supplement her meals.

In fact, supplementing your pregnant dog’s meals with calcium, for instance, could lead to eclampsia during labor.

Eclampsia refers to a condition where the laboring mother begins to experience seizures and convulsions as she gives birth.

Although it is rare, it poses grave danger both to mother and child. In extreme cases, the mother dog might even slip into a coma.

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Side Effects Of Dog Mineral Supplements

As much as dog mineral supplements can have their benefits, they also come with their side effects too.

So, sometimes, dogs might experience one or two negative reactions when using a particular mineral supplement.

Calcium: As we have already seen, calcium is essential for bone and muscle development. But then again, increasing calcium intake won’t necessarily make your dog’s bones and muscles stronger.

In fact, when consumed in excess, it could cause weakness and brittleness in the bones.

This side effect is most commonly seen in large breed dogs. Even with their big bones, an excessive intake of calcium supplements could make it impossible for them to support themselves.

Iodine: Iodine plays a very important role in the thyroid function of a dog.

If a dog’s thyroid is to function optimally, then it must be able to synthesize iodine effectively.

Aside from that, iodine is also necessary to help curb the rate of your dog’s metabolism. Plus, it is necessary for the facilitation of puppies’ growth.

Now to the side effects…

Consumption of iodine supplements (especially when in excess) can lead to hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism refers to a condition in which the thyroid gland enlarges as the name has, probably, given away.

Hyperthyroidism can lead to other side effects such as dry skin and a dry coat.

It could also lead to a loss of weight in the affected dog. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism in dogs may include increased thirst and an appetite that’s through the roof.

Arguments Against Dog Mineral Supplements: Synthetic Versus Natural

Okay, so we already know that vets aren’t so crazy about dog mineral supplements because dog food already contains everything. But then, it’s more than that.

There seems to be a bigger reason for that. We ran some research as usual, and what we got from our results is pretty interesting. You might want to read the next paragraphs very carefully.

According to Dr Jodie Gruenstern (a holistic vet), synthetic supplements of any kind might not be effective for dogs. The reason is this: synthetic supplements of any kind are not easy for your dog’s body to recognize.

We’ll try to keep the explanation for this really simple…

All cells in your dog’s body (and yours) have something called receptor sites.

As they sound, receptor sites are locations on the cells where they can receive stuff – biological stuff.

These biological stuff could be anything, really, but in this case, they are minerals or vitamins.

Another thing about these receptor sites is that they are really specific. So, they have a pretty good idea of what they should be expecting.

Now, when your dog’s body starts getting deficient of a particular mineral or vitamin, the site receptor could get desperate.

And you know what happens in desperate situations? Yeah, anything goes.

And that’s how the cell receptor sites begin to accept synthetic dog mineral supplements instead of naturally synthesized ones.

Because, well, they kinda look alike. So, at first, it works and everyone is happy.

But soon, because the cell receptor sites and synthetic supplements weren’t made for each other, things change.

And, of course, all the symptoms previously experienced come back. And that’s why some schools of thought do not agree with synthetic supplements.

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They advise that people stick with natural sources for our vitamin and mineral needs.

Studies To Prove That Naturally Occurring Nutrients Are More Effective

Alright, this study was actually conducted as far back as 1942. And it was conducted on vitamins.

But vitamins and minerals are somewhat alike, very loosely speaking. So, we can infer from a study on vitamins.

So, the authors of this journal (Journal of the American Medical Association) conducted this research on ascorbic acid aka vitamin C.

They treated a patient who had scurvy with synthetic vitamin c and lemon juice.

They administered a 25-milligram dose of ascorbic acid. And they also gave the patient lemon juice at 50cc which contained 25 milligrams of ascorbic acid, too.

The results?

Well, for one, the lemon juice produced faster results. In fact, it was a lot faster than when the 25 milligrams of ascorbic acid was given as a supplement.

And that’s not all. Here’s another thing they found.

Naturally-occurring Vitamin C actually does remain in the body for way longer than the Vitamin C supplement.

This might have been far back as 1942, but even today, this limitation is still experienced with the use of synthetic vitamins.

So, it’s a pretty big deal, as you can see.

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Natural Sources Of Dog Mineral Supplements

So, if these results scare you and you want to go the natural way, here are some ways you could go.

This is especially important for dog parents that feed their pooches raw food.

Here are some minerals and natural sources where you can get them.


Meat: Chicken, rabbit, pork, turkey, goat, lamb, buffalo, ostrich, beef, egg, halibut, salmon, sardine, haddock.

Herbs: Burdock root, alfalfa, chamomile, cayenne, chicory, chickweed, eyebright, dandelion, fenugreek, fennel seed, hops, flaxseed, horsetail, hops, lemongrass, kelp, nettle, mullein, paprika, oat straw, peppermint, parsley, raspberry leaf, plantain, rose hips, red clover, violet leaves, shepherd’s purse, yellow dock, yarrow.


Meat: Turkey, chicken, lamb, pork, ostrich, goat, egg, buffalo, salmon, beef, haddock, halibut, sardine.

Herbs: Sheep sorrel.


Meat: Haddock, salmon, egg, seafood.

Herbs: Tarragon leaves, calendula, turkey rhubarb.


Meat: Chicken, rabbit, pork, turkey, goat, lamb, buffalo, ostrich, beef, egg, halibut, salmon, sardine, haddock.

Herbs: Burdock root, alfalfa, cayenne, catnip, chickweed, chamomile, dandelion, chicory, eyebright, dong Quai, fenugreek, fennel seed, kelp, horsetail, licorice, lemongrass, mullein, milk thistle seed, oat straw, nettle, parsley, paprika, plantain, peppermint, rosehips, raspberry leaf, shepherd’s purse, sarsaparilla, yellow dock, uva ursi.


Meat: Chicken, rabbit, pork, turkey, ostrich, goat, egg, buffalo, salmon, beef, haddock, halibut, sardine.

Herbs: Bladderwrack, alfalfa, cayenne, catnip, chickweed, chamomile, eyebright, dandelion, fenugreek, fennel, horsetail, hops, licorice, lemongrass, nettle, mullein, paprika, oat straw, peppermint, parsley, red clover, raspberry leaf, shepherd’s purse, sage, yellow dock, yarrow.


Meat: chicken, rabbit, pork, turkey, ostrich, goat, egg, buffalo, salmon, beef, halibut, haddock, sardine.

Herbs: Burdock root, alfalfa, chamomile, catnip, dandelion, chickweed, fennel seed, eyebright, ginseng, fenugreek, horsetail, hops, mullein, lemongrass, peppermint, parsley, red clover, raspberry leaf, wild yam, rosehip, yellow dock, yarrow.


Meat: Turkey, rabbit, lamb, pork, goat, lamb, buffalo, ostrich, beef, egg, halibut, salmon, sardine, haddock.

Herbs: Turkey rhubarb, burdock root, slippery elm bark.


Meat: Chicken, rabbit, pork, turkey, goat, lamb, buffalo, ostrich, salmon, beef, egg, haddock, halibut, sardine.

Herbs: Hops, catnip, nettle, horsetail, plantain, nettle, sage, red clover, skullcap.


Meat: Chicken, rabbit, pork, turkey, goat, lamb, ostrich, goat, egg, buffalo, salmon, beef, haddock, halibut, sardine.

Herbs: Burdock root, alfalfa, cayenne, catnip, chickweed, chamomile, ginseng, fennel seed, hawthorn berry, garlic, lemongrass, horsetail, oat straw, milk thistle nettle, peppermint, parsley, rosehips, raspberry leaf, uva ursi, sarsaparilla, yellow dock, yarrow.


Meat: Chicken, rabbit, pork, turkey, goat, lamb, buffalo, ostrich, beef, egg, halibut, salmon, sardine, haddock.

Herbs: Burdock root, alfalfa, chamomile, cayenne, dandelion, chickweed, fennel seed, eyebright, milk thistle, hops, parsley, nettle, sage, rose hips, skullcap, sarsaparilla, wild yam.

NB: It’s always advised to find out about contraindications of certain nutritional herbs before administering them.



In the end, dog mineral supplements are essential for dogs to live healthy lives just like us humans.

But unlike us humans, dogs hardly need supplements as their foods already contain all the minerals they need.

Nevertheless, there is always an exception to the rule. Some dogs might have special needs that can only be met by supplementing their diet.

Two good examples are young puppies and aging dogs. In truth, these dogs do tend to require higher intakes of certain minerals.

However, the big pet food brands already carry special foods for these dogs. And these foods usually come with the needed mineral.

This is why your vet is the only person in the best position to call the shots on when your dog needs a supplement.

Plus, the production of dog mineral supplements is not regulated in the United States.

This means that we are all at the mercy of these manufacturers. So, you might want to do your research into any brand you’re thinking of patronizing.

It could help to look them up on the FDA site and see if they’ve ever been recalled before parting with your money.