The Essential Role of Phosphorus for Dogs
You love your dog, so naturally, you want to make sure it’s getting the very best nutrition money can buy. Store-bought kibble contains all the phosphorus your furry friend needs, but if you feed your pup a raw diet, you might wonder whether it’s getting enough of this important mineral.
Below, you’ll learn about the importance of phosphorus for dogs, plus how to keep your dog healthy with bully puppy supplements and other products from XDOG.
The Importance of Phosphorus for Dogs
It can be tough to understand the importance of phosphorus in dog nutrition if you’re not an expert in canine dietary needs. You may have heard of some raw-feeding dog owners advocating for a low-phosphorus diet because too much phosphorus can make your pup sick.
However, a diet low in phosphorus can be dangerous for both puppies and adult dogs. Phosphorus is an essential mineral your pup needs for strong bones and healthy teeth. Phosphorus metabolism in dogs also helps your dog’s body use fats and carbohydrates efficiently.
Phosphorus plays an important role in protecting your dog’s kidneys, too. Without this mineral, the kidneys can’t remove toxins, which could cause your buddy to become weak and lethargic over time.
Other functions of phosphorus in dogs include:
- Fusing with proteins and lipids to make membranes and repair tissues in the body
- Controlling heartbeat regularity
- Aiding muscle contraction
- Supporting nerve conduction
- Maintaining pH balance
- Producing ATP, a molecule your dog’s body needs to store energy
Phosphorus doesn’t do its job alone. It’s very unstable, which means you’ll need to pair it with calcium for this mineral to work at its best. Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth, immune function, and blood clotting.
Ideally, you should feed your dog phosphorus and calcium at a ratio of 1:1, with slightly more calcium than phosphorus. Exactly how much calcium to give depends on your dog’s age. Puppies typically need less calcium than adult dogs.
How Much Phosphorus Does Your Dog Need?
It’s safe to give your dog up to 22.25 milligrams of phosphorus per kilogram of body weight daily. Large breeds need between 0.7% and 1% phosphorus, while smaller breeds and puppies can get by with anything from 0.6% to 1.3% phosphorus. The more active your dog is, the more phosphorus it will need.
What Are Some Phosphorus-Rich Foods for Dogs?
Now that you’ve learned about the importance of dietary phosphorus for canines, you might worry your dog’s diet doesn’t contain enough of this vital mineral. If you’re feeding raw, you’ll find plenty of phosphorus-rich foods out there, but not all foods that contain phosphorus are safe for dogs.
Meat such as chicken, beef, rabbit, and lamb contain large amounts of phosphorus for dogs. Giving your dog meaty bones is a good way to get more phosphorus into its diet. As a bonus, these bones are packed with calcium.
Make sure to give your dog bones that are appropriate for its size. Never feed chicken bones to dogs, as they are too small and can cause your pup to choke.
You can buy meaty bones at many grocery stores. If you’re having trouble finding them, ask your butcher if they’ll set aside some bones for you. Most will be happy to do this; some will even give you unwanted bones for free.
Salmon and halibut are also good sources of phosphorus and other nutrients your dog’s body needs. Salmon, in particular, is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to healthy skin and a shiny coat. If you have an older dog with arthritis, a diet rich in omega-3 acids can help ease stiffness and sore joints.
Other good sources of phosphorus include mushrooms, potatoes, lentils, and eggs. Try whipping up a tasty omelet and watch your furry friend scarf it down!
How To Recognize Phosphorus Deficiency in Dogs
Phosphorus deficiency in dogs is quite rare, especially if you feed your dog a nutritionally balanced bagged kibble. If you feed raw foods and don’t properly balance your dog’s diet, though, it’s possible your dog isn’t getting enough phosphorus.
Certain health conditions can contribute to low phosphorus levels, including:
- Low vitamin D
- Diabetes with ketoacidosis
- Fanconi syndrome
Feeding too much calcium can also cause your dog’s phosphorus levels to decline. That may sound counterintuitive, but these minerals have an inverse relationship. Although your dog needs both, giving excessive calcium can actually do more harm than good.
Typically, if your dog has a phosphorus deficiency, you’ll also see signs of a calcium deficiency. One of the most obvious signs you might notice is stunted growth. If your dog seems much smaller than it should be for its breed and age, it may not be eating enough phosphorus-rich foods. A lack of phosphorus can also cause poor red blood cell function, anemia, muscle pain, and neurological decline.
Signs of Too Much Phosphorus in Dogs
Just as it’s important to ensure your pup gets enough phosphorus, it’s vital to ensure you don’t give them too much. This is generally hard to do unless you’re giving them nothing but meat all the time.
However, some older dogs can develop excess phosphorus levels through no fault of their owners. This can cause a condition called hyperphosphatemia. Older dogs frequently develop conditions such as thyroid disease, kidney disease, and bone cancer, all of which can contribute to poor levels of phosphorus in the body.
Hyperphosphatemia can cause:
- Painful bones and joints
- Weakness and lethargy
- Excessive thirst and urination
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and diarrhea
If you notice any of these signs in your furry friend, schedule a veterinary checkup.
Give Your Dog the Nutrition It Needs With XDOG
If you’re concerned about nutritional deficiency in dogs, try a supplement from XDOG, such as our Muscle Bully Vita Bully Multivitamin Supplements. They’re packed with plenty of phosphorus for dogs, as well as other must-have vitamins, minerals, and nutrients designed to support your pup’s skin, coat, and gut health.