Should a Puppy Take Calcium Supplements?

by Naomi Millburn
    Ample water is key to a strong puppy diet.

    Ample water is key to a strong puppy diet.

    Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    When you have a puppy pal in your life, you only want the greatest for him, from food to the most exciting and entertaining of all chew toys. As far as diet goes, it's crucial to not make any decisions about anything without the prior suggestion of a veterinarian, whether portion size or the addition of nutritional supplements such as calcium.

    Puppies' dietary needs are different than those of mature doggies. The youngsters have significantly higher energy needs, for one. A well-rounded puppy diet consists of all the appropriate amounts of things that are so important to their optimal growth and strength, including fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins and carbohydrates. With the appropriate levels of everything, this type of diet can encourage healthy development. If you're on search for a puppy food that contains all of these vital elements -- and in the necessary amounts, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation of a balanced and nutritionally complete commercial puppy formula.

    Unless veterinarians explicitly suggest them, nutritional supplements -- calcium or otherwise -- are not at all necessary in puppies who eat balanced or complete puppy food, indicates the website for the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Calcium supplements, among others, can actually be hazardous to puppies. If a puppy receives inordinate amounts of calcium, it can often be equally as problematic as him not getting enough of it. Muscle, bone and joint issues can sometimes arise from immoderate calcium intake. Too much of anything -- including calcium -- is not a good thing.

    Some young pups do occasionally need calcium supplements for growth purposes, but only a veterinarian can make that decision. Puppies aren't the only canines who occasionally benefit from this type of supplementation. Pregnant and nursing female dogs also sometimes need extra calcium.

    As a puppy advances into adulthood, the same rule continues to apply -- and that's that zero supplementation is needed without a veterinarian's instructions. As long as an adult dog is routinely eating healthy "balanced" and "complete" meals, then he's usually good to go. Just as puppies need to eat commercial food that is formulated for juveniles, adult dogs need adult food in order to properly accommodate their own diet demands. Never feed an adult dog puppy food, or vice versa.

    Photo Credits

    • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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