When it comes to dog health, joints and joint supplements are always trending topics. But joints are only one aspect of canine skeletal health; many important functions within the body are actually controlled by your dog’s BONES. This post, from the makers of BONEO Canine®, explores the role that minerals play in your dog’s body and how mineral balance is an important consideration for your dog’s health.
What is a Mineral?
A mineral is an inorganic (non-living) chemical substance that occurs naturally in the earth. There are many different types of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and boron. All mammals, including dogs, require minerals to maintain proper body functions.
How Does My Dog Get His or Her Minerals?
Minerals are not produced inside your dog’s body; rather, they are obtained through diet and/or supplementation. While not getting enough minerals can lead to health problems, excessive intake of minerals can also cause disorders and negatively affect health. Therefore, it’s essential to strike a mineral balance, where your dog receives neither too little nor too much minerals.
What Exactly Do Minerals Do for My Dog?
Most people associate minerals with strong bones. It is true that minerals support the structure of the canine skeletal system. In fact, the average dog has over 300 bones in his or her body (from the auditory ossicles in the ear – which allow for hearing – to the elbows and knees – which allow for movement). Every single one of these bones contains minerals.
But what’s less known is that minerals are actually multi-functional in nature, and do much more than maintain the structure of bones and joints in dogs. For example, calcium plays an important role in bone density, but also supports heart function and proper muscle contraction. Similarly, zinc is an important co-factor in stimulating bone formation, but also promotes a healthy immune response.
What is the Right Mineral Balance in Dogs?
There is no universally right amount of minerals that your dog should receive because his or her needs may vary depending on several factors:
- Diet – Since minerals are obtained from the diet, the quality and quantity of food your dog eats is critical. Finding a breed-appropriate and good quality diet (whether it is commercial, homemade, or a diet augmented with supplementation) is key to ensuring mineral balance.
- Size – Larger dogs require more minerals than smaller dogs, which is why dosing (quantity) is so important when it comes to food and/or supplementation.
- Age – Puppies need more minerals to support their growth and development. Also, senior dogs need more minerals to support their aging body.
- Breeds – Certain breeds are genetically predisposed to having problems with mineral absorption. For example, northern breeds (such as Siberian huskies) have trouble absorbing zinc.
- Activity Level – The bone is a dynamic tissue that is constantly remodeling; the more it’s stressed, the more remodeling it needs, and subsequently the greater its mineral demand. Therefore, active dogs usually require more minerals than sedentary dogs.
- Trauma or External Stresses – After an fracture or orthopedic procedure, there is an increase in mineral demand at the site of injury. At this time, your veterinarian may recommend you to give your dog more minerals to support his or her healthy recovery.
How Do Minerals, Vitamins and Proteins Function with Each Other?
While minerals are necessary for good health, it is important to remember that they are still inorganic substances that need to be absorbed through the intestinal tract and integrated into the body. Some minerals are easily absorbed, while others may need help from supportive nutrients called co-factors. For example, calcium requires vitamin D3 to be effectively absorbed into the body. Mammals also produce specialized proteins to help with mineral uptake. For example, all mammals (including your dog) naturally produce a multi-functional protein called lactoferrin, which binds to and actively transports essential minerals (like iron and zinc) into the body.
What Role does the Bone Play in Supporting Mineral Balance?
Consider the bone a mineral “bank” and the minerals as “currency.” If the bone is functioning properly, it will store the minerals obtained from the diet, and will release the minerals as needed to support various bodily functions (such as nerve impulse conduction, digestion, and the regulation of sleeping patterns). Problems arise when the bone “bank” is running low on mineral “currency” for reasons such as poor diet, physical injury, absorption problems, aging, etc.
How Do I Ensure that my Dog Achieves Mineral Balance?
The best way to achieve mineral balance in your dog (and minimize problems caused by deficiency or excessive levels of minerals) is by keeping him or her active and by providing a well-rounded diet that is breed and age appropriate. As a proactive measure, supplementation may also be recommended.
As for supplementation options, BONEO Canine® Maintenance Formula is an innovative all natural bone and joint supplement for dogs that is worth discussing with your veterinarian. Most traditional glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM based supplements only address one aspect of canine skeletal health – the joints. BONEO Canine® is unique because it supports BOTH joints and bones. This multi-functional formula is powered by the patented Neo-PORTIN® Complex, a blend of Ribonuclease-enriched Lactoferrin (R-ELF), Coenzyme-Q10 and β-Glucan. Neo-PORTIN® Complex acts as a target delivery mechanism to help increase the bioavailability of bone specific nutrients and maintain mineral balance. As a result, you can provide your dog smaller and safer doses of minerals, co-factors, and vitamins and still obtain optimal benefits. BONEO Canine has also been shown to enhance bone turnover activity, promote joint comfort, and support healthy cartilage and connective tissue function.
BONEO Canine® Maintenance Formula is safe for short-term and long-term use and recommended for dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds. As always, before making changes or additions to your dog’s diet and/or supplementation, it always recommended that you consult with your veterinarian.