What’s In Your Dog’s Bowl? 5 Nutrients He Might Be Missing Out On

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by Daniela Baker

You want the very best for little Lucky, from his toys to his dog food. However, if Lucky isn’t getting all the nutrients he needs each day, he may not enjoy the best of health.

In this article, we’ll help you understand what’s in your dog’s bowl, along with 5 nutrients he might be missing out on. We will also explain how you can supplement these nutrients to keep Lucky as happy and healthy as can be.

Before we start, please remember to check with Lucky’s veterinarian before adding any supplements to his diet. Giving Lucky too many supplements or the wrong supplements can be dangerous.

  1. Taurine
    Taurine is an amino acid, a building block of protein. If little Belle doesn’t get enough taurine, she could develop dilated cardiomyopathy, a type of heart enlargement.

    Not all dry dog foods have enough taurine, although most do. According to Dr. Ronald Hines, D.V.M, Ph.D, this is especially a problem in dry dog foods made mostly from rice and lamb.

    According to the Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats, you can supplement Belle’s diet by giving her 500 mg of taurine 2 or 3 times daily. You can get taurine supplements without a prescription.

  2. Calcium
    Calcium is one of 12 minerals every dog has to have. Cooper needs it for his bones and teeth, plus to use to send signals from one nerve cell to the next.

    If puppies are born to mothers who did not get the proper nutrients or are given a diet of mostly meat and bread, they may suffer from calcium deficiency. Dr. Hines writes that signs of calcium deficiency in puppies include pink, translucent teeth, knobby joints, and a bow-legged posture. They may also develop bone fractures.

    This is why, in the wild, Cooper would be eating animal bones. It’s also why many pet food makers add powered bone or calcium carbonate into kibble. Most dog foods do contain enough calcium.

    But, if you’re feeding Cooper an alternative diet, like an all-meat diet, you need to give him some extra calcium. Dr. Hines advises using 500 mg calcium carbonate tablets, often sold in stores as antacids. He adds 1.5 tablets for each 10 to 15 pounds of body weight daily.

  3. Magnesium
    Gracie needs magnesium for muscle activity, nerve cell functioning, healthy teeth, and healthy bones. If Gracie doesn’t get enough magnesium, she could become underweight and have trouble getting around on her own.

    Again, most dog foods do have enough magnesium. However, if you’re feeding Gracie an alternative or homemade diet, you may have to give her magnesium supplements yourself. These pet supplements are easy to find over-the-counter.

  4. Protein
    As Midnight gets older, he could need up to 50% more protein in his diet to keep his protein reserves up. This will help him remain strong.

    Puppies also need more protein to fuel their bodies as they grow bigger.

    Dr. Hines recommends a diet with 20% to 45% protein for adult dogs, while homeopathic veterinarian Dr. Christina Chambreau says 25% to 60% is best for a dog’s diet.

    You can find protein supplements online and at some pet stores. Dr. Hines and Dr. Chambreau say animal proteins are the best choice for canines.

  5. Water
    Yes, water can be considered a nutrient! If Lori doesn’t get enough water, she could suffer from dehydration, possibly leading to death.

    As a pet parent, you need to give Lori access to fresh water 24/7. Wet dog food has more moisture, but it’s not a substitute for having access to water at all times.

Now that you know the 5 nutrients Spike might be missing out on, you can make sure you give him the food and access to water he needs to stay healthy.

Again, other than adding better access to fresh water, please do not start supplementing Spike’s diet without talking to his veterinarian first!


Daniela Baker is a blogger with the consumer credit website, CreditDonkey. As someone who grew up with bunnies, a dog, a horse, birds and pet turtles, she reminds you, a healthy dog is a happy dog. With the right nutrients, Spike can keep bringing love and laughter to your home for years to come.

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About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi spent her time working in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions.

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