What Exactly are Minerals?
Minerals, like vitamins, are compounds or elements that play vital roles in a wide variety of chemical processes in your and your dog’s bodies. The need for minerals can range from digestion all the way to nervous system function. Minerals are divided into two classes: macro-minerals and micro-minerals.
Macro-minerals are present in relatively large quantities in your dog’s body and are required in higher amounts in the diet. These include calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium.
There are at least 11 micro-minerals, including iron, zinc, copper, selenium, iodine, chromium, fluorine, cobalt, molybdenum, boron and manganese. In this article we’ll focus on the first four, since they’re the most important for your pet.
Let’s dive in!
Calcium and Phosphorus
These are the two most common minerals found in your dog’s body, with calcium coming in first and phosphorus second. Primarily, they act as structural components for your dog’s teeth and bones. Calcium also acts as a chemical messenger, which makes it vital for constriction/dilation of blood vessels, nervous system function, muscle contraction, hormone secretion and blood coagulation.
Because calcium is so versatile, it’s very important to maintain adequate levels in your dog’s blood. If your dog doesn’t have enough calcium in his or her diet, it will pull calcium from the bones to maintain blood levels, which ultimately results in loss in bone density.
Sodium, Potassium and Chloride
These are the major electrolytes and are maintained in water as electrically charged particles or ions. As such, they are responsible for maintaining acid-base balance and osmosis balance. They are also important for transmitting nerve impulses facilitating muscle contractions.
Magnesium is a component of bone structure, enzymes and intracellular fluids. It also has an important effect on neuromuscular transmissions. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals, especially in older dogs.
Iron is very important for your pet as an essential component of both hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen. Myoglobin is the part of the muscle cells that carry oxygen.
This is why an iron deficiency can lead to anemia in humans and dogs.
Zinc is the most versatile of all minerals because it contributes to the construction of over 200 enzymes. As an extension of these enzymes, zinc plays a huge role in a diverse set of physiological functions in your dog. Some of the most notable include immunocompetence, healing, growth and reproduction.
Similarly to iron, copper is needed for the formation of red blood cells. It’s also responsible for normal pigmentation of skin and hair. So if you want your dog’s coat to be smooth and beautiful, make sure they’re getting enough copper!
Selenium is very important because it helps make up glutathione peroxidase, a naturally occurring antioxidant. Glutathione peroxidase is found in all cells of your dog’s body fighting oxidative stress and inflammation. Inflammation is one of the main precursors to cancer and a whole host of other health risks, making selenium vital for your dog’s long term health and happiness.
Pup Supps Minerals
We don’t just want our pups to survive. We want them to thrive! And we understand the importance of minerals in achieving this goal. That’s why we include the perfect complex of minerals in our supplements, sourcing only the highest quality ingredients.
Check out our article about vitamins for dogs here!