Of the twenty six nutrients needed by dogs, none can be left out of the ration, or added at inadequate levels, if optimum growth and performance are expected.
Because the nutrients interact with each other, they must be included in precise ratios. If a large excess of one nutrient occurs, then the quantities of other nutrients in the ration must be increased accordingly. Otherwise, a deficiency of certain nutrients exists.
This can be a dangerous situation.
A good example of this is the relationship between calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. All effects are interrelated. The ratio of calcium to phosphorus must be maintained at 1.2 or 1. If additional calcium is added, creating an imbalance, there would be an inefficient assimilation of these minerals.
The result could cause a disease known as rickets.
Considering that vitamin D acts as transportation for calcium, one can begin to see how these three elements are connected. While a deficiency of calcium predisposes to rickets, an excess of calcium will do likewise.
In adult dogs, the condition would be referred to as “paper bones”.
A more common example is an excess of fat in the diet. If fat increased to high levels, then fat will satisfy the energy requirements of the dog before the requirements for other nutrients are met. The result would be a nutritional imbalance. An increase of fat requires a corresponding increase in vitamin B12.
Of particular concern are those professional breeders who attempt to bred over-sized, large boned “super dogs”. Nutritional experts state that certain supplements such as oils, enzymes, and minerals should be used only under a veterinarian’s supervision or recommendation. This is especially true of calcium and cod liver oil (vitamin D), both of which are frequently used by breeders during growth. In excess, they can cause serious problems, particularly with bone development.
In this regard, it should be added that excess vitamin and mineral supplements may be the aggravating cause of heart problems, hip problems, and lower the all-around health of a dog.
With the hip dysplasia problem being so rampant, and no longer confined to just one or two breeds, professional breeders must become more aware of the dangers up upsetting intricate balances with their “home treatments” and super “bone builders” (genetic inheritance notwithstanding).
Drugs have a very definite place in our society. It is the misuse and abuse of drugs that creates a problem. Likewise, vitamin and mineral supplementation has an important place in the dog world, but misuse and abuse creates a dangerous problem.