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Dogs & Puppies : Health & Vet Care Last Updated: Oct 25th, 2006 - 08:57:26

Your dog's mineral needs
By Chester Duke
Feb 12, 2006, 22:03

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What do minerals do? 
Minerals, in addition to vitamins, only make up less than two percent of any formulated diet for dogs.  However, they are the most critical of nutrients.  Although minerals are without any calories or energy, their main function is to assist the body in energy production.  A dog's body can make vitamins, but it cannot make minerals.  All minerals come from the food that your dog eats, but the availability of the minerals is quite complex.

Lost Minerals
Between 50% and 85% of minerals are lost during food processing.  This can cause deficiencies within your dog's body.  There are a lot of minerals that are not destroyed by heat, but many of them are water soluble and are lost during the cooking process and before packaging.

Your Dog's Minimum Daily Requirements
All dog food must be made within the guidelines of the Minimum Daily Requirement of known figures to use in the recipes they use for food.  This minimum is set by the National Research Council.  However, the NRC tells us that the research information that is presented to them has been limited, is not complete with many nutrients and life stages, and that much of this information is over thirty years old.  The sum total of minerals, together with the cereal grains contained in all of a food's ingredients, determine the acid/alkaline balance of the body.  Most minerals are moderately absorbed even when  your dog's digestive system is functioning at optimum health.

Let's talk about how much your dog needs.  It's hard to tell.  You see, the way that dog food is made, the source of the ingredients, the breed and the dog's age, as well as the climate that he lives in, all have an effect on his mineral needs.  Also, the need for minerals for differing life stages has yet to be calculated.   However, the NRC (National Research Council) states that more are needed during growth, gestation, lactation, old age, and when your dog is physically exerting himself. 

Types of Minerals For Your Dog
All minerals are either elemental or chelated.  Elemental means that they come from the earth and are composed of chemical molecules.  These chemical molecules cannot be reduced to simpler substances.  They are basic constituents of all living matter.  They exist in an inorganic state. 

Chelated minerals are suspended in an amino acid or other organic substance, for example tates or arginates, which make them easier for the body to absorb.  There are approximately 17 types of minerals that your dog needs.  They are considered “essential” and are grouped as trace or macro.  There are eight macrominerals which are: calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, chloride, sulfur, magnesium, and silicon.  The nine trace minerals are: iron, zinc, copper, cobalt, iodine, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, and selenium.

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