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Calcium Carbonate for Dogs: Benefits, Uses & Side Effects

Nicole Cosgrove

Making sure your dog gets all the necessary nutrients in their diet is vital for them to live a long, healthy, and happy life. Among these essential nutrients, there are several that are absolutely vital, and one of the most important of these is calcium. Not only does calcium carbonate have a wide range of health benefits for your dog, but it is a mineral that your dog cannot function optimally without.

In this article, we take a detailed look at the benefits, uses, and potential side effects of calcium carbonate in your dog’s diet and why it’s such a vital nutrient. Let’s get started!

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What is calcium carbonate?

american pitbull terrier_Anna Krivitskaya_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock

Calcium carbonate is an oral calcium salt typically used to treat pets with low calcium levels. It is also used as an antacid, a preservative in many pet foods, and a color-retention agent. This mineral is commonly derived from a wide range of sources, including bone meal, limestone, oyster shells, and clay.

Benefits and uses of calcium carbonate

Calcium is a vital ingredient in your dog’s diet, not only for the commonly known use of strengthening and maintaining teeth and bone health but also for several other important functions. It works as a conductor of nerve signals, aids in muscle function, and acts as an intestinal phosphate binder to reduce phosphate absorption.

Most commercial dog foods are complete and balanced and contain the perfect amount of calcium that your dog needs. If your pooch is eating a balanced diet, the use of supplemental calcium carbonate is not necessary, and too much of this mineral may even cause potential health issues.

Uses

Calcium is commonly used as an oral antacid and as a calcium supplement in dogs with chronic hypocalcemia and to help reduce blood clotting. It is also used in dog food as an acidity regulator, anti-caking agent, and stabilizer. It can also help reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel disease and general stomach upset and indigestion.

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Calcium carbonate side effects

While calcium carbonate is generally safe in the right amounts or when prescribed by a vet, there are potential side effects to be aware of. Although rare, some of these can be potentially harmful to your pooch. These include constipation, abnormalities in bone development, bladder stones, weakness, and lack of appetite. Too much calcium can also reduce the absorption of other minerals, like iron and zinc, which can then snowball into a host of other health issues.

Calcium supplementation should only be used in pets with low blood calcium, or there is a serious risk of developing side effects. Never give your dog additional calcium unless prescribed by your vet.

What are the symptoms of calcium deficiency in dogs?

Hypocalcemia or calcium deficiency in dogs occurs when the calcium levels in their blood are lower than normal, which can have a massive impact on your dog’s health, including kidney failure. Common symptoms of calcium deficiency include:

  • Muscle twitching
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Listlessness
  • Panting
  • Behavioral changes
  • Seizures

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s vital to get your dog to a vet right away. They will run tests to check if your dog is calcium deficient and what the cause is.

sick dog
Image Credit: Javier Brosch, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

An essential mineral in your dog’s diet, calcium aids in bone and teeth growth and health, prevents clotting, and aids muscle functioning. Without enough calcium, your pooch can suffer from fairly serious health issues, but too much additional calcium carbonate can also cause problems and result in the negation of the effects of other vital minerals.

Your dog should be getting all the calcium that they require from a balanced diet, although there are rare cases where supplemental calcium is needed. In this case, a visit to the vet is best because you should never add calcium to your dog’s diet without consulting them first.


Featured Image: sulit.photos, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.