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Manganese for Dogs: Benefits, Uses & Side Effects

Kathryn Copeland

Most dog owners are completely aware of the importance of the nutrients that are essential for keeping their dogs healthy—carbs, protein, fats, calcium, vitamin A, and so on. But many are not as likely to be aware of the importance of manganese.

Manganese is vital for certain aspects of your dog’s health, so we’ll go over why it’s such an essential part of your dog’s diet and how you can ensure to include it in your pup’s meals.divider-dog

What Is Manganese?

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Credit: PortalJuma, Pixabay

Manganese is a micromineral or trace mineral, which your dog’s body needs in small amounts. It assists in the absorption and digestion of the carbohydrates and proteins in your dog’s diet. Manganese can also stimulate more than 300 enzyme functions, including converting your dog’s food into fatty acids and energy.

Manganese can also contribute to forming your dog’s skeletal structure and assists in the kidney and liver functioning at an optimal level. It’s also essential for helping to develop and maintain strong and healthy ligaments.

Manganese also helps with your dog’s brain health as it prevents oxidation, which releases free radicals that damage the cells, proteins, and DNA of your dog’s body and brain. The unfortunate side effect of this is dementia, as your dog can end up with memory issues.

Clearly, manganese is super important, but where is it typically found?

Where Can You Find Manganese?

Small amounts of manganese come from liver, bones, and meat, but really not enough to meet your dog’s daily nutritional requirements. In fact, the best sources of manganese come from parts of animals that aren’t typically used in your dog’s food—wool, hair, and feathers. Pretty unappealing, isn’t it?

Whole grains, seeds, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and nuts are all sources of manganese, so if you provide your dog with these, he should have enough manganese to reap the rewards.

How Much Manganese Does Your Dog Need?

We can’t give you the exact amount that your dog would need every day because the amount will depend on your dog’s breed, size, age, activity level, typical diet, and health.

The usual amount required is relatively small, and experts in dog nutrition have recommended 2.3 mg of manganese for each 1 pound of dog food. Obviously, larger dogs will need more manganese than the smaller breeds, and puppies and young dogs will need larger doses in order for it to aid in their growth.

Additionally, the breed of your dog is a factor. For example, sledding breeds, such as the Malamute, have trouble absorbing minerals, so these breeds will need a larger dose to make up for this.

Lastly, if your dog is ill or stressed, the mineral intake might be affected, and again, the dose should be increased.

Your best bet would be to consult with your vet regarding how much manganese would be suitable for your dog specifically. Finding the right dosage is vital as too much could have negative side effects and too little can result in a deficiency.

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Manganese Deficiency

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Credit: Studio13lights, Shutterstock

Manganese deficiency isn’t very common in adult dogs, but it is more likely to occur with puppies and young dogs.

Problems with a manganese deficiency might include:
  • Ataxia (unsteady, tremors, eye flicking)
  • Poor growth
  • Inability or difficulties reproducing
  • Abnormalities with coat and skin
  • Abnormalities with skeletal structure and joints

This list is based on studies that were conducted on other mammals as there haven’t been any specific studies on dogs since it isn’t a common issue.

Manganese Toxicity

While ingesting too much manganese has the potential to be toxic, there is actually no information available on what the effects would be if your dog had too much of the mineral. In fact, manganese is thought to be one of the least toxic of the microminerals.

Part of this might be because it’s actually quite challenging to find enough manganese that should make up part of your dog’s diet.

Adding Manganese to Your Dog’s Diet

We established earlier that the average dog should ingest 2.3 mg of manganese for every 1 pound of food. We’ll have a brief look at what foods can add the right amount of manganese to your dog’s diet.

This list is in order of foods that are highest to lowest in manganese:
  • Mussels: You would need 29 grams of raw blue mussels to get 1 mg of manganese.
  • Spirulina: Often touted as a superfood, spirulina is blue-green algae, and you’ll need 53 grams of dried spirulina for 1 mg of manganese.
  • Spinach: You’ll need 111 grams of raw spinach for 1 mg of manganese.
  • Blackberries: 155 grams (works out to about 1 cup) of blackberries for 1 mg of manganese.
  • Liver: 323 grams of raw beef liver will give you 1 mg of manganese.

And just to compare, you would need 10,000 grams of lean ground beef for that 1 mg of manganese.

This is just to give an idea of the amount of food as well as the variety. You obviously wouldn’t want to feed an entire cup of blackberries to your dog every day, but combining a number of these foods, particularly if your dog is on a raw food diet, should give him enough manganese daily.

Again, consult with your vet about the safest way to get this mineral into your dog’s diet.

Supplements

There are a number of supplements that you can give your pup if you decide not to go with the food sources discussed above. For example, many dog food manufacturers ensure manganese is included as an ingredient, so be sure to look for high-quality and nutritionally balanced dog food.

There are also treats, like this one, that contain the right amount of manganese. You can also be on the lookout for supplements that can be added to your dog’s regular food.

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Credit: Josfor, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Manganese is clearly an important mineral that supports many of the systems in your dog’s body and will help everything from the brain to ligament health. Speak to your vet if you’re unsure if your dog is receiving enough manganese in his diet and the best way to add some more in.

One of the best options to provide your dog with all of the essential nutrients is to go with a raw diet, but even a raw diet that hasn’t been carefully planned won’t necessarily be a healthy alternative. Explore what works best for both your dog and yourself in conjunction with your vet, and you can rest assured that your dog will live a long and fruitful life.

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Featured image credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Kathryn Copeland

Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.