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One of the earliest research I found on Magnesium deficiency in puppies dates back to 1961 which is pretty cool considering that Illinois-based AAFCO wasn’t even big at this time. Pet food regulation was still in its nascent stages.

The study’s literature quoted other studies that had found Magnesium to be essential in calcification and proper bone development in animals. It also noted that this was the first time Magnesium levels were being looked at in pet foods.

At the time of the 1961 study, there were only two types of magnesium available for use in animal feed: oxide and sulfate. The research conducted then showed that magnesium oxide was absorbed less by puppies than magnesium sulfate.

Magnesium makes up 2% of the earth’s crust and is the 8th most abundant element in the universe. In the animal kingdom, magnesium is found in all living cells and plays a vital role in over 300 biochemical reactions, including energy production, DNA synthesis, and protein formation.

What is Magnesium in dog food?

Magnesium is an essential mineral for dogs. It’s involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including helping to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeping heart rhythm steady, supporting a healthy immune system, and keeping bones strong.

Benefits of Magnesium in Dog Food

Let’s go through these functions step by step to understand the importance of this mineral.

 Energy metabolism:

Magnesium is required for the proper metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It helps to convert blood sugar into energy and is needed for the proper function of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy “currency” of the body.

ATP is essential for many cellular processes, including muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, and gene expression.

Protein synthesis:

Magnesium is required for the proper synthesis of proteins from amino acids. Proteins are the building blocks of all cells, tissues, and organs in the body. Synthesis is the process by which the cells create new proteins from amino acids which are in a form useful to the dog’s body.

Nerve function:

Magnesium is needed for proper nerve function. It helps to maintain normal muscle tone and supports the transmission of nerve impulses. Magnesium also plays a role in regulating calcium levels in the body, which is important for proper muscle contraction.

DNA and RNA synthesis:

Magnesium is required for the proper synthesis of DNA and RNA. DNA is the genetic material that contains the instructions for all the proteins in the body. RNA is similar to DNA but plays a different role in cell function. It helps to create proteins from the instructions in DNA.

Bone health:

Magnesium is needed for the proper development and maintenance of bones. It helps to regulate calcium levels in the body and is required for the proper absorption of vitamin D, which is important for bone health. Magnesium also plays a role in the formation of new bone tissue.

Immune system function:

Magnesium is needed for a healthy immune system. It helps to regulate inflammation in the body and is required for the proper function of white blood cells, which are important for fighting infection.

What are the signs/symptoms of magnesium deficiency in dogs?

The signs of magnesium deficiency vary depending on the severity of the deficiency. mild deficiencies may cause no signs, while more severe deficiencies can cause muscle weakness, tremors, seizures, and difficulty breathing.

Muscle weakness:

Magnesium is required for proper muscle function. A deficiency can cause muscle weakness, tremors, and difficulty moving.

Tremors:

A magnesium deficiency can cause involuntary muscle contractions and tremors. Tremors are often most noticeable in the muscles of the face, head, and neck.

Seizures:

Seizures are a serious symptom of magnesium deficiency. They occur when there is a sudden change in electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.

Difficulty breathing:

Magnesium is required for proper muscle function, including the muscles used for breathing. A deficiency can cause difficulty breathing and respiratory distress.

How is magnesium deficiency diagnosed?

Magnesium deficiency is typically diagnosed based on the signs and symptoms present. Your veterinarian may also recommend blood and urine tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of magnesium deficiency includes supplementation with oral or injectable magnesium. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

Prevention of magnesium deficiency includes providing a diet that contains an adequate amount of magnesium. Commercial dog foods typically contain enough magnesium to meet the needs of most dogs. However, some dogs may require a diet with higher levels of magnesium if they are pregnant or nursing, or if they have certain medical conditions. Consult your veterinarian to determine if your dog needs a special diet.

Dietary Sources of Magnesium

There are many good dietary sources of magnesium, including dark leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. You can also find magnesium supplements at most health food stores.

Leafy vegetables:

Spinach, kale, and other dark leafy greens are good sources of magnesium.

Nuts and seeds:

Almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are all good sources of magnesium.

Whole grains:

Whole wheat flour, oatmeal, and brown rice are all good sources of magnesium.

Magnesium supplements:

You can find magnesium supplements at most health food stores. Look for a supplement that contains magnesium citrate, glycinate, or oxide.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 300-400 mg per day for adults.

Pregnant and nursing women need slightly more magnesium, about 350-450 mg per day.

The RDA for dogs is 5-10 mg/kg of body weight per day.

For example, a 50-pound dog would need 250-500 mg of magnesium per day.

Most commercial dog foods contain enough magnesium to meet the needs of most dogs. However, some dogs may require a diet with higher levels of magnesium if they are pregnant or nursing, or if they have certain medical conditions. Consult your veterinarian to determine if your dog needs a special diet.

How much Magnesium does my dog need?

The amount of magnesium your dog needs depends on their age, weight, and health. Puppies and adult dogs need different amounts of magnesium, and sick or pregnant dogs may need more than healthy adult dogs.

On a dry matter basis, your dog should get 0.06 percent for growing dogs and adult maintenance, according to AAFCO guidelines as shown and highlighted on the AAFCO table below;

On a caloric basis, your dog should get 1.8 mg for growing dogs and 1.25 mg for adult maintenance, according to AAFCO guidelines as shown and highlighted on the AAFCO table below;

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