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Phosphorus is one of the essential nutrients for both dogs and cats. It is a mineral that is found in all body tissues and is necessary for many important biochemical processes, including energy production and the formation of bones and teeth. Phosphorus also plays a role in cell signaling, nerve function, and protein synthesis.

In this article, I have provided a helpful guide to pet owners looking to understand the benefits of phosphorus for their furry friends.

Table of Contents

What is Phosphorus?

Phosphorus is an essential mineral found in all body tissues. It makes up 1% of the average person’s body weight and is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. It is found in every cell, with the highest concentrations occurring in the bones and teeth.

Inorganic phosphorus salts are used as dietary supplements and are added to many processed foods. Phosphorus is also present in many food sources, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, nuts, and legumes.

What are the benefits of Phosphorus for dogs and cats?

Phosphorus plays a crucial role in many important biochemical processes in the body, including energy production, cell signaling, and protein synthesis. It is also necessary for the proper function of bones and teeth.

Dogs and cats need phosphorus for different reasons. For example, phosphorus is essential for dogs because it helps to maintain strong bones and teeth. It is also necessary for proper kidney function in dogs.

Cats, on the other hand, need phosphorus for proper muscle function. It is also important for pregnant and nursing cats as it helps with the development of the fetal skeleton.

Summary – Uses of Phosphorus

Phosphorus is necessary for many important biochemical processes in the body, including:

-Energy production

-Formation of bones and teeth

-Cell signaling

-Nerve function

-Protein synthesis

Sources of Phosphorus

Phosphorus is found in many food sources, including:

-Meat

-Poultry

-Fish

-Dairy products

-Nuts

-Legumes

How to Add Phosphorus to Your Dog or Cat’s Diet

The best way to ensure that your dog or cat is getting enough phosphorus is to feed them a balanced diet that includes phosphorus-rich foods. You can also talk to your veterinarian about phosphorus supplements if you are concerned that your pet is not getting enough of this essential nutrient.

How much phosphorus does my dog need per day?

Following NRC’s 2006 Research on Essential Nutrients for dogs, AAFCO set the minimum for phosphorus to include in commercial dog diets. AAFCO recommends that you feed up to 1% of puppies’ diet and 0.4% for adult dogs’ diet on dry matter basis.

See the AAFCo table below.

I found other expert recommendations of the amount of phosphorus to feed your dog which suggested higher amounts than those set by AAFCO. Nutritionstrength.com explained that dogs ‘can eat up to 22.25 milligrams of phosphorus per kilogram of body weight every day. Small dogs and pups consume 0.6 to 1.3 percent phosphorus in their diet, whereas big breed dogs require no more than 1 percent of this mineral in their diet.’

How much phosphorus does my cat need per day?

As per AAFCO’s recommendation, you can feed your kitten a diet with a minimum of 0.8% phosphorus and for adult cats, the diet should have at least 0.5% phosphorus on a dry matter basis.

Signs of Phosphorus Deficiency in Dogs and Cats

A phosphorus deficiency is rare in dogs and cats since this mineral is found in many common food sources. However, some health conditions can lead to a phosphorus deficiency, such as kidney disease or malabsorption disorders.

Symptoms of a phosphorus deficiency may include:

-Weakness

-Lethargy

-Muscle wasting

-Weight loss

-Anemia

-Bone abnormalities

If you suspect that your dog or cat is not getting enough phosphorus, talk to your veterinarian. They can perform blood tests to check for a deficiency and recommend treatment options.

Phosphorus Supplements for Dogs and Cats

If your dog or cat is not getting enough phosphorus in their diet, your veterinarian may recommend supplements. Phosphorus supplements are available in many forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquids.

Decreased phosphorus in dogs:

Cause #1: Increase urinary excretion:

-Diuretics (furosemide/lasix, spironolactone/aldactone)

-Contrast dye given for radiographs

-Certain toxins (ethylene glycol)

-Excessive dietary protein intake

-Increased water intake (polydipsia)

Cause #2: Poor absorption:

-Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)

-Chronic renal disease (CRD)

-Liver disease

-Malabsorption syndromes such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or short gut syndrome

Cause #3: Increased phosphorus losses in stool:

-Hyperparathyroidism

-Certain tumors (e.g. lymphoma, adenocarcinoma)

-Excessive dietary phosphate intake (e.g. antacids, certain snacks)

Cause #4: Increased phosphorus losses in vomit:

-Gastrointestinal disease causing vomiting (e.g. pancreatitis, gastritis)

-Certain medications (e.g. phenobarbital, certain chemotherapeutic agents)

Cause #5: Increased requirement:

-Growing puppies and kittens

-Pregnancy and lactation

-Certain diseases such as sepsis or anaphylaxis

Signs of Decreased Phosphorus:

-Lethargy

-Inappetance

-Weight loss

-Muscle wasting

-Difficulty walking (replete phosphorus is needed for normal muscle contraction)

-Seizures (severe deficiency)

-arrhythmias (severe deficiency)

-Respiratory distress (severe deficiency)

Diagnosis of Decreased Phosphorus:

-A thorough history and physical examination should be performed on every patient presenting with signs compatible with decreased phosphorus.

-Laboratory testing is required to confirm a diagnosis of hypophosphatemia and to help determine the cause. A basic chemistry panel will usually reveal decreased phosphorus levels.

-Additional testing may be needed to help determine the cause of hypophosphatemia and may include a complete blood count, urinalysis, X-rays, and/or ultrasound.

Treatment of Decreased Phosphorus:

-Treatment of hypophosphatemia depends on the cause and severity of the condition.

-Mild hypophosphatemia may be treated by increasing phosphorus in the diet. This can be done by feeding a diet higher in phosphorus or by adding a phosphorus supplement to the diet.

-Moderate to severe cases of hypophosphatemia require hospitalization and treatment with intravenous phosphorus.

-In some cases, additional treatment may be needed to correct the underlying cause of hypophosphatemia. This may include diuretics for heart failure, surgery to remove a tumor, or antibiotics for an infection.

Increased Phosphorus:

Causes of Increase in Phosphorus in Pets:

Cause #1: Decreased urinary excretion:

-Kidney disease

-Certain medications (e.g. steroids, estrogens, calcium channel blockers)

-Dehydration

Cause #2: Excessive dietary intake:

-Dietary phosphorus supplements

-Excessive consumption of certain foods high in phosphorus (e.g. organ meats, certain snacks)

Signs of Increased Phosphorus:

-Excessive thirst and urination (polydipsia and polyuria)

-Weight loss

-Weakness

-Lethargy

-Muscle cramping

-Anorexia

-Vomiting

-Diarrhea

-Seizures (severe toxicity)

-Coma (severe toxicity)

Diagnosis of Increased Phosphorus:

-A thorough history and physical examination should be performed on every patient presenting with signs compatible with increased phosphorus.

-Laboratory testing is required to confirm a diagnosis of hyperphosphatemia and to help determine the cause. A basic chemistry panel will usually reveal increased phosphorus levels.

-Additional testing may be needed to help determine the cause of hyperphosphatemia and may include a complete blood count, urinalysis, X-rays, and/or ultrasound.

Treatment of Increased Phosphorus:

-Treatment of hyperphosphatemia depends on the cause and severity of the condition.

-Mild cases of hyperphosphatemia may be treated by decreasing phosphorus in the diet. This can be done by feeding a diet lower in phosphorus or by avoiding phosphorus supplements.

-Moderate to severe cases of hyperphosphatemia require hospitalization and treatment with intravenous fluids and oral or IV phosphate binders.

-In some cases, additional treatment may be needed to correct the underlying cause of hyperphosphatemia. This may include dialysis for kidney failure or surgery to remove a tumor.

Prevention of Increased or Decreased Phosphorus:

-The best way to prevent hypo- or hyperphosphatemia is to have your pet’s phosphorus levels checked regularly by a veterinarian and to feed a balanced diet appropriate for your pet’s age, weight, and activity level.

-Phosphorus supplements should only be given under the guidance of a veterinarian.

-If your pet has kidney disease, it is important to work closely with a veterinarian to ensure that phosphorus levels are properly regulated. A special diet may be required and phosphorus binders may need to be given to prevent hyperphosphatemia.

-Dehydration should be avoided as it can lead to decreased urinary excretion of phosphorus and may cause or worsen hypophosphatemia.

-If your pet is being treated with a medication that can cause changes in phosphorus levels, it is important to have phosphorus levels checked regularly by a veterinarian.

Why Phosphorus and Calcium Amounts in Dogs’ and Cats’ Diet is Important:

Phosphorus and calcium are two minerals that are essential for the health of dogs and cats. They are both needed for strong bones and teeth, and they also play a role in muscle contraction, nerve function, and blood clotting. While phosphorus is found in many different foods, calcium is mostly found in dairy products.

Dogs and cats need different amounts of phosphorus and calcium based on their age, weight, and activity level. Puppies and kittens need more of these minerals than adult dogs and cats because they are growing quickly and their bones are still developing. Adult dogs and cats need less phosphorus and calcium than puppies and kittens because they are not growing as quickly and their bones have already developed.

The amount of phosphorus and calcium in a dog or cat’s diet is important because too much or too little of these minerals can cause health problems. For example, too much phosphorus can lead to kidney disease, while too little calcium can lead to bone problems such as osteoporosis. It is important to work with a veterinarian to determine the right amount of phosphorus and calcium for your dog or cat based on their age, weight, and activity level.

There are many different ways to get the right amount of phosphorus and calcium in your dog or cat’s diet. Commercial pet foods typically have the right balance of these minerals, but you may need to supplement your pet’s diet with additional phosphorus and calcium if they are not getting enough from their food. You can also give your pet phosphorus and calcium supplements, but it is important to talk to a veterinarian before giving your pet any supplements to make sure you are giving the right amount.

Phosphorus and calcium ratio recommended for dogs:

The optimal dietary calcium to phosphorus ratio in dogs should be 1.2:1 to 1.3:1. This means,For each 1 gram of phosphorus in the diet, there should be at least 1.2 grams and no more than 1.3 grams of calcium.

For example, a food with a guaranteed analysis of 0.9% phosphorus and 1.3% calcium would have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1.3:1.

The recommended ratio of phosphorus to calcium can vary depending on your pet’s age, weight, and activity level, so it is important to talk to a veterinarian about the right ratio for your pet.

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Excess Phosphorus in Dogs and Cats:

Hyperphosphatemia is a condition that occurs when there is too much phosphorus in the blood. This can be caused by kidney disease, certain medications, or eating a diet that is high in phosphorus. Hyperphosphatemia can lead to calcium being pulled from the bones, which can make them weak and brittle. Hyperphosphatemia can also cause problems with the heart, muscles, and nerves.

Symptoms of hyperphosphatemia include weakness, lethargy, and difficulty breathing. If you think your dog or cat has hyperphosphatemia, it is important to take them to a veterinarian right away. Hyperphosphatemia is a serious condition and can be life-threatening if not treated.

Treatment for hyperphosphatemia typically involves reducing the amount of phosphorus in the diet and giving supplements to bind phosphorus in the gastrointestinal tract. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary to provide IV fluids and support.

Hypophosphatemia is a condition that occurs when there is too little phosphorus in the blood. This can be caused by kidney disease, certain medications, or eating a diet that is low in phosphorus. Hypophosphatemia can lead to problems with the heart, muscles, and nerves.

Symptoms of hypophosphatemia include weakness, lethargy, and difficulty breathing. If you think your dog or cat has hypophosphatemia, it is important to take them to a veterinarian right away. Hypophosphatemia is a serious condition and can be life-threatening if not treated.

Treatment for hypophosphatemia typically involves increasing the amount of phosphorus in the diet and giving supplements to bind phosphorus in the gastrointestinal tract. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary to provide IV fluids and support.

Role of Vitamins in mineral absorption:

Vitamin D3, the active form of Vitamin D2 is necessary for calcium and phosphorus absorption. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to a decrease in calcium and phosphorus absorption, resulting in a mineral imbalance.

Vitamin D3 can be found in commercial pet foods, but it is also produced when pets are exposed to sunlight. If your pet does not get enough exposure to sunlight, Vitamin D3 supplements may be necessary.

It is important to talk to a veterinarian before giving your pet any supplements, as too much Vitamin D3 can be toxic.

Some exotic pets such as bearded dragons which are cold-blooded get their Vitamin D3 from UVB light. UVB3 helps with the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus and is necessary for strong bones and teeth. A lack of Vitamin D3 can lead to a decrease in calcium absorption, resulting in a mineral imbalance.

Phosphorus supplements for dogs:

If your dog is not getting enough phosphorus in their diet, phosphorus supplements may be necessary. Phosphorus supplements are available in tablets, capsules, and liquids.

Phosphorus supplements should only be given under the guidance of a veterinarian, as too much phosphorus can be toxic.

Some common brands of phosphorus supplements for dogs include:

-Phos-Bind

-NaturVet also sold on Chewy here

-Hepato Support

-Ultra Phos

-Nutrition strength

Phosphorus supplements for cats:

If your cat is not getting enough phosphorus in their diet, phosphorus supplements may be necessary. Phosphorus supplements are available in tablets, capsules, and liquids.

Phosphorus supplements should only be given under the guidance of a veterinarian, as too much phosphorus can be toxic.

Some common brands of phosphorus supplements for cats include:

Vetoquinol Epakitin Chitosin-Based Phosphate Binder for Cats & Dogs

Looking to keep your pet’s phosphorus levels in check? Vetoquinol’s Phosphorus supplement is a chitosan-based nutritional supplement that’s effective as a phosphate binder, decreasing serum phosphorus levels. Plus, it was shown to reduce urea and creatinine levels in clinical studies!

Phos-Bind:

Phos-Bind is a phosphorus supplement that binds to phosphorus in the gastrointestinal tract, preventing it from being absorbed. Phos-Bind is available in tablets and capsules.

Hepato Support:

Hepato Support is a phosphorus supplement that helps support liver function. Hepato Support is available in tablets and capsules.

Ultra Phos:

Ultra Phos is a phosphorus supplement that is easily absorbed and helps support bone health. Ultra Phos is available in tablets and capsules.

Nutrition strength:

Nutrition strength is a phosphorus supplement that is easily absorbed and helps support healthy bones and teeth. Nutrition strength is available in tablets, capsules, and liquids.

Phosphorus Toxicity:

Phosphorus toxicity can occur if too much phosphorus is ingested. Symptoms of phosphorus toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, seizures, and coma. If you think your pet has ingested too much phosphorus, contact a veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately.

Sources of Phosphorus:

-Dietary sources: milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, legumes

– supplements

Why do dogs and cats need Phosphorus?

Phosphorus is a mineral that is necessary for proper bone and teeth development for both dogs and cats. Phosphorus also helps with the metabolism of calcium, vitamin D, and proteins. A lack of phosphorus can lead to a variety of health problems for any cat such as weakness, anorexia, weight loss, and muscle wasting.

Is Phosphorus safe in pet food?

Yes, phosphorus is considered safe when used in pet food. The average pet diet contains enough phosphorus to meet the needs of most dogs and cats. However, some pets may need a phosphorus supplement if they are not getting enough from their diet.

Is Phosphorus toxic to pets?

No, phosphorus is not toxic to pets when used as directed. However, too much phosphorus can be toxic. Symptoms of phosphorus toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, seizures, and coma. If you think your pet has ingested too much phosphorus, contact a veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately.

What are the side effects of Phosphorus dosage?

The most common side effect of phosphorus is diarrhea. Other side effects may include vomiting, anorexia, weight loss, and muscle wasting. If you think your pet is having an adverse reaction to phosphorus, contact a veterinarian immediately.

When should I give my pet Phosphorus?

Phosphorus supplements should only be given under the guidance of a veterinarian. The amount of phosphorus given will depend on the pet’s age, weight, and overall health.

How do I store Phosphorus supplements for pets – dogs and cats?

Phosphorus supplements should be stored in a cool, dry place out of reach of children and pets.

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