Johgra Beagles

Why Chicken Frames and Necks?

Balancing the Calcium/Phosphorous ratio
in Diet for dogs


Most dog owners that feed their dogs a raw, natural diet will know about the
Calcium/Phosphorous balance problem. It is tricky to manage for someone who
does not have access to a chemical laboratory, and it becomes even trickier
when you understand that many available food sources are depleted of
fundamental nutrients. Worse yet: this depletion varies with location and
industry standards for the farmers who produce the food.

The problem with chemical analyses…

 

The solution is not to resort to pre-manufactured kibble products that claim to

have the right balance…

 

The reason is that a chemical analysis of the Calcium contents and the
Phosphorous contents of the food will not necessarily tell you the entire truth
about the balance between those two nutrients. What you can measure with
standard chemical analysis and what truly matters for the body's metabolism is
not exactly the same… What is analyzed chemically is the total concentration of
the chemical elements, regardless what kind of compounds they occur in.
When your Calcium and Phosphorous sources are raw natural food, chances are
that you will be supplying both of those two elements in chemical compounds
that are digestible and accessible for the metabolism. If you use artificial
ingredients as a supplement, you can easily have the chemical analysis show
that the concentrations are "right" - but in reality, they do not represent
accessible nutrients. Example: Limestone will contain significant amounts of
Calcium, and will show up in a chemical analysis with its high Calcium content.
But limestone is next to impossible to digest, so almost all of its Calcium will be

discharged through the feces, exactly as it was ingested….

 

Using raw bones as the source
Being left now with only natural sources of Calcium of Phosphorous, our
attention should turn to bone as our source of those two nutrients. Bones
contain the right balance a dog needs. If we feed enough of it, the balance

problem is solved.

 

But what about those other imbalances in the diet? Don't we need to
compensate for those? For instance, if we have too little Calcium, don't we then
need to add more Phosphorous than what we have in bones?
The answer is that it does not matter - if you feed enough bones.
Here is why: Let's say that the right ratio between Calcium and Phosphorous in
1:1 - 50% of each. Let's further say that the dog needs 100 milligrams (=0.1
grams) of each per day, and that bones contain 10% of each. This leads us to
conclude that we should feed a total of 1,000 milligrams (=1 gram) of bone per
day to cover the needs, assuming that all the Calcium and all the Phosphorous

in bones is digestible.

 

However, in the food we feed, we might have a deficiency of Calcium. Let's say
that the food contains only half the Calcium it should (50 milligrams instead of
100 milligrams), but is okay as far as Phosphorous goes. We are thus out of
balance - our 1:1 ratio is only 0.5:1 - which is critical.
But, let's say that we now feed 10 grams of raw bone. This will give us a total
supplement of 1,000 milligrams of Calcium and 1,000 milligrams of
Phosphorous. Add to this what we feed through the other sources of food. This
brings the Calcium intake up to a total of 1,050 milligrams, and the Phosphorous
to a total of 1,100 milligrams. Our overall balance is now no longer 0.5:1, but
(1050/1100):1 = 0.95:1. We are only 5% "off". But 5% is within the natural
variation anyway, so it won't matter… (Also: most standard chemical analyses
do not give a more precise result anyway: +/-5% is pretty accurate for such an

analysis…)

 

If you feed 100 grams of bone instead, you will see the ratio go to 0.995:1 -
less than 0.5% off the mark…
The good news in this is that dogs thrive very well on getting a lot of raw bones.
(Mind you, in nature, a wolf will hardly leave anything of a kill, except for the

hooves and the scull.)

 

And better yet: you don't need to know anything about the actual deficiencies of
Calcium or Phosphorous in the food you feed. You don't even need to know
which of the two is missing or insufficient. All you need to do is to give your dog
plenty of raw bones that will make the imbalances in the food totally

insignificant.

 

How much is "plenty"? A good guide would be to use a natural prey animal as
standard - about 7-10% of its total weight will be bone, so anything in excess of
10% of the total diet would be "plenty". You should not exceed 25% - because
you do need to leave room for other nutrients also…

Dogs love bones - so this will make you a popular pack leader!

 

Mogens Eliasen
-------------------------------------------
Mogens Eliasen holds a Ph.D. level degree in Chemistry from Århus University, Denmark
and has 30+ years of experience working with dogs, dog owners, dog trainers, and
holistic veterinarians as a coach, lecturer, and education system developer. He publishes
a free newsletter "The Peeing Post" containing lots of tips and advice on dog problems of
all kinds, particularly about training, behavioral problems, feeding, and health care.


Contact Details

Joshua & Mellissa Grant
Wollongong, NSW, Australia
Phone : 0456002744
Email : [email protected]