Calcium - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Central Illinois
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Ok, so here is my question, for a puppy, what are appropriate calcium %? Does the level make a difference between grain and grain free formulas?

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-18-2008, 09:50 PM
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Re: Calcium

hi there,

I copied and pasted an answer somebody gave on another message:

"the calcium levels used in most studies are at around 3%, and the protein levels studied are often in the range of 30%-35%. still, higher protein levels have never been proven to cause growth abnormalities, whereas higher calcium levels have. of course overfeeding will always be a problem no matter what you are feeding.

here is a passage from some research that has been done, and it is consistent with almost any modern study you will find on the subject:

In 1991, a researcher named Richard Nap did a study to explore this question. Nap developed three diets that had identical (moderate) energy contenst, but three different levels of protein: 14.6 per cent, 23.1 per cent and 31.6 per cent. Nap ged groups of Great Dane puppies these three different diets and found no differences with respect to overall height, bone length or body weights, although the puppies fed 14.6 per cent protein had abnormally low blood-albumin concentrations, an indication of marginal protein deficiency. Among the puppies fed 31.6 per cent protein, there were no signs of abnormal skeletal development, leading the researchers to conclude "differenced in protein intake per se did not affect the occurence of disturbed skeletal development in young Great Danes. A causative role for dietary protein in the development of osteochondrosis in dogs is unlikely."


The influence of calcium and phosphorus on skeletal development has been widely studied in dogs. These studies have examined the effects of excess calcium intake, insufficient calcium intake as well as imbalances in the ratio of calcium to phosphorus. All three of these conditions will lead to skeletal abnormalities.

Calcium deficience is relatively uncommon in puppies fed comercial pet foods, but it does still occur occasionally in puppies fed homemade diets, since homemade diets are often high in phosphorus and low in calcium. Calcium deficiency leads to nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, a condition that causes skeletal malformation and severe bone fractures, which can be fatal.

A far more common cause of skeletal abnormalitis in growing puppies is excess calcium intake. In one study, Great Dane puppies fed a diet with 1.1 per cent calcium had normal skeletal development, but those fed the same diet except with 3.3 per cent calcium suffered from severe skeletal abnormalities, including osteochondrosis dessicans and rickets.

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