Thank you for your post. I am well aware of the dogs getting health problems due to over dosage of calcium.
But I give Manfred one or two egg shells every 3-4 days. So he is not in the danger zone for being over-dosed on calcium. (I will explain why in a second).
Also, we get hear-say in the forums. Over feeding calcium is bad, I agree (only partially). But is 1.2% calcium in his costco food, enough for a growing pup? The costco food lists phosphorus at 1.0%. There is a small confusion in my mind about which is the correct statistic, since a link posted by a member here indicated calcium : phosphorus optimal ration to be 1.2:1 and in the article below it is stated, calcium and phosphorus needs to be in a 2:1 ratio for efficacy.
Please see the article below:
Calcium is a chemical element (symbol Ca) and is the most abundant mineral in the body. It interacts with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate; this is the hard, dense material which forms bone and teeth. Calcium is a positively charge ion element (cation) and is essential in intra- and extracellular fluid exchange, blood clotting, and maintaining a regular heartbeat. It is also important in the initiation of neuromuscular as well as metabolic functions. Unsurprisingly, most of the calcium in the body is stored in a very usable form: bone. The balance of the calcium is found in the serum (that fluid which is left after all blood solids have been removed) and is either ionized and ready for use, or is bound to protein and not ionized.
Calcium needs some assistance to cross through cell membranes. While very small amounts of calcium can be absorbed through cellular membranes throughout the small intestine, 1,25-DHCC enables the calcium absorption across the membranes of the duodenum. Fusion absorption, that done without the assistance of 1,25-DHCC, is not nearly as effective in maintaining proper calcium levels as is calcium absorbed with that form of vitamin D.
Calcium absorption is also affected by the degree to which it is soluble and thus usable. Acidic levels of the ingested food, and the presence of substances such as oxalates (found in spinach, soy, rhubarb, beet greens, and to a lesser extent in collards and carrots) binds the calcium, rendering it unusable. Diets high in fat (such as found in tofu, bird seeds such as sunflower or rapeseed) relative to the levels consumed in the wild, can impede calcium absorption; faulty fat metabolism can adversely affect the metabolism of vitamin D. Diets high in oxalates or fats, in other words, both lead to metabolic bone disease, coming by different routes.
The kidneys represent the one of the body's waste management centers. Not only are certain elements recycled through the body, those no longer useful or unusable are gotten rid of through excretion. The kidneys can only handle a certain amount of input, and so can only put out a certain amount. When there is too much calcium in the system, the kidneys cannot excrete out any more than it does when the body is carrying a normal load.
PhosphorusPhosphorus is a chemical element and, when combined with calcium (in the form of calcium phosphate), forms the majority of the bone in the body. In addition, it is used in nearly all of the body's metabolic processes and is important in cellular function It is extracted from foods, and its use is controlled by vitamin D and calcium.
Phosphates, other than the calcium phosphate found in bone, is not retained in the body, but is continually being excreted (in urine and feces) and so much be replaced. It is utilized to maintain the acid-base balance in blood, saliva, urine and other bodily fluids.
Generally, equal amounts of soluble calcium and phosphorus ions are required for balance; ideally, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be 2:1. Too much calcium results in a phosphorus deficiency and impaired metabolic function. Too much phosphorus in the diet forms insoluble calcium phosphate which renders the calcium unusable; as the body continues to absorb the phosphorus, hypocalcemia—metabolic bone disease—results.
BoneWe tend to think of bone as a solid, fixed substance subject only to growth as we grow from infancy, and becoming weakened and subject to breaks in old age. In fact, bone is a sort o rigid connective tissue composed of a component of collagen and salts, including calcium phosphate.
Bone matter is constantly being resorbed and new deposits are being laid down so in a very real dense, bone is a dynamic, not a fixed, process. The deposition and resorption are regulated by the serum mineral levels and PTH and 1,25-DHCC."
I am an engineer, and my mind works mathematically. Growing pup = higher synthesis of stem cells in to cartilage tissue which in turn calcifies in to bone (with a calcium / phosphate compound). And stronger bone development is crucial especially in children for avoiding future problems. If we knew what is the optimal dosage vs. the tipping point to the danger zone, it would be nice.
Also, please keep in mind, at least Manfred is not wholly on his kibble. We also feed him rice, fresh chicken (raw + cooked), veggies, grains, and assorted treats, all the time. So he is potentially not getting 1.2% calcium in his diet.
Also, Calcium or Phosphorus are not a universal nutrients (like Vitamin C), and I dont believe a mammal can synthesize either.
So the bottom line:
1) Very minimal amounts of calcium is actually absorbed in the small intestine.
2) Calcium needs the phosphorus to be effective, and without over feeding phosphorus, the risk of calcium causing "over growth" of bones is not a reality. Yes, it does pose risks for the kidney functions.
But ultimately (I believe), 2-3 egg shells a week is not crossing the tipping point to the danger zone. Egg shells contain 90% calcium and less than 1% phosphorus. And when defecating, most of the calcium is anyway extruded out of the body (given the inefficient absorption).
However, to go back to my original question : what is the best way to ensure that he gets the nutritional benefits from the egg shells?
Do I just powder it and feed him as I have been doing (crushing, mixing with food)? Or do I process it in some way?
Manfred is a big happy pup with a very sniffy nose and a very waggy tail. And he is completely devoted to his family as we are to him. So all is well, he is doing well.
He had a spot of diarrhea 2 days ago, so we gave him rice + 3 eggs + olive oil (nuked in the microwave for 3 minutes) for dinner, and the next morning he made nice healthy sausages (I am sure the metaphor is self explanatory
He is now up to poo -pee 3 times a day (all outside the apartment). I have Renata to thank for helping me completely potty train him.