Calcium deficiency is a common problem among domesticated canines. Dogs need calcium to ensure good health, facilitate proper bone development, and prevent health complications. Calcium is found in enriched products such as canned and bagged dog food. Incorporating dairy items like cheese and yogurt into a dog's diet can also provide a substantial amount of calcium for dogs. Fish and bones are other sources of calcium, but these foods should be properly prepared by the owner before the dog consumes them.
Prepackaged dog foods found in most supermarkets usually contain at least small amounts of calcium from their numerous ingredients. These ingredients, however, undergo processing that results in a significant loss of essential vitamins and minerals. Adding other foods to a dog's diet is recommended to ensure that it consumes enough calcium. Dairy products, like yogurts, cheeses, and cottage cheese, are a great source of calcium for dogs and can be mixed in with dry dog food.
Vegetables and legumes such as broccoli, spinach, and beans are rich in calcium, but many dogs will refuse to eat them, finding their taste unappetizing. Some fish are also acceptable for consumption and a good source of calcium for dogs. Tuna and salmon contain high levels of calcium nutrients and are affordable options for dog owners. Sardines and trout also provide essential vitamins and minerals, are high in protein and calcium, and taste great to dogs. Raw fish can cause stomach problems in dogs, so the dog owner should thoroughly cook the fish prior to feeding.
Bones are another healthy source of calcium for dogs but require some preparation before they can be fed to them. For their safety, dogs should not chew on small or large bones. Most veterinarians agree that bones should be processed with a blender into a fine powder and then added to the dog's food. Whole bones can splinter as a dog chews them and cause internal puncture wounds and bleeding. Some dog owners avoid bones altogether, choosing to grind up eggshells instead.
Calcium supplements are an option reserved for when other methods fail. Most vets recommend supplements if a dog is unable to maintain recommended calcium levels from a balanced diet or if a calcium deficiency has been diagnosed. Dog owners do not require a prescription to obtain the supplements. They can easily purchase supplements at local and online pet stores.