Magnesium Requirementsin Dogs
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

The minerals magnesium and manganese are often confused. This article will describe magnesium which is a macro-mineral which means it is needed in greater amounts in the diet, and found in larger amounts in the body.

Function of magnesium

Magnesium has a number of important functions. It is necessary for the absorption and proper use of certain vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, calcium and phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. It is necessary for proper bone growth and is necessary for the functioning of many enzymes in the body, and production of protein.

Dietary sources of magnesium

Magnesium is found in raw wheat germ, whole grains, soybeans, milk, and fish. Cooking at high temperatures can remove magnesium from the food. The magnesium content of pet food depends on the ingredients, but is usually not added in supplemental form.

Daily magnesium requirements

Dog and adult cat food should contain at least 0.04% magnesium (on a dry matter basis).

Magnesium absorption

Calcium and phosphorus affect the body's magnesium balance, because high amounts of calcium or phosphorus decrease the absorption of magnesium from the intestines.

Magnesium deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is very rare - it is even difficult to demonstrate in a research setting. Its symptoms include muscle tremors and weakness, hyperirritability, and depression.

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