While most dogs get all the vitamins and minerals they need through eating food that meets the AAFCO guidelines for their life stage, some canines have health conditions that lead to calcium deficiency. These special pups benefit from taking regular calcium supplements.
Today, we’ll discuss conditions that may cause your vet to recommend calcium supplements, what to think about when picking a dog calcium supplement, and share some of our favorites.
Best Calcium Supplements For Dogs: Quick Picks
- #1 UPCO Bone Meal [Best Pure Calcium Supplement for Dogs] — A no nonsense supplement made from pure porcine bone meal.
- #2 Breeders’ Edge Oral Cal Plus [Best Calcium Supplement for Inducing Labor] — A perfect solution for owners who need to provide a soon-to-be mama with something to help strengthen her contractions.
- #3 Animal Essentials Seaweed Calcium Supplement [Best Seaweed-Based Calcium Supplement] — Prefer to give your pooch a plant*-based calcium supplement? This one is a winner!
*OK, technically, seaweed is an algae, not a plant. But it’s still a good option for owners who want a non-animal-derived calcium supplement.
When Are Dog Calcium Supplements Necessary?
Calcium supplements are ideal for dogs suffering from certain maladies, including:
- Hypocalcemia: This is the technical term for calcium deficiency, which may be caused by an underlying condition, such as hypoparathyroidism or eclampsia, or a poor diet.
- Rickets: Caused by too little or too much calcium, this rare condition is responsible for brittle or deformed bones.
- Kidney failure: Low calcium is often a sign of a loss of kidney function, and your vet may or may not administer calcium depending on your dog’s condition.
- Pancreatic inflammation: Like kidney failure, low calcium is a symptom of pancreatic inflammation.
Calcium is sometimes offered to new dog mamas in labor to help with contractions and after delivery to prevent eclampsia caused by nursing.
It isn’t given to every mama dog, however, so never self-medicate. Always speak with your veterinarian first! Calcium is not something to play around with.
If your dog eats a homemade diet, your pup may also require calcium and other nutrient supplementation. But this isn’t always the case. Whenever you implement a homemade diet, discuss it with your vet to make sure your pup is getting all the nutrients he needs.
Should All Dogs Take Calcium Supplements?
A standard AAFCO formulated dog food provides sufficient calcium for most dogs. Only dogs with specific medical conditions or dietary requirements should take calcium supplements.
How do you know if your dog has such a condition or requirement? Easy: Your vet will tell you.
Never supplement your pup’s diet with calcium without veterinary supervision or direction.
You might wind up harming your pooch, as excess calcium can lead to a host of medical issues, including weakness, joint and bone problems, and kidney or bladder stones. It can also interfere with several medications, like antacids and levothyroxine, and cause medical conditions, such as kidney and bladder disease.
What Should You Look for in a Calcium Supplement for Dogs?
Always ask your vet about calcium supplementation products before making a purchase. They can steer you in the right direction and approve or disapprove of potential supplements.
That said, there are some common sense criteria to consider when browsing calcium supplements:
- Look for supplements backed by clinical, third-party verified studies: Don’t fall for flashy promises. Look for real results and studies by reputable sources only. Unfortunately, supplements and their claims aren’t monitored by the FDA, so you need to be careful.
- Brand names: Stick to well-known, trusted brands. It’s not worth trying to save a few bucks here.
- Vet-approved: If your vet recommended a specific product, trust that one.
- Lot numbers: These are necessary to verify that quality checks are done on all batches.
- Country of origin: Ideally, you want to select a product made in the USA.
- Pet products only: Never use human supplements on dogs. They may contain additional substances that harm your pooch.
- Calcium only or combo: Sometimes, pure calcium is best while other times, you may need additional supplements. We probably sound like a broken record by now, but it is imperative that you work closely with your vet when administering calcium supplements.
- Vitamin D3 addition: Some calcium supplements also contain Vitamin D3 to help with absorption. This isn’t always necessary, but check with your vet just in case.
- Source: Seaweed-derived calcium is a more earth-friendly option and often contains other core nutrients. It’s also more readily absorbed by the body. Beef bone-sourced products may present the risk of transmitting mad cow disease, so you may want to stick with porcine variants (it isn’t yet clear if dogs can suffer from these kinds of prion diseases, but it’s better to err on the side of caution).
The Best Calcium Supplements for Dogs
Now that we know why your vet may recommend calcium supplements, we can dive into some products that may work for your four-footer.
Here are some of our top calcium supplements for dogs sections:
1. UPCO Bone Meal
About: A straightforward, no-fuss pick, UPCO Bone Meal only contains one ingredient: pure porcine bone meal. Made by steaming, this powder can be easily mixed into your dog’s food as needed.
- Contains phosphorus to help with absorption
- Has a notable taste that most dogs enjoy, unlike some other chalkier options
- Works well for pregnant dogs, puppies, and adults needing supplementation
- One teaspoon contains approximately 720 milligrams of calcium
Porcine bone meal...,
- Single-source ingredient list ideal for pups with allergies
- Taste is more enticing than other blends
- Not an option for pups with pork sensitivities
- Can be messy/difficult to store the large, non-resealable bag
2. Breeders’ Edge Oral Cal Plus
About: Oral Cal Plus gives mama dogs a boost of calcium and other nutrients when they need it most during labor and nursing. Each 1 milliliter portion contains about 200 milligrams of calcium.
- Easy to administer dial-a-dose plunger design
- Contains vitamin D and magnesium to help with absorption
- Features traceable lots on all plunger syringes
- Made in the USA
Water, Calcium carbonate, Calcium lactate, Coconut oil, Dextrose...,
Vitamin E supplement, Sodium gluconate, Calcium ascorbate, Magnesium citrate, Vanilla flavor, Xanthan gum, Citric acid, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Sodium benzoate, Potassium sorbate, and Vitamin D3 supplement
- Can be easily hidden in food or administered orally
- More appealing in taste than other options
- Only intended for pregnant or nursing females
- Some owners found the plunger difficult to use
3. Nutrition Strength Calcium Phosphorus
About: Nutrition Strength Calcium Phosphorus Supplement is an all-life stages formula compressed into easy-to-chew tablets. Each pill contains 350 milligrams of calcium and 250 milligrams of phosphorus.
- Made in the USA
- Manufactured in a FDA registered, NSF-certified facility
- Contains no corn, soy, wheat, or grains
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives included
Calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Dicalcium phosphate...,
Brewer’s dried yeast, Whey protein isolate, Natural chicken flavor, Magnesium stearate
- Flavored tablets are less messy than mixing flavorless powders into your dog’s food
- Easy storage compared to other options
- Brewer’s yeast can be an issue for some dogs
- Harder to hide in food for pickier pups
4. NatureVet All-in-One
US-made, tasty soft chews formulated with several vitamins and minerals.
About: NatureVet’s All-In-One Dog Supplement provides dogs aged 12 weeks and older with the day-to-day vitamins and minerals needed for nose-to-tail support. Containing 35 milligrams per chew, it’s not intended for significant calcium-boosting like other options on our list.
- Made in the USA
- Contains a wide variety of essential nutrients, including glucosamine, chondroitin, omega fatty acids, and digestive enzymes
- Comes in a soft, chewable form
- Wheat-free formula
Potato starch, Flaxseed, Glycerine, Brewer's dried yeast, Lecithin...,
Dried shellfish digest, Maltodextrins, Natural flavoring, Deionized water, Dicalcium phosphate, Canola oil, Tapioca starch, Choline bitartrate, Chondroitin sulfate, Fructooligosaccharide, Dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation solubles, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation product, Dried papaya, Dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, Vitamin E supplement, Sorbic acid, Natural mixed tocopherols), Ascorbic acid, Ferrous sulfate, Vitamin A palmitate citric acid, Rosemary, Niacin supplement, Biotin, Zinc sulfate, Vitamin D3 supplement, Vitamin B12 supplement, Riboflavin, Menadione sodium bisulfite complex, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Thiamine mononitrate, Potassium iodide, Manganese sulfate, Folic acid, Copper carbonate, Cobalt carbonate, Magnesium stearate
- Chewable nuggets are a win for food-loving pups
- Provides an assortment of nutrients
- Good for pups with modest calcium supplementation needs
- Doesn’t contain as much calcium as some other products
- The larger the dog, the more chews are needed, with up to 8 for giant breeds (so these 60 to 120 count containers might go fast)
5. Animal Essentials Seaweed Calcium Supplement
Animal Essentials Seaweed Calcium Supplement
An odorless, tasteless, nutrient-rich, seaweed-based calcium supplement.
About: Animal Essentials offers environmental sustainability with this seaweed-based formula. Easy to digest and nutrient-rich, a little goes a long way, with one teaspoon containing about 1000 milligrams of calcium.
- Made with lead and hormone-free Icelandic seaweed
- Batch-tested for quality and safety
- Tasteless and scentless for easy feeding
- Contains magnesium to help with calcium absorption
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Ground White Rice...,
- Single-ingredient formula ideal for dogs with sensitive systems
- Easy to slip into food thanks to its near flavorless design
- Some dogs experienced stomach upset
- Powder form can be hard to mix into certain food consistencies
Are Calcium Supplements Safe for Dogs?
Yes. When used properly and under a veterinarian’s guidance, calcium supplements are safe for dogs who need additional calcium.
Your vet will monitor your pup and recommend if you should cease supplementation. Some dogs only need treatment for a short time, while others might need lifelong calcium boosts.
Has your dog ever had to take calcium supplements? Was it one of the ones we listed or another? Let us know in the comments.