holistic dog care, Pet Dogs

Magnesium For Dogs: Why Is It Important?

Magnesium For Dogs


Magnesium for dogs is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in the overall health and well-being of our canine friends.

Like humans, dogs require a balanced diet with adequate amounts of magnesium to support their bodily functions.

While most dog foods contain sufficient magnesium levels, certain breeds or dogs with specific health conditions may benefit from additional supplementation.

Here, we’ll discuss the importance of magnesium for dogs and explain how it can positively impact their overall health. Let’s first start by familiarizing ourselves with the mineral.

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a chemical element found in the Earth’s crust and dissolved in seawater along with sodium and chlorine.

It helps in the functioning of all cells in the human body and acts as a catalyst for around 300 enzymatic reactions essential for metabolism.

Moreover, magnesium also interacts with ATP, DNA, and RNA, contributing to various cellular processes.

In addition to its importance for human health, plants rely on magnesium to synthesize chlorophyll, the green pigment needed for photosynthesis.

Magnesium minerals aid in absorbing and metabolizing various essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium.

Moreover, it also helps in the utilization of B-complex vitamins and vitamins C and E. And for your information, magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in a dog’s body, after potassium.

Importance Of Magnesium In Dogs

Here is why magnesium is so important to any dog.

  1. Neurological Health in Dogs

Magnesium is essential for nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction. Nerves rely on magnesium to transmit signals effectively, allowing proper communication between the brain and other body parts.

Additionally, magnesium supports the functioning of the neuromuscular system, ensuring that dogs can move and coordinate their muscles properly.

A magnesium deficiency can lead to neurological disorders, affecting a dog’s mobility, coordination, and overall nervous system function.

  1. Promotes a Healthy Heart

Research has shown that magnesium deficiencies are associated with cardiovascular disorders, such as high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms.

Magnesium supports heart health and function through various mechanisms. It helps regulate blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels, allowing for better blood flow.

Additionally, magnesium aids in maintaining a normal heart rhythm, which prevents irregular heartbeats and ensures the heart functions optimally.

  1. Strong and Healthy Bones

Approximately 60% of the total magnesium in a dog’s body is stored in the bones. Magnesium provides structural support to the bones, but its importance goes beyond that.

It also helps in osteoblasts’ and osteoclast cellular functions responsible for bone formation and remodeling.

Adequate magnesium levels help ensure these cells function optimally, promoting proper bone growth, density, and overall skeletal health in dogs.

  1. Essential for Muscle Function

Magnesium is involved in the production and utilization of ATP, the energy currency of cells. Adequate magnesium levels support the efficient conversion of food into energy, allowing dogs to maintain healthy muscle function and overall physical activity.

Magnesium also helps regulate muscle contractions and relaxations, which ensure proper coordination and movement.

  1. Regulation of Glucose Metabolism and Insulin Sensitivity

Research has shown that magnesium deficiencies are linked to insulin resistance, a condition where the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin. However, when magnesium is supplemented, it has been observed to improve insulin sensitivity.

Magnesium helps regulate glucose transport into cells and supports insulin signaling pathways, ensuring efficient glucose metabolism and preventing insulin resistance.

Unlike humans, dogs do not require a lot of magnesium to stay healthy. According to the nutrient profiles for dogs established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), magnesium should comprise approximately 0.04% of their dry-matter diet.

But what is dry matter? Well, it refers to dog food completely deprived of moisture content. This means dogs only need about 1 milligram of magnesium daily to meet their recommended intake.

Sources Of Magnesium For Dogs

Magnesium For Dogs

Magnesium is an essential mineral for dogs, just as it is for humans. Dog owners need to ensure that their pets receive adequate amounts of magnesium in their diet. Common safe foods for dogs that contain magnesium include:

  1. Organ meats like liver, heart, and kidneys are also magnesium-rich. These nutrient-dense foods are packed with vitamins and minerals and provide a good amount of magnesium.
  2. Vegetables such as spinach, cucumber, and peas are also excellent sources of magnesium for dogs.
  3. Fruits like pumpkins, bananas, and cantaloupe also have magnesium your dog can benefit from. Adding small portions of these fruits to their diet can help provide dogs with the necessary magnesium for optimal health.
  4. Bone meal is another food source that is rich in magnesium for dogs. Made from crushed and ground animal bones, bone meal is commonly used to supplement additional nutrients, including magnesium.
  5. Beans, such as black beans and green beans, are plant-based sources of magnesium that can be included in a dog’s diet. These legumes are rich in fiber, & protein and also contain magnesium.
  6. Whole grains like brown rice, wheat, and barley increase a dog’s magnesium intake. These grains are a good energy source and contain essential minerals like magnesium.
  7. Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and pollock, are excellent sources of magnesium for dogs. These fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids and contain significant amounts of magnesium.

How To Tell Magnesium Deficiency In Dogs

Did you know that Magnesium deficiency in dogs can lead to various health problems? Yes, that’s true, yet many pet owners overlook it.

As a pet parent, it is important to know the common signs of magnesium deficiency in dogs so that you can take appropriate action in time. Common signs include:

  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Muscle cramps
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • General fatigue
  • Low-stress tolerance
  • Nausea

Causes of Magnesium Deficiency in Dogs

The following are the causes of magnesium deficiency in dogs

  1. Diabetes – Diabetes is a condition where a dog’s body has trouble managing sugar. It can also affect how the body uses and holds onto magnesium.
  2. Treatment with diuretics – Diuretics are medications that make the body get rid of extra fluids, often used to treat conditions like heart problems. Unfortunately, they can also flush out too much magnesium.
  3. Disease inhibiting absorption of nutrients – Some diseases can affect how the body absorbs nutrients like magnesium from a dog’s food. When the body can’t take in enough magnesium, it can result in a deficiency.
  4. Kidney damage – If your dog’s kidneys are damaged or not working well, they can’t properly regulate magnesium levels in the body, which can cause a deficiency.
  5. Malnutrition – When you don’t give your dog enough of the right nutrients from their food, like magnesium, it can lead to a deficiency.

How Do You Treat Magnesium Deficiency In Dogs?

When treating magnesium deficiency in dogs, the primary approach is to address the underlying cause while supplementing the dog’s diet with magnesium.

This may involve adjusting the dog’s diet to include more magnesium-rich foods or considering magnesium supplements recommended by a veterinarian.

However, it is important to remember what we’ve discussed earlier: excessive magnesium supplementation can adversely affect a dog’s health. Therefore, don’t overdo it.

Magnesium Overdose In Dogs

While magnesium is essential for a dog’s health, an overdose can harm their well-being. Although rare, magnesium overdose does happen. In scientific terms, it’s referred to as hypomagnesemia.

But how, you may wonder. This condition typically arises when a dog has consumed something with a high concentration of magnesium chloride, such as certain de-icing products.

Additionally, hypomagnesemia may develop in dogs with kidney failure while receiving intravenous treatment, as impaired kidneys can’t properly regulate mineral absorption. Signs that your dog might have an excessive magnesium intake include:

  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Weakness
  4. Lowered heart rate
  5. Paralysis
  6. Mental depression
  7. Poor reflexes
  8. Respiratory depression
  9. Cardiac arrest
  10. Coma

Let’s Talk about Magnesium Supplements for Dogs

Magnesium supplements often ensure dogs receive adequate amounts of this essential mineral. These supplements come in various forms, such as powder, tablets, or chews.

While it is generally true that healthy dogs do not require magnesium supplements, there are certain cases where these supplements can be important.

Dogs with severe or chronic health conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, and heart disease may find relief from their symptoms with the help of magnesium supplements.

Additionally, malnourished dogs can benefit from these supplements as they aid recovery. There are specific groups of dogs for whom magnesium supplementation is recommended.

These include seniors, working dogs, and those exposed to new environments. However, it is crucial to always consult with a veterinarian before administering magnesium supplements to your dog, even if they fall into one of these categories.


It’s clear that magnesium is an essential mineral for dogs, just like it is for humans. It plays a vital role in various bodily functions, such as maintaining healthy bones and teeth, regulating nerve and muscle function, and supporting a strong immune system.

While dogs typically obtain sufficient amounts of magnesium through their regular diet, certain health conditions or dietary restrictions may necessitate additional supplementation. However, it is important to consult a veterinarian before introducing new dietary supplements to ensure they are appropriate and safe for your furry friend.