Does the Pet Food You Buy Have These Nutrients in the Right Amounts?


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Just like humans, dogs need specialized and fresh dog food from good dog food brands rich in all nutrients. However, some essential ingredients can cause more harm than good if given in excess quantities. Pay more attention if you have the following ingredients in the pet food you buy.

  • Protein – Although dogs are well-known omnivores, proteins are an essential cornerstone of their daily nutrition and a must in dog food. Ideally, the canned dog food or dry dog food that you give your dog must have proteins that come from easily digestible sources, especially for dogs with kidney disease. If the protein's quality is poor, it can cause digestibility and metabolism issues, leading to nausea, weight loss, diarrhea, and vomiting. You can choose premium veterinary dog food like hills prescription diet k/d Kidney Care Dry Dog Food.
  • Magnesium – Although it is a necessary nutrient, magnesium can sometimes cause severe, life-threatening illnesses. If taken in excess amounts, it can harm the heart and the nervous system, causing symptoms like paralysis, weakness, respiratory depression, cardiac arrest, coma, and death. Magnesium also leads to bladder stones. While both cats and dogs suffer from these effects, the problem is more common in dogs. It’s best to opt for specialty food like hill’s science diet dog food for dogs that are prone to these diseases.
  • Phosphorous and calcium – These are two nutrients that can have harmful effects if given in excess quantities. The ratio of phosphorous to calcium in dog food is very important. Unusually high levels of either of the two nutrients alter the proper ratio of the two and impact the bones of your dog negatively. This is particularly the case with large breed dogs that are in the prime of their growth phase. Moreover, phosphorous and calcium intake is an important consideration for dogs that suffer from ailments like kidney disease. The requirements change depending on the stage of the disease and the constitution of the animal. Excessive amounts of either can worsen the condition and precipitate the formation of bladder stones. These dogs require specialty dry dog food like Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Canine Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Sodium – Sodium helps in regulating blood pressure, transmitting nerve impulses, and maintaining the balance between the bases and acids in the body. Despite all this, excess quantities of sodium can impact the kidneys, heart, and nervous system. If your dog has kidney or heart disease, the sodium intake must be monitored strictly as excess levels of it can cause the disease to progress faster. Excess sodium also makes your dog thirsty, leading to frequent urination. Excess sodium can cause dehydration if your dog does not consume enough water to counter the water loss that accompanies the flushing out of the excess sodium.
  • Vitamin D – Feeding your dog unusually high levels of vitamin D leads to increased levels of calcium (as vitamin D is involved in absorbing calcium in the body). This can cause adverse symptoms that involve the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, cardiovascular system, and nervous system.

Pet Food Nutrients That Can Harm Dogs

As a pet owner, you are concerned about your dog’s nutritional requirements, which is not unwarranted. According to Dr. Tony Buffington, a Professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, dogs, like all animals, require their necessary share of carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and water. These nutrients allow your dog to grow and remain nourished. However, the scary truth is that some of these essential nutrients can cause your dog harm. So, keep an eye on these nutrients the next time you decide what to feed your furry friend.


Magnesium is an important nutrient. But, it can also cause medical complications, some of which can be life-threatening too. Excess magnesium creates negative consequences that can affect your dog’s heart and nervous system. This can lead to problems that include cardiac arrest, paralysis, weakness, coma, respiratory depression, and death. Magnesium has also been known to cause the development of bladder stones. While cats can also experience these problems, dogs remain the most affected.


Dogs, like humans, are omnivores, but, they do require their fair share of protein, on account of their smaller intestines. So, it would be good to include an optimal amount of protein into their diet. More importantly, make sure the protein comes from an easily digestible source. This is especially important for dogs that already have renal disease. If the protein is of low quality, your dog can end up with digestive and metabolic issues, along with diarrhea, vomiting, excessive weight loss, and nausea.

Calcium & Phosphorus

Phosphorus and calcium are also needed by dogs, but, excessive amounts can cause problems, just like other nutrients. It is very important to look at the calcium to phosphorus ratio as well. If either of these nutrients is fed in high amounts, your dog could end up with bone-related issues. Growing large dogs are even more sensitive than small dogs to excessive phosphorus and calcium intake. You need to be extra careful if your dog has kidney disease. Such dogs have very specific requirements, which can vary depending on which stage of the disease they are in. Excess calcium or phosphorus can worsen their condition and even cause bladder stones to form.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D in excess causes calcium levels to go up and we’ve already read about what too much calcium can do. Apart from that, too much vitamin D can also lead to the development of nervous system problems, problems in the gastrointestinal tract, and cardiovascular problems.

Salt (Sodium)

Sodium is needed by your dog to maintain the acid-base balance, regulate blood pressure, and help transmit nerve impulses. But, too much sodium can affect the kidneys, heart, and nervous system. It can also lead to dehydration, especially if your dog doesn’t drink enough water to counter the effects of the excess sodium.

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