The first question you need to ask when considering a calcium supplement for your dog, is do they actually need it? Generally speaking, if your pup is fed a diet of specialized, commercial dog food, they will already be getting enough calcium – all dog food in the US is required to include the recommended daily amount.
So, why the need for this buying guide – why do calcium supplements for dogs exist? Well, there are some instances where your furry friend may become calcium deficient – for example, if they are being fed an imbalanced homemade diet, or if they have just given birth, and are nursing a litter of adorable calcium thieves. In these cases, if your dog is unable to get enough calcium from their diet, your veterinarian may prescribe a supplement. You should only ever give your dog calcium supplements if directly advised to do so by a vet.
Once you’ve established the need for a calcium supplement, the next step is wading through the many different formulas out there and tearing your fur out over all the different options. Never fear! We’ve put together this buying guide to the best calcium supplements for dogs, to help you decide on the perfect bone-strengthening formula for your best friend.
The Best Calcium Supplement for Dogs
The first calcium supplement on our list is the New Chapter Bone Strength Calcium Supplement. Although this plant-based supplement is designed for humans, and not specifically for dogs, it is one of the highest quality calcium supplements on the market, and the benefits it offers to bone health are equally applicable to dogs.
As well as a healthy dose of calcium, New Chapter’s Bone Strength supplement contains vitamin K2, which helps direct calcium to where it is needed in the body, and vitamin D3, which aids absorption. These calcium pills also contain magnesium and other trace minerals, ensuring that your dog will get the most out of taking calcium supplements, and making these a great option for boosting their health quickly. In fact, easy-to-swallow tablets are said to have 3-in-1 health benefits: bone strength, joint health, and heart health support.
Always check with your vet before giving your dog a human supplement, to make sure all of the ingredients, and the number of ingredients, are suitable for your pet’s particular needs. Humans are advised to take three of these tablets daily, but your vet will recommend a different dosage for your canine friend based on their nutritional requirements. Remember that dogs are physically different to people, even though emotionally we may love them more (just kidding mum!)
Plant-sourced, whole food calcium
Contains 120 tablets
100% vegetarian and kosher
- BrandNew Chapter
- Weight9.6 oz
Contains vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 to aid calcium absorption
Also contains magnesium and other trace minerals
Sustainably harvested & non-GMO project verified
Human supplements are generally more regulated than dog supplements
Not specially designed for dogs
As with our previous pick, the Pure Synergy Bone Renewal Bone Vitamin is designed for doggy owners, but there’s no reason why doggies themselves should miss out on this winning formula. The calcium here is also plant-based, and comes from Icelandic red algae and Japanese white sesame seeds – sounds impressive, right? There is some evidence that calcium from plants is easier for your dog to absorb than that from bone, so this is positive news for your canine chum.
Again, you and your dog are getting more for your money than just calcium – as part of its ‘3-part formula’, the Bone Renewal supplement also contains vitamins D3 and K2, and magnesium, all of which will help the calcium absorb into your pup’s bloodstream. The third part of the formula is trace amounts of ‘bio-active co-factors’: boron, silica, vanadium, and strontium, which are said to be essential for bone regeneration.
The recommended dose of this calcium supplement for humans is five tablets, but as before, consult your vet for advice on a canine equivalent.
Plant-based, bio-available calcium from Icelandic red algae and white sesame seeds
Contains 150 capsules
Non-GMO, vegetarian and gluten-free
- BrandPure Synergy
- Weight12.6 oz
Plant-based calcium is easier for your dog to absorb
Contains vitamins D3 and K2 and magnesium to aid absorption
Also contains bio-active co-factors, such as boron and silica
Human supplements are generally higher quality than dog supplements
Not specially designed for dogs
Number 3 on our list is the first supplement specifically marketed for dogs. The 4-in-1 formula offers plenty of essential nutrients, including digestive enzymes to help with digestion, Omegas to aid coat and skin health, vitamins and minerals for overall health and wellbeing, and glucosamine and chondroitin to help with joint function.
All of this means the NaturVet All-in-One 4-in-1 Soft Chews are not just a good calcium supplement for dogs, but a good overall health supplement for your precious pup. However, this formula may be a little overkill for a dog who is deficient in calcium, but otherwise has good nutritional levels – the last thing you want is to cure your dog’s calcium deficiency, but OD him on other vitamins in the process! As always, the best thing to do is check with your vet first, to make sure the formula is suitable for your furry friend’s particular needs.
The good news is that as this specifically a dog supplement, it comes in a dog-friendly, soft chew form, that will hopefully convince Fido that this is more of a treat than a chore!
4-in-1 health supplement for dogs
Contains 60 soft chews (recommended dose is two chews a day)
- Weight9.8 oz
Specially designed for dogs
Contains a variety of other essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus and Omega 3, offering added health benefits for your pup
Soft chew form is easier and nicer for dogs to eat
The additional vitamins may be unnecessary, and at worst harmful, to your dog’s diet if they are already getting sufficient amounts of these nutrients
Moving on to our next recommendation, and it comes from… seaweed. Yes, you read that right – but there’s nothing ‘fishy’ about this calcium supplement for dogs. Animal Essentials Seaweed Calcium is made from Lithothamnium seaweed, harvested off the coast of Ireland. This special seaweed is packed full of minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Being in a powder form and from a plant-based source could make it easier for your mutt to absorb and digest than calcium from, say, bone meal or calcium carbonate. This is because the calcium is contained in smaller, more porous particles that allow digestive acids to permeate and dissolve them more quickly in your pup’s stomach.
This calcium supplement for dogs is specifically designed for, you guessed it, dogs. The manufacturer’s guidelines recommend adding 1tsp of powder to each pound of your dog’s food (assuming a homemade diet), but as always, check with your vet whether this amount will work for your faithful hound.
Calcium derived from dehydrated seaweed
A powdered form that can be easily mixed into your dog’s food
- BrandAnimal Essentials
- Weight12 oz
Small powder particles make it easier for your dog to absorb
Plant-based calcium source may be easier for your dog to digest
Contains magnesium to aid absorption
Specially designed for dogs
Doesn’t contain vitamin D, or other vitamins
The Lambert Kay Sure Grow 100 Tablets are our first calcium supplements for puppies, designed especially to help them develop strong bones, ligaments, and tendons during periods of rapid growth. Some great news for owners is that these calcium pills for puppies are already balanced with phosphorus at a ratio of 0.85 calcium to 1 phosphorus, so you don’t need to worry about getting your pup’s calcium-to-phosphorus ratios right on your own (one less thing to worry about!) As well as calcium and phosphorus, these dog supplements also contain a healthy dose of vitamins A and D, to help aid absorption.
Lambert Kay state that these tablets were developed by a veterinarian, specifically to meet the needs of developing puppies (always worth getting a second opinion from your vet!) The supplements come in chewable tablet form which the manufacturer also claims are very palatable to your dog (but you can let Fido be the judge of that!) Anything from 2 – 4 tablets are daily is recommended, depending on your dog’s weight and individual nutritional needs.
Calcium-phosphorus vitamin supplement for dogs
Contains 100 tablets
- BrandLambert Kay
- Weight5.3 oz
Chewable, flavoured tablets; enjoyable for your dog to eat
Balanced with phosphorus
Contains vitamins A and D
Specially designed for puppies
May be unsuitable for dogs on a homemade diet with an already high ratio of phosphorus
The Buddy & Lola Multivitamin for Dogs contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals for your dog. Designed for active senior dogs or puppies, the Multivit+ supplement contains 34 vital nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, and antioxidants. Whether this is a good thing or not may depend on your dog’s current levels of all those vitamins – ask your vet for advice.
In addition to calcium, these multivitamin dog supplements also contain phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, and copper, as well as vitamins A, B12, D, and E, amongst others. There’s clearly a lot more here than in our previous supplements, and you’ll be interfering with a lot more than just your pup’s calcium levels. It’s also a synthetic formula, rather than a natural, plant-based one, which some may consider a negative. Show your vet the ingredients list and get their advice before giving to your dog (we promise they won’t mind all these questions!)
A dose up to to 3 tablets daily may be advised, depending on your furry friend’s weight – the good news is that these chewable tablets have a chicken liver flavouring, so hopefully your dog won’t be too reluctant to gobble them up!
A multivitamin containing 34 nutrients, including calcium phosphate
Soy and dairy free
Contains 180 tablets
- BrandBuddy & Lola
- Weight11 oz
Chicken liver flavour (yum!)
Made from FDA approved ingredients
Could be overkill, depending on your dog’s nutritional needs
The final entry on our list of the best calcium supplements for dogs is this Upco Bone Meal Steamed Bag Supplement. The calcium in this supplement is sourced from bone, which is commonly advised as a very good source of calcium for dogs on a natural raw diet (although there is some argument that plant-based sources are easier for your dog to absorb).
This particular brand of bone meal has received positive reviews for its unprocessed, unbleached form – the bone meal has a light brown colour, similar to grain. Several reviewers also state that their dogs went mad for the smell/taste of it, so this could be a good option if you have a fussy pup who refuses to take tablets and who can smell a ground-up pill in their food from two streets away!
How much you should give your fur baby will depend on how much additional calcium they need, as well as the amount of phosphorus already in their diet – make sure to consult, you guessed it, your vet for advice.
Concentrated source of calcium and phosphorus from porcine bone
- Weight15.4 oz
Natural source of calcium for dogs
Unbleached and with no additives
Also contains phosphorus
Can be harder for your pup to digest than plant-based calcium
Calcium Supplement for Dogs Buying Guide
Still not sure which of these brilliant bone vitamins is the b-one for you? (Sorry!) Have a read of our full buying guide for some important facts about calcium for dogs, and things to consider before purchasing dog supplements.
Why is Calcium Important for Dogs?
Just as with humans, dogs require a sufficient amount of calcium in order to be healthy and grow big and strong. Calcium is necessary for the proper functioning of the neuromuscular, cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as to support enzyme function. It is also essential for maintaining healthy nails, teeth, and bones – dogs, especially puppies, who are not getting enough calcium may develop painful skeletal deformities. Other unwanted outcomes of calcium deficiency can include irritability, hyperesthesia, loss of muscle tone and, in severe cases, seizures. It can even be fatal for your furry friend. Scary stuff!
What Can Cause High Calcium Levels in Dogs?
High calcium levels can be caused by feeding your dog too much calcium-rich food, or by supplementing their diet with calcium tablets unnecessarily over a period of time. Most dogs on a diet of high-grade, commercial dog food will already have a sufficient calcium intake. If you then start regularly giving your dog supplements (or giant handfuls of spinach) which have a high calcium content, your dog can start to overdose on calcium. Having too much calcium in their blood can be just as bad for your dog as too little; high levels of calcium can cause nausea, kidney stones, and kidney failure, and is also linked to issues such as canine hip dysplasia and developmental bone disease. This is why it is important to only supplement your dog’s diet with calcium if advised to do so by your vet – they know best.
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What Causes Calcium Deficiency in Dogs?
Calcium deficiency in dogs can be caused by a nutritionally inadequate home-cooked diet, as a side-effect of disease, or as a result of pregnancy or giving birth.
- Imbalanced Diet: A home-prepared or raw food diet, as opposed to one based on commercial dog food, is the most common cause of calcium deficiency in dogs, as the meat that usually makes up the majority of this diet is naturally very high in phosphorus and low in calcium. It can be very hard to get your dog’s calcium intake just right, especially because calcium needs to be consumed in proportion to the amount of phosphorus. That said, there are ways to get enough calcium into the diet of a raw-food dog without supplementation, primarily by using bones, and possibly some high-calcium, dog-safe vegetables, such as spinach and kale. See ‘Natural sources of calcium for dogs’ below for more information, and ask your vet for advice before feeding your dog a homemade diet.
- Pregnancy: Calcium deficiency in dogs can also be a result of your dog having puppies, as calcium requirements are higher during late-stage pregnancy or while nursing (that’s right – making milk for those adorable puppies can come at a price for your furry friend’s bones. The things we do for our kids, eh?) If your dog is in their third trimester or has recently given birth, it is possible they are in need of some extra calcium. Keep a close eye out for symptoms such as lethargy, muscle tremors, and seizures, which can be signs of eclampsia, a condition caused by calcium deficiency in lactating mothers. Consult your vet for advice on calcium supplementation.
- Illness: Lastly, calcium deficiency can be a side-effect of a variety of other illnesses in your dog, such as kidney failure, acute pancreatitis or hypoparathyroidism (inadequate secretion of parathyroid hormone). Your vet will perform tests and a physical exam if any other diseases are suspected as the cause of calcium deficiency. Make sure to give your vet your dog’s full health history and a detailed description of their symptoms, so they have the full picture and can make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
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Natural Sources of Calcium for Dogs
There are some natural ways to boost your dog’s calcium levels, which your vet may advise you to try before supplements. Animal bones, for example, are a good source of natural calcium for dogs. For mutts on a home-prepared diet, it is said that as much as 50% of their overall diet should be made up of raw meaty bones, such as lamb ribs, to achieve a bone content of 10% - 25% in their diet. These can be eaten alongside meat and organs, to balance out the amount of phosphorus in the meat with calcium, and ensure dogs on a raw food diet do not become calcium deficient. Always give your dog bones that are large enough that they won’t choke, and never give them to them cooked, as they can splinter in your dog’s stomach. You should always be around to supervise when you ‘give your dog a bone’, and if you are still worried, consider grinding the bones in a blender to make a powder, then adding this to your dog’s food – just think of it as puppy Parmesan! Other natural sources of calcium that are suitable for your dog in small amounts include unsweetened, low-fat natural yogurt, vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, and cooked fish, including tuna and salmon.
Best Calcium Supplement for Dogs FAQ:
Q: What are calcium supplements?
A: Calcium supplements are concentrated amounts of this essential mineral that can be added to the diet of a deficient dog to boost their calcium levels. There are lots of different forms of calcium for dogs, including tablets, chews, powders, and liquids. The calcium itself can be plant-based and bound to organic acids, such as calcium lactate or calcium citrate, or inorganic acids, such as calcium carbonate. Generally, those with organic acids are considered easier for your dog to absorb. Many supplements also contain a dose of vitamin D, which further aids the absorption of calcium (although too much vitamin D can also be bad for your dog). The best way for your dog to get their calcium is as part of a healthy, balanced diet, but if this is not possible and they become deficient, your vet may advise the use of a calcium supplement to boost their levels.
Q: How much calcium does my dog need?
A: The exact amount of calcium your dog needs depends on a variety of factors, including their age, size, and breed. Younger dogs and puppies will need more calcium, as their bones are still developing, and bigger dogs will obviously need more calcium than smaller ones. You should consult your vet for advice on how much calcium your particular pooch needs, but as a general guide, the National Research Council states that adult dogs require approximately 50mg of calcium per kilogram of body weight each day. What is important to remember, is that however much calcium you feed your dog, the ratio between calcium and phosphorus in your dog’s diet should be around 1:1 (possibly even skewed in favour of calcium). It is getting this optimum ratio correct that will ultimately mean that your dog is healthy and doesn’t become calcium deficient.
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Q: How safe are calcium supplements?
A: When used correctly, calcium supplements are generally considered safe for dogs. Problems arise when they are not given in the correct amounts, or if they are given to a dog who does not need supplementation. This can result in your dog having too high levels of calcium, which can affect the absorption of other essential minerals, such as magnesium and zinc, disrupting the nutrient balance and leading to more deficiencies. High calcium levels have also been linked to canine hip dysplasia, a deformity of the hip socket that can lead to painful arthritis and lameness for your furry friend (insert crying face emoji). The amount of time your dog takes a supplement for is also a factor – there are very limited studies into whether supplements are safe for dogs long-term, so they should only be used as a short-term treatment. It’s pretty clear then why you should only ever give your dog a calcium supplement if advised to do so by a veterinarian, who can assure you it is both safe and necessary, and advise on the correct dosage.
Whilst a prescription is not needed for calcium supplements, it is important to note that calcium pills for dogs are not highly regulated, and the quality can often be lower than that of human supplements. Do your research and be wary of supplements that promise too much - if possible look for one that has certification from an independent organization, and choose a reputable manufacturer (one that specializes in this area) to make sure you’re getting what is advertised. Ask your vet for recommendations too.
Our Top Pick
Our favorite calcium supplement for dogs is the New Chapter Bone Strength Calcium Supplement with Vitamin K2 + D3. As a supplement designed for humans, it is more regulated and likely to be of a higher quality than many dog supplements. It contains vitamins K2 and D3, which aid the absorption and distribution of calcium, as well as other trace minerals, ensuring your furry friend gets the most health benefits possible from having to take a yucky tablet every day.