Magnesium is great for me but what about my pets?
As responsible fur parents, we need to provide the full range of our fur baby’s nutritional needs. And while there are dog and cat food manufacturers out there that include a lot of the needed nutrients in their products, such as high-quality proteins and vitamins, not everyone gives much attention to their product’s mineral content.
Magnesium, for example, is one mineral that gets notoriously overlooked even by premium pet food and natural pet supplement brands, especially when compared to more popular minerals such as iron and calcium. It’s made even more complicated because an intricate balance must be struck between calcium and magnesium in the body. If this fragile stability isn’t reached, the consequences can be tragic, ranging from diarrhea to comatose.
Considering its impact on our four-legged friend’s overall health, it should be our responsibility to monitor and provide our pets with precisely the right amount of magnesium to enable them to live longer and happier.
What does magnesium actually do?
Magnesium facilitates over 300 biochemical reactions and metabolic functions in our fur baby’s body. Magnesium is heavily involved in simple muscle movements to more complex activities such as heartbeat and complex brain functions. Because of its wide range of use in the body, supplementing with magnesium is an essential requirement of a truly holistic approach to pet nutrition.
Facilitates Controlled Movement
It’s a key mineral for movement and mobility as it regulates neuromuscular excitability and muscle contraction. Every single action that our pets make, therefore, requires magnesium. Because of this regulatory function for our pet’s muscle fibers, magnesium does not only prevent mobility issues, it can also help avert heart disease as well.
Regulates Nutrient Absorption
In a way, magnesium is also a regulator for other macrominerals and vitamins as it facilitates their absorption. For example, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, and even vitamins C and E all require magnesium for absorption and utilization. Therefore, proper magnesium intake is a great way to enhance the intake of other minerals that also prevent deficiencies and improve your pet’s longevity.
Supports the Immune Response
Clinical studies suggest that magnesium plays a role in immunoglobulin synthesis, immune cell adherence, and other required processes in maintaining a robust immune system. Experts also believe that magnesium has anti-inflammatory properties making it an excellent natural immune booster.
What happens if I give too much or too little magnesium?
Unfortunately, hypomagnesemia and hypermagnesemia are common problems for our furry companions, especially aging animals. These conditions refer to deficiency and overload of magnesium in the body, respectively, with symptoms that range from benign to life-threatening.
Hypomagnesemia (Magnesium Deficiency)
Because one of the primary functions of magnesium is in muscle movement regulation, signs of magnesium deficiency are predominantly seen in our dog’s mobility. Muscle cramps and twitches are the most common, but it can also affect internal organs such as the gastrointestinal tract by causing constipation. Because of the discomfort, pets might also exhibit behavioral issues such as anxiety, stress, and depression.
Here are some of the signs that you need to look out for:
- Uncoordinated movement
- Arrhythmia and heavy breathing
- Involuntary twitches
Hypermagnesemia (Magnesium Surplus)
While it’s much less common, having way too much magnesium in the body can cause more severe symptoms than having too little of it. Perhaps the mildest symptom of hypermagnesemia is chronic diarrhea. However, if our pets go for an extended period of hypermagnesemia without intervention, it may cause the pancreas, liver, kidney, and heart diseases. It may even cause other problems such as overabsorption of other minerals disturbing the delicate balance and homeostasis in our pet’s body.
Here are some of the signs of hypermagnesemia:
- Unusual inactivity
- Poor reflexes
Some of the symptoms are particularly worrisome and can make any fur parent panic. Fortunately, both of these conditions are pretty manageable, especially if detected early. So as always, be mindful of any changes in your pet’s behavior as it can indicate that something’s wrong with their magnesium supply.
What are safe magnesium sources for animals?
If you’re looking to inject a bit more magnesium into your fur baby’s diet, there are plenty of foods to choose from. But be careful as many magnesium-rich foods for humans are not exactly friendly to our fur baby’s delicate digestive system.
Spinach, for example, is not recommended for dogs despite its popularity as a magnesium source for humans as they have high oxalic acid, which can cause damage to their kidneys. Avocado, almond, and pumpkin seeds are all also popular for their magnesium content but similarly have at least one kind of detrimental side-effect or another.
But there’s no need to worry as there are plenty of other foods with a good amount of magnesium content that you can give your pup. For example, Salmon, mackerel, and lamb-based kibble are good sources of magnesium for pets. You can also feed these raw; however, the nutrient content would not be as dense or concentrated, so pet owners would have to provide more to get the right amount of magnesium in their pets. Dosage, therefore, can be tricky for these traditional magnesium sources.
The difficulty in finding a perfectly balanced magnesium source forced experts to look for novel ingredients, which led them to phytoplankton. It’s a sustainable and, most importantly, safe source of magnesium and a whole host of other minerals and vitamins for our cherished four-legged friends.
What makes it such an incredible natural pet supplement is that it also contains other essential nutrients that our companion animals need, such as DHA, nucleic acids, and proline which are all beneficial to their health.
Dosage and Administration
One of the phytoplankton’s most important properties is its exceptional bioavailability. Therefore, with phytoplankton, we can be more precise with dosage, so we won’t have to worry about giving too much or too little.
Magnesium dosage is dependent mainly on our pet’s weight. Generally, the optimal level is at .3% of their body weight in a day.
However, it’s essential to consult with your holistic vet about the proper dosage for your particular pet, as certain parameters might need to be tweaked on your specific case. They’ll usually consider your pet’s regular diet, preexisting illnesses, and other crucial matters in determining how much magnesium to administer.
Final Thoughts: Should I give my pup magnesium supplements?
Calcium, iron, and zinc are often the priority for fur parents and dog lovers. Unfortunately, magnesium, which is just as crucial to our pet’s wellness, is often left as an afterthought. It has a long list of benefits such as facilitating controlled movement, regulating nutrient absorption, and improving immune response.
However, it’s crucial that we scrutinize everything we give our beloved four-legged companions. Finding a good source of magnesium that doesn’t have any detrimental side effects can be challenging.
Fortunately, marine phytoplankton has proven to be an excellent magnesium source for our beloved pets. Aside from having superior bioavailability, it’s also safe and sustainable. So, if you’re looking to supplement your pup’s diet with magnesium, read up more on phytoplankton.