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Calcium to phosphorus ratio

Discussion in 'Doberman Nutritional Care' started by Logan 45, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. Logan 45

    Logan 45 $ Premium Subscriber $ $ Forum Donor $

    I was just seeking out helpful opinions on calcium to phosphorus ratios. I understand that this is actually important to know and feed the correct ratio and bad ratios can cause issues especially in developing dogs.

  2. GennyB

    GennyB Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    You are correct, the balance is important. I believe it is approximately 1:1 generally leaning toward a bit more calcium depending on developmental stage. I used to have a chart with ratios bookmarked when we tried raw feeding. Later on when I have a bit more time I'll see if I still have it.
  3. Viemarangelrock

    Viemarangelrock Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    We will be doing the ‘switch’ very soon. I’m still doing my homework so this a good topic for me, too.

    Meat = very high in phosphorus and low in calcium.
    Bone = Bone is high in calcium and in phosphorus. For the bone to make up at least 10% of their raw diet. That 10% helps to balance out the phosphorus content of the meat and organs being fed.

    My ‘plan’ is to feed the meat, offal, and vegetables in her bowl and give her a raw, meaty bone on the side. Possibly 2/3 meat and offal and 1/3 vegetable.

    Ive been told to watch her poops when I switch. Too loose then increase bone, if they are too hard and crumbly, then reduce bone.

    I’ll be following this thread for more info!
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  4. Logan 45

    Logan 45 $ Premium Subscriber $ $ Forum Donor $

    Thank you both for your input. Who knew feeding dogs could be so complex haha. I kinda thought it was 1:1 for the ratio but if I don’t know for sure I will ask.
  5. WiglWerm

    WiglWerm Hot Topics Subscriber

    It's really not complicated once you get the hand of it. I remember when I started raw, I was a nervous wreck I would screw it up. 2 yrs later, piece of cake, and I will NEVER go back to processed food (for the dogs, lol) Best thing to remember Balance over time!
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  6. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

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  7. strykerdobe

    strykerdobe Hot Topics Subscriber

    How To Balance The Calcium And Phosphorus In Your Dog's ...
    The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be about 1:1, but preferably with slightly more calcium than phosphorus. This is especially important in young, growing dogs, who need an adequate supply of raw meaty bones in their diet to provide a good balance of calcium and phosphorus

    [Updated] How To Balance The Calcium And Phosphorus In Your Dog’s Raw Diet

    By: Dana Scott -

    Reading Time: 6 minutes

    Do you sometimes feel like you need a nutrition degree to feed your dog a raw diet?

    One of the things that stops people from feeding dogs raw food is the notion that creating and balancing canine diets is an exact science that must be performed in the laboratory.

    This couldn’t be further from the truth!

    So if you’ve been reluctant to start your dog on a home prepared raw diet because you’re worried you might harm him by feeding him an unbalanced diet …

    … read on, because it’s easier than you think!

    There are a few guidelines you need to follow, but the most important one is balancing the minerals calcium and phosphorus in your dog’s diet.

    Meat is very high in phosphorus and low in calcium. The main function of phosphorus is in forming bones and teeth.

    It plays an important role in the body’s use of carbohydrates and fat as well as in synthesizing protein for the growth, maintenance and repair of cells and tissues.

    Phosphorus is also crucial for the production of ATP, a molecule the body uses to store energy.

    Phosphorus works with the B vitamins. It also helps with muscle contraction, kidney function, heartbeat regularity and nerve conduction.

    Bone is high in calcium and in phosphorus.

    According to Dr Ian Billinghurst (author of Give Your Dog a Bone and other well known books on canine nutrition), calcium’s role goes far beyond bone mineralization.

    “Calcium is essential for neuromuscular, cardiovascular, immune and endocrine function. It’s vital for blood clotting. Calcium forms the skeletal structure or cytoskeleton within each cell, and every cell in the body depends on calcium to support enzyme functions, bodily signalling and to maintain cell membrane stability.”

    Dogs need a balance between the amount of phosphorus and calcium they get in their daily diets.

    The ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be about 1:1, but preferably with slightly more calcium than phosphorus.

    This is especially important in young, growing dogs, who need an adequate supply of raw meaty bones in their diet to provide a good balance of calcium and phosphorus (we’ll talk more about this later).

    Feeding all-meat diets (which are high in phosphorus and low in calcium) to young pups can cause skeletal problems.

    According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, insufficient calcium or excess phosphorus can lower calcium absorption and result in irritability, hyperesthesia (oversensitivity to sensory stimuli), and loss of muscle tone.

    Calcium deficiency can also cause skeletal demineralization, particularly of the pelvis and vertebrae.

    Excess calcium can also interfere with normal healthy bone mineralization and growth, especially in young (under 1 year old) large and giant breed dogs. Large breeds fed excess calcium are more likely to suffer from developmental bone disease such as osteochondrosis (abnormal bone growth).

    (NOTE: Still not sure about raw? Click Here to see what 5 dangerous ingredients are in your dog’s food — that AREN’T on the label!)

    Balancing The Calcium: Phosphorus Ratio

    It might seem daunting to calculate the calcium: phosphorus ratio in a home prepared raw diet for your dog … but it’s really not that complicated.

    Bones are a safe source of dietary calcium and if dogs eat enough of them, the diet will be balanced without a lot of difficult calculations.

    Dr Billinghurst explains:

    “Approximate biological balance is achieved so long as meat alone is not the principal dietary component. That job must be left to the raw meaty bones (RMBs). When a young and growing dog eats RMBs, if the bone to meat ratio of those RMBs is around 1:1, then the balance of calcium to phosphorus is appropriate for bone mineralization and formation.”

    Dr Billinghurst also says that adult dogs need less calcium and, as long as you’re feeding a raw diet with raw meaty bones, the adult dog’s body will absorb the calcium it needs and leave what it doesn’t in the intestines.

    Overall, balancing calcium and phosphorus isn’t all that difficult, as long as dogs receive plenty of bone. In general, any bone content over 10% is plenty although you shouldn’t exceed 25% because dogs need other nutrients too.

    Bone Content In Raw Foods
    When sourcing bones for your dog’s diet, it’s a good idea to know the approximate amount of bone in commonly sourced foods. Here is a quick guide to help you keep your dog’s bone content in the right range … between 10 and 25%.

    The information is primarily from the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Nutrient Database.

    • Whole chicken (not including the head and feet): 25%
    • Leg quarter: 30%
    • Split breast: 20%
    • Thigh: 15%
    • Drumstick: 30%
    • Wing: 45%
    • Neck: 36%
    • Back: 45%
    • Feet: 60%
    • Head: 75%
    • Whole turkey: 21%
    • Thigh: 21%
    • Drumstick: 20%
    • Wing: 37%
    • Neck: 42%
    • Back: 41%
    • Whole: 28%
    • Neck: 50%
    • Feet: 60%
    • Feet: 30%
    • Tails: 30%
    • Ribs: 30%
    • Country style ribs: 21%
    • Ribs: 52%
    • Oxtails: 45% to 65% (the percentage goes up as the tail gets thinner and less meaty)
    • Whole rabbit (fur and all): 10%
    • Whole (dressed): 28%
    • Rib: 27%
    • Shoulder blade: 24%
    • Whole shoulder (arm and blade): 21%
    Game birds
    • Quail: 10%
    • Guinea hen: 17%
    • Squab (pigeon): 23%
    • Wild duck: 38%
    • Pheasant: 14%
    • Cornish game hen: 39%
    Pulling It All Together
    Balancing calcium and phosphorus is quite easy … and much easier with this guide!

    Overall, to make sure your dog’s diet includes between 10% and 25% bone, you’ll want to feed your dog anywhere from 25% to 60% raw meaty bones (RMBs) like the ones above.


    Let’s get started with a bit of simple math …

    You pick up some great looking lamb ribs at the butcher.

    You know those lamb ribs are 27% bone. So if you fed your dog a pound of boneless meat and organ meats for breakfast and a pound of lamb ribs for dinner, he would be eating 14% bone.

    He’s eating two pounds of food, half of which is lamb ribs, which are 27% bone. Half of 27% is 13.5% … but we don’t need to get down to decimals, so round up and call it 14% bone in his diet for that day.

    Here’s another example.

    Let’s say you have a 60 pound dog. Normally, you’d feed 2% to 3% of his body weight in raw food. So, using 2.5%, your dog would eat about 1.5 lbs (or 24 oz) of food per day.

    So let’s say you fed him 0.5 lb lamb ribs and 1 lb meat and organ meats. You’d divide the amount of bone by 3, because a third of his food for that day is lamb ribs.

    You’ll see your dog is getting 9% bone. Not enough!

    So let’s try increasing it to 40% lamb ribs, which would be about 10 oz.

    Now, 40% isn’t quite as easy to calculate as a third or a half. So in this case it’s easier to just take 40% of 27% (multiply 27 by 0.4) and you’ll see your dog would be eating nearly 11% bone. Not bad!

    Now that you know how much bone to feed your dog, all you need to do is include 15% organ meat and round out the rest of his diet with nice boneless meats.

    Told you it was easy!

    Here Are A Couple More Tips
    1. The bone content values in this list are approximate but that’s really all you need to provide your dog with a safe and healthy raw diet.
    2. Avoid grocery store meats as they are often treated with bleach or enhanced with salt.
    3. Make sure you feed bones that are appropriate for the size of your dog. Avoid pieces that could present a choking hazard.
    Dana Scott

    Dana Scott is the Founder and CEO of Dogs Naturally Magazine. She also breeds award winning Labrador Retrievers under the Fallriver prefix. Dana has been a raw feeding, natural rearing breeder since the 90's and is a sought after speaker and outspoken advocate for natural health care for dogs and people. Dana works tirelessly to educate pet owners so they can influence veterinary medicine and change current vaccine, food and preventive health practices. Visit Dana's Labradors at Fallriver Labs
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  8. strykerdobe

    strykerdobe Hot Topics Subscriber

    Balancing The Calcium/Phosphorous Ratio In A Raw Diet For Dogs
    But, let’s say that we now feed 10 grams of raw bone. This will give us a total supplement of 1,000 milligrams of Calcium and 1,000 milligrams of Phosphorous. Add to this what we feed through the other sources of food. This brings the Calcium intake up to a total of 1,050 milligrams, and the Phosphorous to a total of 1,100 milligrams.

    Balancing The Calcium/Phosphorous Ratio In A Raw Diet For Dogs
    By: Mogens Eliasen -

    Reading Time: 4 minutes

    Most dog owners that feed their dogs a raw, natural diet will know about the Calcium/Phosphorous balance problem. It’s tricky to manage for someone who doesn’t have access to a chemical laboratory, and it becomes even trickier when you understand that many available food sources are depleted of fundamental nutrients.

    Worse yet: this depletion varies with location and industry standards for the farmers who produce the food.

    The problem with chemical analyses…
    The solution is not to resort to pre-manufactured kibble products that claim to have the right balance…

    The reason is that a chemical analysis of the Calcium contents and the Phosphorous contents of the food will not necessarily tell you the entire truth about the balance between those two nutrients. What you can measure with standard chemical analysis and what truly matters for the body’s metabolism is not exactly the same… What is analyzed chemically is the total concentration of the chemical elements, regardless of what kind of compounds they occur in.

    When your Calcium and Phosphorous sources are raw natural food, chances are that you will be supplying both of those two elements in chemical compounds that are digestible and accessible for the metabolism. If you use artificial ingredients as a supplement, you can easily have the chemical analysis show that the concentrations are “right” – but in reality, they do not represent accessible nutrients. Example: Limestone will contain significant amounts of Calcium, and will show up in a chemical analysis with its high Calcium content. But limestone is next to impossible to digest, so almost all of its Calcium will be discharged through the feces, exactly as it was ingested….

    Calcium/Phosphorous Balance: Using raw bones as the source
    Being left now with only natural sources of Calcium of Phosphorous, our attention should turn to bone as our source of those two nutrients. Bones contain the right balance a dog needs. If we feed enough of it, the balance problem is solved.

    But what about those other imbalances in the diet? Don’t we need to compensate for those? For instance, if we have too little Calcium, don’t we then need to add more Phosphorous than what we have in bones?

    The answer is that it does not matter – if you feed enough bones. Here is why: Let’s say that the right ratio between Calcium and Phosphorous in 1:1 – 50% of each. Let’s further say that the dog needs 100 milligrams (=0.1 grams) of each per day, and that bones contain 10% of each. This leads us to conclude that we should feed a total of 1,000 milligrams (=1 gram) of bone per day to cover the needs, assuming that all the Calcium and all the Phosphorous in bones is digestible.

    However, in the food we feed, we might have a deficiency of Calcium. Let’s say that the food contains only half the Calcium it should (50 milligrams instead of 100 milligrams), but is okay as far as Phosphorous goes. We are thus out of balance – our 1:1 ratio is only 0.5:1 – which is critical.

    But, let’s say that we now feed 10 grams of raw bone. This will give us a total supplement of 1,000 milligrams of Calcium and 1,000 milligrams of Phosphorous. Add to this what we feed through the other sources of food. This brings the Calcium intake up to a total of 1,050 milligrams, and the Phosphorous to a total of 1,100 milligrams. Our overall balance is now no longer 0.5:1, but (1050/1100):1 = 0.95:1. We are only 5% “off”. But 5% is within the natural variation anyway, so it won’t matter… (Also: most standard chemical analyses do not give a more precise result anyway: +/-5% is pretty accurate for such an analysis…)

    If you feed 100 grams of bone instead, you will see the ratio go to 0.995:1 – less than 0.5% off the mark…

    The good news in this is that dogs thrive very well on getting a lot of raw bones. (Mind you, in nature, a wolf will hardly leave anything of a kill, except for the hooves and the scull.) And better yet: you don’t need to know anything about the actual deficiencies of Calcium or Phosphorous in the food you feed. You don’t even need to know which of the two is missing or insufficient. All you need to do is to give your dog plenty of raw bones that will make the imbalances in the food totally insignificant.

    How much is “plenty”? A good guide would be to use a natural prey animal as standard – about 7-10% of its total weight will be bone, so anything in excess of 10% of the total diet would be “plenty”. You should not exceed 25% – because you do need to leave room for other nutrients also…

    Dogs love bones – so this will make you a popular pack leader!

    Mogens Eliasen

    Mogens Eliasen holds a Ph.D. level degree in Chemistry from Århus University, Denmark and has 30+ years of experience working with dogs, dog owners, dog trainers, and holistic veterinarians as a coach, lecturer, and education system developer. He publishes a free newsletter "The Peeing Post" containing lots of tips and advice on dog problems of all kinds, particularly about training, behavioral problems, feeding, and health care.For more information about Mogens Eliasen, including links to other articles he has published, please send a short e-mail to contact@k9joy.com
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  9. WiglWerm

    WiglWerm Hot Topics Subscriber

    I would personally stay away from turkey bones. They are much more dense than chicken or duck bones and can splinter. Turkey necks can be a serious choke plug, as well as turkey tails, there have been a few deaths in my FB group due to those. And ALWAYS watch your dogs eat. My boy Spike used to be a gulped and I had to go down his throat once to retrieve a hunk of meat, who knows what would have happened if I hadn't been right there...If your pup IS a gulper you can freeze the meal into a solid ball (bigger than the size of his head) and let him eat off of it until he gets his meal amount. Then put it in a bag and toss back into the freezer. This keeps him from swallowing chunks, cleans the teeth AND is great mental stimulation!
    When I first started I was soo worried about bone ratio. Chicken thighs are pretty darn close to perfect bone to meat. They were my go to bone for their meals! Good Luck, you'll do GREAT!
    Carnivorecarryout.com has some real good info on their website and even has meal plans to help you along, check it out!
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  10. strykerdobe

    strykerdobe Hot Topics Subscriber

    We don’t feed whole turkey necks. We only feed ground turkey necks.
    But we do feed whole Chicken necks.
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