top of page

Minerals! Whats all this rock about?

Updated: Oct 31

This article is written to evaluate the pet food industry and the importance of minerals in cats and dogs however all of this information can still be applied to an equine diet as well. Minerals are vital to equine health and there are many products (complete feeds, balancers and supplements) that can help keep your horse their healthiest.

Two kittens eating food


When it comes to the health and happiness of our beloved pets, nutrition is a cornerstone. While we often focus on providing the right balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, we must not overlook the essential role that minerals play in our companion animals' diets. Maintaining a proper mineral balance is paramount for the well-being, longevity, and overall vitality of our furry friends. Furthermore, understanding the intricate interactions between minerals is equally crucial. In this article, we will delve into the significance of mineral balance and interactions in the nutrition of companion animals and their specific implications for health.

The Significance of Minerals in Companion Animal Nutrition

Minerals are indispensable inorganic elements that companion animals require in varying quantities to support numerous bodily functions. These elements are classified into two primary categories: macro-minerals, which are needed in relatively larger amounts, and micro-minerals, or trace minerals, required in minute quantities. Both categories are vital for a range of physiological processes that affect our pets' health and vitality.

1. Strong Bones and Teeth: Calcium and phosphorus are essential macro-minerals that contribute to the development and maintenance of sturdy bones and teeth in our companion animals. A proper balance of these minerals is crucial for preventing skeletal problems and dental issues.

2. Muscle Function and Nerve Health: Minerals such as magnesium and potassium are essential for muscle function and nerve health. Imbalances in these minerals can lead to muscle weakness, cramps, and nervous system disorders in pets.

3. Immune System Support: Trace minerals like zinc, copper, and selenium are instrumental in bolstering our pets' immune systems. They play pivotal roles in the production of antibodies and the protection of animals from infections and diseases.

4. Skin and Coat Health: Proper mineral balance, particularly the inclusion of minerals like zinc and copper, is key to maintaining healthy skin and a glossy coat in companion animals. Deficiencies can result in dry skin, hair loss, and a dull coat.

5. Enzyme Activation: Many minerals serve as cofactors for enzymes involved in metabolic processes. For instance, magnesium is essential for activating enzymes that help regulate energy production and nutrient metabolism.

6. Electrolyte Balance: Sodium, potassium, and chloride are essential minerals for maintaining proper electrolyte balance in the body. This balance is critical for nerve function, muscle contractions, and overall hydration.

Importance of Mineral Interactions

One of the most interesting and complex facts about minerals is that they do not work in isolation; their interactions within the body are crucial for maintaining health. These interactions can either enhance or inhibit the absorption and utilization of other minerals. For example:

Mineral interaction chart

1. Calcium and Phosphorus: These minerals have a delicate balance. An excess of one can hinder the absorption of the other. Ensuring the right ratio of calcium to phosphorus is vital for healthy bones.

2. Zinc and Copper: These trace minerals interact closely, and an imbalance between them can lead to issues like skin problems and immune system dysfunction.

3. Iron and Calcium: High calcium levels can inhibit the absorption of iron, which is crucial for oxygen transport in the blood. This interaction is particularly significant in preventing anemia in pets.

The photo to the left shows all the varying interactions between minerals. These interactions vary in intensity as well adding a second layer to the complexity of mineral balancing in nutrition.

Tailored Nutrition for Companion Animals

Proper mineral balance and understanding mineral interactions in companion animal nutrition are not one-size-fits-all. Different species, breeds, and individual pets may have varying mineral requirements. Companion animal owners should work closely with veterinarians and an animal nutritionist to consider the specific needs of their pets when selecting commercial pet foods or formulating homemade diets. This ensures that the mineral content aligns with the unique requirements of their furry companions, accounting for essential mineral interactions.

Commercial Diets and Minerals Balance

commercial dog food

The best way to make sure the minerals in your pets diet are balanced is to work with commercially made food. Research on the minerals formulated in commercial pet foods is a critical aspect of ensuring the nutritional adequacy of these products for our beloved animal companions. Extensive studies are conducted to determine the ideal ratios and levels of minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and trace minerals like zinc, copper, and selenium. These investigations take into account the specific needs of various species and life stages of pets, as well as potential interactions between minerals. Researchers focus on optimizing the bioavailability of minerals to ensure they are readily absorbed and utilized by pets. Additionally, ongoing research explores the role of minerals in preventing or managing common health issues in pets, such as dental problems, bone disorders, and skin conditions. This dedicated research contributes to the development of pet foods that provide comprehensive mineral nutrition, promoting the health and well-being of our furry friends.

Homemade Diets and Mineral Balance

Homemade diets for pets, while often perceived as a more natural and personalized option, come with both pros and cons when considering mineral balance: They do allow for a more tailored approach to overall nutrition. This includes adjusting mineral levels based on factors like age, breed, and health conditions. Homemade diets also allow you to have direct control over the ingredients used, ensuring the quality and source of minerals in your pet's food. This control can be great for dogs with certain health conditions that the commercial food industry may not cater directly to.

However, Achieving the right mineral balance in homemade diets can be challenging, as it requires an in-depth understanding of your pet's specific requirements and how different ingredients contribute to mineral content. An improper balance can lead to health issues, as discussed earlier. Despite your best efforts, it's easy to overlook essential minerals or misjudge their quantities, leading to deficiencies that can harm your pet's health. Homemade diets may lack the variety of ingredients and minerals found in commercial pet foods, which are formulated to provide comprehensive nutrition.

In summary, while homemade diets offer potential advantages in terms of customization and ingredient control, achieving the correct mineral balance can be challenging and poses risks to your pet's health if not done correctly. If you opt for a homemade diet, it's crucial to work closely with a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist to ensure your pet's nutritional needs are met and to monitor for any mineral imbalances or deficiencies. Many pet owners find that a combination of commercial pet food and occasional homemade meals provides the best balance between convenience and nutritional control.

minerals for homemade pet diet


Mineral balance and interactions in companion animal nutrition are essential elements of providing the best possible care for our pets. A well-balanced diet that includes the right minerals in appropriate quantities, while also considering mineral interactions, is essential for promoting health, longevity, and overall happiness in our furry friends. Whether you have a dog, cat, horse, or any other companion animal, understanding and prioritizing mineral balance and interactions in their nutrition is a fundamental step toward ensuring their well-being and enjoying a long and loving relationship with your cherished pet.

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page