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Evaluation of calcium, phosphorus, and selected trace mineral status in commercially available dry foods formulated for dogs

Jason W. GagnéDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

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Joseph J. WakshlagDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

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Sharon A. CenterDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

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Michael A. RutzkeRobert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Ithaca, NY 14853

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Raymond P. GlahnRobert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Ithaca, NY 14853

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, and selenium in several commercially available dry dog foods and compare these with current Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommendations for maintenance of healthy dogs.

Design—Descriptive study.

Sample—45 over-the-counter dry foods formulated for maintenance of healthy dogs (ie, maintenance foods) and 5 therapeutic dry foods formulated for dogs with hepatic or renal disease.

Procedures—Mineral concentrations were measured via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry or inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy and compared with AAFCO-recommended minimum and maximum values.

Results—Most (39/45) maintenance foods were in compliance with AAFCO recommendations for all mineral concentrations evaluated. Calcium concentration was > 7. 1 g/1,000 kcal of metabolizable energy (ME) in 4 of 45 maintenance foods, and phosphorus concentration was > 4.6 g/1,000 kcal ME in 3 of these; 2 maintenance foods contained < 34 mg of zinc/1,000 kcal ME. These values were not within AAFCO-recommended ranges. Calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in foods formulated for dogs with renal disease was above, and copper concentration in foods formulated for dogs with hepatic disease was below, recommended ranges for healthy dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Calcium concentrations exceeded recommended limits in some maintenance foods labeled for all life stages, underscoring the need to feed diets appropriately formulated for specific life stages, particularly for large- and giant-breed puppies. Studies investigating the bioavailability of minerals are necessary before firm recommendations can be made.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, and selenium in several commercially available dry dog foods and compare these with current Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommendations for maintenance of healthy dogs.

Design—Descriptive study.

Sample—45 over-the-counter dry foods formulated for maintenance of healthy dogs (ie, maintenance foods) and 5 therapeutic dry foods formulated for dogs with hepatic or renal disease.

Procedures—Mineral concentrations were measured via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry or inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy and compared with AAFCO-recommended minimum and maximum values.

Results—Most (39/45) maintenance foods were in compliance with AAFCO recommendations for all mineral concentrations evaluated. Calcium concentration was > 7. 1 g/1,000 kcal of metabolizable energy (ME) in 4 of 45 maintenance foods, and phosphorus concentration was > 4.6 g/1,000 kcal ME in 3 of these; 2 maintenance foods contained < 34 mg of zinc/1,000 kcal ME. These values were not within AAFCO-recommended ranges. Calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in foods formulated for dogs with renal disease was above, and copper concentration in foods formulated for dogs with hepatic disease was below, recommended ranges for healthy dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Calcium concentrations exceeded recommended limits in some maintenance foods labeled for all life stages, underscoring the need to feed diets appropriately formulated for specific life stages, particularly for large- and giant-breed puppies. Studies investigating the bioavailability of minerals are necessary before firm recommendations can be made.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Wakshlag (JW37@cornell.edu).