Chelated or Inorganic Minerals: Which Are Better for Dog Health?
Minerals are essential nutrients that play a critical role in the overall health and well-being of dogs. They are required in both macromineral and micromineral forms, with macrominerals needed in larger quantities and microminerals required in smaller amounts.
Proper development and functioning of a dog’s body rely on the presence of specific minerals in the diet. In this article, we will explore the importance of minerals for dogs, their contribution to various areas of health and physiology, and the difference between chelated, organic, and inorganic minerals. Additionally, we will discuss whether chelated or inorganic minerals are the better option for dogs.
What Minerals do Dogs Need in Their Food?
More than 18 mineral elements are believed to be essential for all mammals, including dogs. These minerals can be categorised into macrominerals and microminerals. Macrominerals, required in larger quantities, include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. On the other hand, microminerals, needed in smaller amounts, include copper, zinc, iron, manganese, selenium, and others. Each of these minerals serves specific roles in maintaining a dog’s health and proper physiological functioning.
Macrominerals like calcium and phosphorus are vital for bone health and muscle function. They contribute to the formation and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. Adequate levels of these minerals are crucial, especially during a dog’s growth stages.
Microminerals, such as zinc and iron, play essential roles in various enzymatic processes. Zinc is involved in enzyme activation, immune system function, and thyroid hormone production. Iron is primarily responsible for oxygen transport in the blood through the formation of haemoglobin. These microminerals are essential for overall metabolic processes and optimal cellular functions.
What Areas of Health are Minerals Vital for Dogs?
Minerals are vital for various areas of a dog’s health, and their roles extend beyond simple bone formation. Some of the critical areas where minerals play a significant role include:
Calcium and phosphorus are the key minerals responsible for bone formation and maintaining bone density in dogs. Adequate levels of these minerals are crucial, especially during a dog’s growth stages. A deficiency in these minerals can lead to skeletal abnormalities and weakened bones.
Immune System Function
Zinc is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system in dogs. It plays a role in enzyme, protein, and hormone synthesis, which are all vital for a healthy immune response. A deficiency in zinc can result in a weakened immune system, making dogs more susceptible to infections and diseases.
Blood and Oxygen Transport
Iron is necessary for the formation of haemoglobin, a molecule in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Without sufficient iron, dogs can develop anaemia, leading to weakness, fatigue, and decreased oxygen delivery to tissues.
Minerals such as manganese and copper act as catalysts for various enzymatic reactions in a dog’s body. They are involved in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as the synthesis of important compounds. Enzymes are essential for various physiological functions and cellular processes.
Connective Tissue and Collagen Formation
Copper is critical for connective tissue formation, collagen synthesis, and iron absorption. It is also an essential component of enzymes involved in various physiological functions. Collagen is crucial for maintaining the integrity of tissues, including skin, joints, and blood vessels.
Selenium, along with other minerals like zinc and vitamin E, plays a vital role in antioxidant defense, protecting the body from oxidative stress and free radical damage. Antioxidants help maintain cellular health and prevent cellular damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.
What Areas of Physiological Health does Each Mineral Contribute to?
Zinc is involved in numerous physiological processes, including enzyme activation, immune system function, and thyroid hormone production. It is essential for proper cell growth, wound healing, and reproductive function in breeding animals. Zinc deficiency can lead to a weakened immune system, delayed wound healing, and impaired reproductive health.
Studies have shown that chelated zinc is better absorbed by dogs compared to inorganic zinc. (2, 3, 4) Chelated zinc offers higher bioavailability, meaning dogs can absorb and utilise it more efficiently. Natural sources of zinc in plant-based dog food include chickpeas, fava beans, peas, oats, spinach and quinoa.
Copper is essential for connective tissue formation, collagen synthesis, and iron absorption. It is also involved in the proper functioning of enzymes, such as cytochrome C oxidase and superoxide dismutase. Copper deficiency can lead to bone and joint issues, poor coat colour, and ligament and tendon problems.
Studies have shown that chelated copper is better absorbed by dogs compared to inorganic copper. (5, 6) Chelated copper provides higher bioavailability, ensuring that dogs can utilise this essential mineral more effectively. Natural sources of copper in plant-based dog food include chickpeas, sweet potatoes, oats, quinoa, spinach, and kale.
Iron is primarily responsible for oxygen transport in the blood through the formation of haemoglobin. It is necessary for energy production and certain enzyme activities in the body. Iron deficiency can lead to anaemia, causing symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, and pale gums.
To enhance iron absorption, natural sources of vitamin C, like Baobab which as 6X more Vitamin C than oranges, in the diet are very beneficial. (8) Plant-based dog food ingredients like quinoa, chickpeas, fava beans, spinach, and kale provide natural sources of iron.
Known for its role in building strong bones, but it also performs several other functions in a dog’s body. Calcium helps keep your dog’s nails, teeth, and coat healthy. It is required for digestion, blood clotting, muscle function, hormone release, and proper nerve function.
Chelation does not significantly improve the absorption rates of calcium in the body. However, incorporating plant-based ingredients rich in calcium, such as chickpeas, fava beans, and seaweed, can provide a natural source of this essential mineral in a dog’s diet.
Manganese plays a role in protein and carbohydrate metabolism, enzyme functions, and the formation of a healthy skeletal structure. It also acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body from oxidative stress.
Studies have shown that chelated manganese is better absorbed by dogs compared to inorganic manganese. Chelated manganese offers higher bioavailability, ensuring that dogs can utilise this mineral more effectively. (1, 2) Natural sources of manganese in plant-based dog food include oats, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, spinach, and pineapple.
Selenium is crucial for immune system support, antioxidant activity, joint health, skin, and coat health. It is an essential mineral found in the soil and appears naturally in water and certain foods.
Organic forms of selenium, such as Organic Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-3060, have substantially greater bioavailability, and less toxicity, than inorganic selenium. (7) Combining organic and inorganic forms of selenium can offer a well-rounded approach to meeting a dog’s selenium needs. Oats and Reishi mushroom are examples of natural, organic sources of selenium in plant-based dog food.
What Areas of Physiological Health does Each Mineral Contribute to?
Zinc is involved in numerous physiological processes, including enzyme activation, immune system function, and thyroid hormone production. It is essential for proper cell growth, wound healing, and reproductive function in breeding animals.
Copper is critical for connective tissue formation, collagen synthesis, and iron absorption. It is also an essential component of enzymes involved in various physiological functions.
Iron is primarily responsible for oxygen transport in the blood through the formation of haemoglobin. It is necessary for energy production and certain enzyme activities in the body.
The absorption of Iron in the body is aided significantly by natural sources of Vitamin C in the diet. (8)
Quinoa, chickpeas, fava (broad) beans, spinach and kale provide natural sources of iron in plant-based dog food.
This mineral is essential for bone health, muscle function, nerve transmission, hormone release, and blood clotting. It also contributes to healthy teeth and coat.
Manganese plays a role in protein and carbohydrate metabolism, enzyme functions, and the formation of a healthy skeletal structure.
What are Chelated Minerals?
Chelated minerals are organic forms of essential trace minerals, such as copper, iron, manganese, calcium, and zinc, that are bound to amino acids. In their non-chelated form, these minerals are inorganic. Chelates offer increased bioavailability, meaning dogs can absorb, digest, and utilise them better than inorganic minerals. The process of chelation increases the stability of the mineral, preventing interactions with other substances in the digestive tract that may hinder absorption.
What is the Difference Between Chelated or Organic Minerals, and Inorganic Minerals?
The main difference between chelated or organic minerals and inorganic minerals lies in their bioavailability and stability. Chelated minerals, being organic complexes, have a higher bioavailability, making them easier for dogs to absorb and utilise. On the other hand, inorganic minerals have lower bioavailability and may not be as efficiently absorbed.
Are Chelated or Inorganic Minerals Better for Dogs?
Research and scientific studies have shown that dogs absorb and retain chelated minerals better than inorganic minerals. The utilisation of chelated minerals leads to lower concentrations needed in the dog’s food, which can be beneficial in reducing environmental contamination.
For certain essential trace minerals like zinc, copper, and iron, chelated forms are known to be superior in terms of absorption and utilisation. However, for minerals like calcium and manganese, chelation does not significantly improve their absorption rates. Therefore, in these cases, using inorganic forms may be equally effective.
Minerals are crucial for the proper development and functioning of a dog’s body. While more research is needed to determine the ideal balance of chelated and inorganic minerals in dog food, it is clear that chelated minerals offer several advantages in terms of bioavailability and utilisation. Zinc, copper, and iron are vital minerals known to be better absorbed in chelated form. However, it’s essential to consider a dog’s overall dietary needs and the specific mineral requirements to provide them with a healthy and balanced diet. Additionally, incorporating plant-based ingredients that naturally contain these essential minerals can be an effective and sustainable approach to meeting a dog’s mineral needs. By understanding the importance of chelated minerals and their benefits, dog owners can make informed decisions when selecting the best options for their pet’s diet.
Vegan dog food with chelated minerals
Formulated to deliver the optimum balance of high-quality minerals together with PhytoPlus, a proprietary blend of bioactive ingredients, superfoods, super herbs and botanicals, Bonza is designed to support your dog living its longest, carefree life all the while improving the sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of feeding them.