Ingredients A to Z: Calcium Carbonate in Dog Food

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Vitamins and JackBefore we begin today’s “C” entry in our Ingredients A to Z series, we wanted to share a statistic on out previous “B” post on biotin.  We ran the numbers searched for “biotin” in our food database and found that biotin was an ingredient in 79% of all dog foods!  That is one popular ingredient.


Today we are on the letter C and are featuring calcium carbonate as our ingredient.


What is calcium carbonate?

According to Wikipedia, calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, coal balls, pearls, and eggshells.  It is commonly used as a calcium supplement or as an antacid.

Common names for calcium carbonate

The common names for calcium carbonate, although not often used on dog food labels, include limestone, calcite, aragonite, and chalk.

Why is calcium carbonate included in dog food?

Calcium carbonate is added to dog food for 3 primary reasons.  First, it is an inexpensive source of calcium, which is an essential mineral for dogs.  Second, it is used as a preservative.  Thirdly, it is used as a color retention agent.

Common benefits or risks of calcium carbonate

Calcium itself is a mineral that provides many health benefits including the building and maintenance of bones and teeth.  Calcium is helps to maintain a regular heartbeat and helps muscular growth and normal blood clotting.

Despite the many benefits of calcium carbonate, too much calcium can cause health problems. Other key minerals, such as iron, magnesium and zinc can become depleted in the body. There is also a linkage between excessive calcium supplementation and the development of canine hip dysplasia.   Check with your vet if you are considering a calcium supplementation over and above what is provided in your dog’s food.

Miscellaneous facts about calcium carbonate

Calcium needs magnesium in order to be absorbed in the body.  Low magnesium levels could also lead to calcium deficiency.

Calcium carbonate is often used in toothpaste as a mild abrasive.

Sources and further reading

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  1. SlimDoggy,
    This series is brilliant! Ma is a former nurse so she knows how important the electrolytes, like calcium, are for proper muscle and nerve function. I am so glad you are educating everyone, one ingredient at a time!!! Keep up the GREAT work!
    Your pal,
    Oz the Terrier recently posted…gad-Zuke’s! I Love These Treats: Product Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  2. One of the reasons we went with premade raw food, is because I couldn’t find bone meal locally. Today, I know plenty of places that sale bone meal. What freaks me out is that you can buy bone meal in the gardening department of hardware stores – not the same, but I’m curious how many people make this mistake. Blog Post!!!

    Thanks for sharing. I’m going to look for this in pet food ingredients.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Protection Against Dog Attacks with Sabre Protector Deterrent SprayMy Profile

  3. We saw a cat once at work that was only being fed chicken and that poor kitty had a lack of calcium and had no density to his bones at all.
    joann stancer recently posted…Follow-Up FridayMy Profile

  4. Interesting information. Thanks for this series.

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