Food

Calcium Carbonate: Pet Food Ingredients A to Z

On the 3rd day of the A to Z challenge, we move on to the letter “C”, and we have chosen Calcium Carbonate as our pet food ingredient of the day.

What is Calcium Carbonate?

Calcium Carbonate L

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 pet food labels, include limestone, calcite, aragonite, and chalk.

Why is Calcium Carbonate included in pet food?

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

Common benefits or risks of Calcium Carbonate

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

Risks: 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 when a pet is consuming too much calcium.

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 supplement over and above what is provided in your pet’s food.

Miscellaneous fact 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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate

http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/calcium-supplements/243

http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=dminerals

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Steve Pelletier
Steve Pelletier VP, Food

Steve is an advocate for healthy pet food offerings.