Minerals for healthy animals
sources: Greenpet

Minerals are essential for optimum health for all living species. Requirements differ from one species to the next, but they all need adequate amounts of each mineral for healthy bodily functions. Mineral deficiencies can lead to disease and so can mineral excesses. So getting the correct amount in the right ratios is the key to optimum health. Most natural diets will provide these minerals in appropriate balances, but with commercially prepared diets, this can cause imbalances.

Dogs and cats fed on commercial food often suffer from severe imbalances; because it is impossible to provide all the nutrients required in a man made form. This would be like us living on tinned food and dry biscuits while taking multi-vitamin pills. We all no that you need to eat healthy food to be in good health, taking lots of vitamin pills is not the answer.

Most farmers know of the importance of adequate mineral levels in their livestock. They can see the benefits to their health when mineral licks are placed out for stock to take. Better health is visible when these extra minerals are provided. Most Australian soils are mineral deficient, and especially so from the wide use of super phosphate, pesticides and herbicides which cause further degradation. It is worth while having your soil tested, to provide the appropriate minerals back to the soil, which will result in, improved pasture and less disease amongst stock.

Symptoms of mineral deficiencies may show up as rough, harsh coat, flaky skin, eating dirt, poor growth, recurring disease, fence chewing, de-barking trees, unhealthy skin, tooth decay and much more. Below is a list of the most common minerals and why they are needed for healthy animals.

CALCIUM – Is required for bones, teeth, muscular and nervous systems & for heart function and blood clotting. It should be provided in the correct balance with magnesium. Diets high in phosphorus require extra calcium to balance this.
Natural sources include~
Dolomite, bones, bonemeal, chamomile, raw green vegetables or other green feed, molasses, seeds, nuts and whole grains.

MAGNESIUM – Due to modern farming methods this mineral is often lacking from the use of artificial fertilisers and from drinking fluoridated water. It is needed for energy production, for the nervous system, protein synthesis, muscle tone, heart action, bones and many other bodily functions.
Natural sources include~
S eaweed, bran, wheat germ, dandelion, soybean, garlic, raw green leafy vegetables, alfalfa, green barley, dolomite, whole grains & sesame seeds.

PHOSPHORUS – Is essential for healthy growth, bones and teeth in balance with calcium and magnesium, for brain and nervous system, carbohydrate metabolism and acid/alkaline balance in the blood.
Natural sources include~
Oats, bran, black sunflower seeds, wheat germ, sea weed, raw meat, fish, eggs, dairy foods, whole grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit.

POTASSIUM – This is also lost due to chemical fertilisers, and excess salinity in the soil. Maintains acid/alkaline balance in blood, assists heart action, hormone production, muscle contraction, kidney function & the nervous system.
Natural sources include~
Apple cider vinegar, seaweed, banana, green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, black sunflower seeds, parsley, nuts, whole grains, raw milk.

SODIUM – Most commercial foods contain salt (sodium chloride), excess common salt depletes potassium levels. Deficiency is rare, but it is still an important mineral in a natural form. It is needed in correct balance with potassium and chlorine for electrolyte balance, regulation of body fluids, gastric acid and the transportation of nutrients in the blood.
Natural sources include~
Kelp, celery, rock salt, dulse & other seaweeds, watermelon, ocean fish, asparagus.

CHLORINE – Is essential for production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, protein digestion, liver function and mineral assimilation.
Natural sources include~
Kelp, ocean fish, oats, avocado, watercress, asparagus, and pineapple.

SULPHUR – This mineral is essential for the skin, hair and nails. It is also a good blood cleanser and antiseptic. Animals that are deficient in sulphur generally suffer from lice, fleas and other external parasites.
Natural sources include~
Fish meat, garlic, watercress, and raw eggs.

COPPER – Necessary for the absorption of iron, protein metabolism, bones, nerves, brain, connective tissue and skin. Poor coat colour may be a sign of copper deficiency. Dark coloured animals require more copper than light coloured animals. Protects against internal parasites. Many cases of anaemia are due to inadequate copper levels rather than iron deficiency itself.
Natural sources include~
Kelp, rosehips, garlic, parsley, dandelion, red clover, organ meat, and whole grains.

IRON – For healthy red blood cells, it is the oxygen carrier of the blood. Adequate copper, folic acid, vitamin E and vitamin C are necessary for iron absorption.
Natural sources include~
Seaweed, bran, oats, barley, dandelion, parsley, organ meat, Spirulina, red meat, fish, egg yolk, whole grains, green leafy vegetables.

BORON – Needed for assimilation of calcium and magnesium. It is needed only in small amounts and an excess is toxic. Artificial fertilisers cause imbalances of this mineral in the soil. Creaking joints may be a symptom of boron deficiency.
Natural sources include~
S eaweed, garlic, and apple cider vinegar.

IODINE – This is essential for healthy thyroid function & skin. Excess causes similar symptoms to deficiency. Excessive feeding of lucerne, clover or soybeans may lead to iodine deficiency.
Natural sources include~
Ocean fish, seaweed, kelp, fish liver oil, egg yolk, pineapple, pears, watercress.

COBALT – Deficiency is rare, but symptoms may include cold ears, lack of appetite, susceptibility to cold and unwillingness to move. Anaemia may result.
Natural sources include~
Seaweed and rosehips.

SELENIUM – Is needed for healthy growth, muscles and fertility. It is also an antioxidant, assists liver regeneration, slows ageing and protects against mercury poisoning. It is destroyed by cooking and food processing and chemical fertilisers.
Natural sources include~
G arlic, seaweed, kelp, seafood, milk, eggs, asparagus, most vegetables, and whole grains.

ZINC – Is necessary for healthy reproductive function in both males and females. It also assists enzymatic processes, formation of RNA and DNA, wound healing, prostate gland, immune function, healthy eyes and skin. Long term use of steroid, penicillin or diuretic drugs increases the requirement for zinc. High protein or grain diets also decrease the availability of zinc absorption. Zinc is required for proper utilisation of vitamin A. Excess zinc inhibits the absorption of copper and can lead to copper deficient anaemia.
Natural sources include~
Seaweed, wheat germ, organ meat, chicken, oats, kelp, oysters, milk, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin and sunflower seeds

MANGANESE – Is necessary for protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Nourishes nerves, brain, muscles, bone and cartilage. Reproductive system, immune system and pituitary gland.
Natural sources include~
Raw egg yolk, kelp wheat germ, green leafy vegetables, apricots, and apple cider vinegar and whole grains.

SILICA – For strong bones, teeth, hair, nails immunity and respiratory system.
Natural sources include~
Alfalfa, kelp, oats, millet, apples, strawberries, grapes, beets, nuts and seeds.

FLUORINE - Essential for strong bones and teeth, and protects against infection.
Natural sources include~
Oats, dairy foods, carrot, garlic, green vegetables, and naturally hard water.

CHROMIUM – Is a co-factor with insulin in removing glucose from the blood.
Natural sources include~
Whole grains, mushrooms, spirulina.

The best way to find out if your dog, cat, horse or farm animals have mineral imbalances is by hair mineral analysis. This is the most accurate way of testing the levels of minerals in the body tissues.

Once you know which minerals are deficient or in excess, then it is best to use natural food sources to correct the imbalance. Synthetic minerals and supplements only contribute to further imbalances in the long term.

When using natural foods rich in particular nutrients there is no chance of overdosing as with synthetic forms. Tissue salts can also be used for minor deficiencies safely and effectively.

Prevention is always easier than cure, so by providing a natural species appropriate diet for your animals, many of the common deficiency diseases can be avoided.

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