Manganese for dogs, although only needed in small amounts, is an essential mineral for your dog. It’s vital to the growth of your dog, especially during their puppy years, joint health and dozens of other functions in their body. While manganese is present in many of the foods that we feed our dogs, they may need additional supplementation due to the amount of calcium they consume.
Why Do Dogs Need Manganese?
The activation of several enzymes necessary for regular metabolic function depends on manganese. A manganese deficit may manifest as weak tendons and ligaments. This is so because manganese activates the enzymes required to produce collagen, which provides soft tissue its strength.
Collagen is capable of retaining water, which hydrates connective tissue rich in collagen and increases its resiliency. Without manganese, the body cannot produce enough collagen and will struggle to mend wounds and repair soft tissue damage.
Manganese is a crucial trace mineral that is not widely distributed. However, a large number of enzymes depend on it for these crucial functions.
- Bone, cartilage and collagen formation
- Energy production
- Fat metabolism
- Protein metabolism
- Carbohydrate metabolism
- Nerve function
- Brain function
- Reproductive function
- Immune system function
Additionally, manganese plays a crucial role in the production of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is necessary to fend off free radicals.
How Much Manganese Do Dogs Need?
Since dogs are unable to generate manganese, they must consume it in their diet or take a canine manganese supplement. The minimum standard for adult dogs in 2014, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), is 1.25 mg/1000 kcal per day (1.8 mg for puppies).
But the key question is, how did AAFCO come up with these numbers?
AAFCO’s Standards Of Manganese
The National Research Council (NRC) specifications, on which AAFCO bases its specifications, examined the manganese content of dog milk. It was discovered that dog milk has a 0.15 mcg/ml dosage when fed.
Manganese is 75–90% digestible in mother’s milk, according to studies on other species. However, AAFCO based its specifications for commercial diets on synthetic sources of manganese, such as manganese methionone or manganese carbonate, whose bioavailability is below 10%. As a result, AAFCO probably inflated the figure to account for the supplements’ decreased bioavailability.
Processed dog foods (AKA kibble) are high in phytic or oxalic acid, including soy, potatoes, legumes, and grains, which might limit manganese absorption. This is another issue in the bioavailability of manganese in commercial foods. Additionally, unlike dogs on diets high in raw meat, dogs fed high carbohydrate diets will have a more alkaline gut that is less able to absorb minerals like manganese.
Manganese In Whole Foods
Manganese is present in bone at levels that are similar to those seen in liver (1.5 to 2 ppm). AAFCO, however, does not list the nutrients in bone, therefore it is disregarded. The pancreas and testes contain manganese in almost equal amounts. Consequently, adding bone, liver, pancreas, and testicles to meals increases manganese, but probably not to the level required by AAFCO (if your dog is healthy, do you really need to meet AAFCO standards? This is up to you and your holistic veterinarian or nutritionist).
A prey animal’s hair, feathers, and wool contain 10 to 20 ppm manganese as well. Therefore, if they add these in the meal, prey model feeders assume their dogs are getting enough manganese.
So, if a dog consumes a whole food diet with less manganese than what the AAFCO recommends, but with significantly higher bioavailability, is he really manganese deficient?
Because it appears highly improbable that nature would generate a manganese demand in dogs that it couldn’t fulfill, it does appear that AAFCO requirements are inflated.
How Can Dogs Get Enough Manganese?
Dogs get sufficient manganese in their diets by offering a diet that most closely resembles their instinctive diet. DIY proponents who use a range of premium natural components are on the right track. And, by including liver in their dog’s bowl, they offer a highly bioavailable source of manganese. Keep in mind, if you choose to add liver, it should not go over 3-5% of their overall diet.
In the wild, wolves and coyotes didn’t take any vitamins or trace minerals from the store, yet they survived for millions of years.
Raw beef liver, which contains roughly 0.40 mg of manganese per 100g, is the animal protein with the greatest manganese content. You would need to offer your dog 10,000g, or 22 pounds, of beef muscle meat in order for them to consume that amount.
Iron, phosphorus, and calcium can reduce the absorption of manganese, further complicating matters. Additionally, puppies and young dogs require more for growth. Another factor is the dog’s breed. Breeds used for sledding, such as the Malamute, have problems absorbing minerals and require more to make up for this.
Sources Of Manganese For Dogs
A list of popular food sources with sufficient manganese levels was developed by pet food formulator Steve Brown, author of Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet. You can make any necessary adjustments based on these feeding requirements, which will give you 1g of manganese.
- Mussels: 29g
- Ginger: 3g
- Kelp: 18g
- Hemp seeds: 18g
- Pumpkin seeds: 21g
- Almonds: 46g
- Spirulina: 53g
- Pineapple: 108g
- Spinach: 111g
- Raspberries: 149g
- Kale: 152g
- Blackberries: 155g
- Oysters: 300g (10.5 oz)
- Beef liver: 323g (11 oz)
- Turkey liver, raw: 338g (12 oz)
- Sardines in water: 485g (17 oz)
- Beef heart: 2857g (6.3 lbs!!)
- Beef, ground, raw: 10,000g (22 lbs!!)
(28g = 1 oz)
You’ll also find small amounts of manganese in these dog-friendly foods:
- Green tripe: 1 oz contains .37 mg
- Seeds like chia, flax
- Green leafy vegetables
Manganese Deficiency In Dogs
Manganese insufficiency is uncommon, experts agree. But if it does, it may result in weak joint development and cause joint problems like hip dysplasia and tears in the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), among others. Lack of manganese causes disc degeneration, aberrant bone and cartilage formation, and decreased bone mineral density. Additionally, manganese is necessary for the manufacture of chondroitin sulfate, which is a component of cartilage.
Because manganese is absorbed slowly, it can take weeks or even months before a deficit or positive effects become apparent. By that time, the initial sign may be weakness or injury. But as one 2008 study shown, manganese supplements can boost collagen production, bone mineral density, and bone formation.
It’s unlikely that your dog will experience a deficiency if you feed them a whole food raw diet that contains liver and/or some of the earlier mentioned foods high in manganese.
Glyphosate In Dog Food
Despite manufacturers boosting kibble by 300–400% more than the recommended levels of vitamins and minerals, there is one more factor to consider when feeding kibble: glyphosate.
It has been demonstrated that the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) decreases manganese uptake. Researchers, including Stephanie Seneff of MIT, discovered that glyphosate chelates (removes) manganese and that cows fed GM Roundup-Ready had drastically low manganese levels, having an adverse effect on the liver, gut microbes, and neurological function.
In addition to the detrimental impacts on health, this implies that some plant products used in dog food, namely grains and legumes, may have less manganese than suggested by nutrient analyses.
If you feed non-organic, GMO produce or meat from factory-farmed animals, glyphosate may also be an issue.
Signs Of Manganese Deficiency
Manganese deficiency is usually most evident in newborn and young animals. Symptoms of manganese deficiency are:
- Poor growth and slow growth rate
- Skeletal abnormalities
- Reproductive failure
- Ataxia (loss of balance)
- Connective tissue and joint dysfunction
- Cruciate ligament weakness and tears
Signs you won’t readily see include:
- Abnormal blood clotting
- Reduced sex hormone production
- Reduced calcium absorption
- Poor blood sugar metabolism
Can Dogs Get Too Much Manganese?
It’s typically very difficult for dogs that are fed only raw meat to consume too much manganese. However, if you give dogs an excessive amount of manganese in supplement form, manganese poisoning is a risk. According to a 2017 study, too much synthetic manganese can be hazardous.
The brain, liver, pancreas, and reproductive system are just a few of the organs that might suffer damage from an excessive amount of manganese, along with other developmental issues. In domestic animals, signs of manganese toxicity might include stunted growth, decreased appetite, and impaired brain function.
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