Why Dogs and Cats Need Magnesium

Why Dogs and Cats Need Magnesium

Learn what role magnesium plays in your dog’s or cat’s health and when your fur baby might need more of this mineral in their diet.

Dogs and cats require many of the same vitamins and minerals as humans, including magnesium. They need this mineral for energy, bone and muscle health, protein synthesis, and more. As such, it’s good to understand how this mineral plays a role in the health of your dog or cat. Let’s explore why animals need magnesium and how you can sneak more into your pup’s or kitty’s diet when your veterinarian recommends it.

What Does the Body Need Magnesium For?

Muscle and nerve function: Helps regulate muscle contractions and supports the transmission of nerve impulses.

Energy production: Involved in the process of converting food into energy. It plays a key role in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which provides energy to cells.

Bone health: Works with calcium and vitamin D to support bone density and strength.

Heart health: Involved in maintaining a regular heartbeat. It helps regulate the contraction and relaxation of the heart muscles and supports overall cardiovascular function.

Blood pressure regulation: Influences the dilation and constriction of blood vessels.

Blood sugar control: Involved in insulin function and helps regulate blood sugar levels. It contributes to the metabolism of carbohydrates.

DNA and RNA synthesis: Essential for the synthesis of DNA and RNA, the genetic material in cells.

Protein synthesis: Involved in the synthesis of proteins, which are essential for the structure and function of cells.

Electrolyte balance: Helps maintain electrolyte balance in the body, working alongside other minerals like sodium, potassium, and calcium.

Nervous system function: Helps to ensure nerve transmission, thereby playing a role in muscle coordination.

Hormone secretion: Involved with the secretion and function of hormones.

Food Sources of Magnesium

Most commercial dog and cat diets are formulated with adequate magnesium levels to meet the needs of most animals, meaning your fur baby is likely getting enough in their diet. However, some health issues can cause magnesium deficiency. This can lead to muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat, and nervous system problems. If your veterinarian suggests increasing your dog’s or cat’s magnesium intake, there are plenty of foods rich in this vital mineral, including:

  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Bone broth
  • Whole grains
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Salmon

Magnesium Supplements

Animals with certain diseases, such as epilepsy, heart disease, or diabetes, may require magnesium supplements if your veterinarian recommends them. Magnesium glycinate is a form of magnesium supplement where the magnesium is bound to glycine, an amino acid. It’s becoming a more popular supplement because the addition of glycine may make the magnesium more bioavailable and less likely to cause digestive upset.


Adequate magnesium levels are crucial for your dog’s or cat’s health. In some cases, your vet might recommend magnesium supplementation, which can be done with whole foods or supplements. However, excessive magnesium intake can lead to adverse effects, so it’s important to follow recommended dosages.

Animal Wellness is North America’s top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.

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