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Elevated calcium in dogs

Elevated Calcium In Dogs - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment For High Blood Pressure In Dogs

An increased level of calcium in the blood is a condition known as hypercalcemia.

The condition is sometimes asymptomatic and is only discovered in the course of laboratory tests while checking for some other problem. At other times however, symptoms might be present, of which the most frequent ones are excessive thirst and excessive urination, along with a poor appetite. Hypercalcemia is typically a sign of some underlying condition – some of these are mild, temporary problems such as dehydration, but there are also more dangerous medical conditions that can cause severe hypercalcemia.


Elevated calcium in dogs is typically accompanied by a loss of appetite. In addition, the dog may sometimes throw up whenever it does eat any food. On the other hand, you may notice that your dog is constipated – this usually happens if the cause of the hypercalcemia is gastrointestinal tumors.
Usually, you will also notice that the dog is thirsty more frequently, and also urinates a lot more frequently. Sometimes the dog will also be lethargic and weak.

The dog will appear obviously tired and fatigued after even minor exertion. Even mentally, the dog may appear listless and disinterested in activities that he/she normally enjoys. Depending on the cause of the hypercalcemia, there may also be swelling of the lymph nodes, usually in the neck. Elevated calcium can also lead to the development of calcium stones in dogs. High blood pressure in dogs is also often seen along with hypercalcemia.


There are numerous causes of elevated calcium levels in the blood – diseases affecting the skeletal system, tumors (both cancerous and benign), kidney failure, and poisoning can all cause hypercalcemia. Your veterinarian will need to do a thorough investigation in order to pinpoint the exact cause. This will include blood tests, urine tests, a full physical check up, an exploration of the dog's medical history, and any other tests that are deemed necessary. Ionized calcium in dogs is the main cause of damage as well as an important indicator, and your vet will probably test specifically for these levels.


Some of the conditions that cause hypercalcemia are mild and can be treated easily. Others require long term, aggressive treatment, and even this may be unsuccessful, as is the case with cancer when it is discovered too late. An extremely high level of calcium in the blood is a medical emergency and will require hospitalization. You should of course not give calcium supplements to dogs that have elevated calcium levels in the blood.

As a pet owner, you are probably aware of the importance of calcium in your dog’s diet. This essential mineral cannot be produced by your dog’s body and therefore, it needs to be present in the right quantities, in the food that your dog eats. Young dogs need calcium for building healthy bones and older dogs require calcium for maintaining the strength in their bones. The daily caloric intake for each dog varies, depending upon their size. Small dogs usually require more calcium as compared to dogs that belong to larger breeds. Nevertheless, regardless of the size or the breed of your canine, it is absolutely essential that normal calcium in dogs is maintained at all times. Low or elevated calcium levels in dogs can be quite dangerous for your pet.

High calcium in dog’s blood

Contrary to what many pet owners believe, adding a calcium supplement to your dog’s diet will not improve his health drastically or prevent diseases. Instead, it could actually lead to a problem in case the dose of calcium is higher than the daily recommended intake. Thus high calcium in the dog’s blood could be dangerous for your dog.

It is important for pet owners to refrain from adding any calcium supplements to their dogs’ food without prior consultation with a vet. This is because too much of this mineral can lead to hypercalcemia or elevated calcium in the dog’s blood. Some dog food brands also contain more than the recommended doses of calcium, which could lead to higher than the normal levels of calcium. Some people believe that raised calcium in dogs is a healthy sign, but nothing could be further from the truth. Elevated calcium in dogs especially certain breeds, could actually be the symptom of a serious medical disorder.

There is a certain hormone secreted by the parathyroid gland, which is responsible for regulating the appropriate ratios of calcium and phosphorus in the body. If this hormone functions properly, the right amount of calcium is released from the bones, kidneys and the gut, which is then sent to the blood stream. However, factors like pet hyperparathyroidism in dogs could cause the parathyroid gland to malfunction, which could be one of the many causes of elevated calcium levels in dogs. If the levels of calcium are not brought under control as soon as possible, your dog may also develop serious health problems, which could also result in death. .

Low calcium in dogs

Unfortunately, it is quite common for dogs to suffer from calcium deficiency, especially if they follow a diet that mainly includes meat. An all-meat diet will provide your pet with a ratio of 1.0 part of calcium to 18 parts of phosphorus, whereas a healthy ratio is 1.0 or 2.0 parts of calcium to 1.0 parts of phosphorus. Drastic variations in the calcium and phosphorus ratios usually lead to trouble with the bones. Therefore low calcium in dogs will pose another problem that can be difficult to resolve.

Another nutrient that usually influences the absorption of calcium (as well as phosphorus) in the body is Vitamin D. In case there is a deficiency of Vitamin D in your dog’s body, nutrients like calcium will not be of any benefit to him. In case the level of Vitamin D is too high, it could have a toxic effect on your dog’s body. Therefore, apart from calcium, you also need to make sure that your dog is getting an adequate amount of Vitamin D from his daily diet.

Many reputable dog food manufacturers make sure that their food allows the canine to get the required amount of calcium and Vitamin D. By including a regular amount of such food, you can make sure that your dog’s diet remains healthy and nutritious. In such cases, you will not need to add calcium supplements to your dog’s diet, which will further reduce the risks of elevated calcium levels in dogs. These balanced dog food brands are especially helpful for those female dogs that are pregnant or nursing and need additional calcium.

  Submitted on September 13, 2011  

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