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How to Add human vitamins & minerals to balance a raw meat dog diet so it's complete like aafco recommends.

human vitamins for dogsThis article looks at how you can easily add one or more human vitamin tablets to a raw diet to be called "complete and balanced". In my dog's case, I only need to add half a vitamin & mineral tablet making the cost very reasonable.

This article looks at what minimum and maximum levels of vitamins or minerals are recommended and how you can achieve a perfect raw diet using human vitamins or even just to supplement your manufactured dog food diet. THIS is the final part of the raw diet (evolutionary diet) jigsaw puzzle.

When I originally started looking at a raw diet, proponents were adamant that it provided all of the necessary nutrients that a dog needs. This was and still is claimed without any scientific backing.

Then when reading Dog nutrition books and other dog forums, I was advised not to feed a raw diet because besides safety concerns (proper food handling) it was not 'balanced and complete'. Raw feeders the world over say that AAFCO standards are prohibitively high to ensure that only manufactured dog food can meet the standard, and indeed from analysis of the brands out there, they all need a mass of vitamins and minerals to meet the aafco standards.

And of course many manufactured dog food brands have been recalled over the last ten years, so the safety concerns are in fact completely opposite to reality.

So I looked for dog minerals and vitamins that could be used with a raw diet but the vast majority are made for dogs who are on a manufactured dog food diet, so they should already be meeting the standard and hence the strength of dog supplements tend to be very low. ALSO specifically made vitamins and mineral supplements for a raw diet tend to be very expensive.

This has lead to my analysis of the use of human vitamins and minerals (greater supplier competition keeping quality up and price down) for use as a supplement for a carnivore dog diet. And yes, a balanced diet (as defined by aafco) is achievable.

For those scientifically minded, and who want to do their own analysis, this is the conversion factors I used in my spreadsheets to find out HOW MUCH human vitamins and mineral tablets needed to be added to my dog's diet.

THE METHOD OF CONVERING mg (in human supplements) to AAFCO units

This is the method required to convert standard vitamin and mineral units on most human multi-vitamins. The example given is for a popular human multivitamin.

Converting Blackmore's vitamins

Example:  %

AFFCO requirement  Adult maintenance  Magnesium  = 0.04% min to 0.3 %   max  Dry food

blackmore's example tablet contains 10 mg Magnesium

For my 20kg dog his energy requirement for my meat based diet is around 980 Kcal/kg

This equates to about 500g of meat, and 180g dry food equivalent.

Adding 10 mg Magnesium to 180g (dry food) is equivalent to:  (10 mg /180,000)  x 100 %

=  0.0056 %  (Note this does not meet aafco minimum standard by itself, but when added to the meat it does)

 

Example Converting Human minerals (mg) to mg/kg units

blackmore's example tablet contains 1mg Manganese

AFFCO Manganese  requirement  Adult maintenance =  5mg/kg Dry food.

For my 20kg dog his energy requirement for my meat based diet is around 980 Kcal/kg

This equates to about 500g of meat, and 180g dry equivalent.

Adding 1 mg Manganese to 180g is equivalent to:     1 mg  x 1000/180 mg/kg

=  5.5 mg/kg (meets aafco minimum standard without any food added)

How to work out how much human vitamins and minerals to add to a raw dog diet

In previous articles I have shown how to calculate the total energy requirements of your dog, and how to find the nutrients available in a raw meat diet.

This diet was found to only be lacking a few nutrients (as described by the aafco standard)

The example values in the table below is a basic raw dog diet of: 50% meat (beef chuck steak) + 16% lamb heart + 8% beef liver + 11% Lamb Kidney + 7% chicken Syuncsacrum (bone)

I used a blackmore's human vitamin and mineral tablet as an example of how to balance a raw diet, because it is

  • relatively complete (most of the vitamins and minerals required by aafco)
  • high strength,
  • reasonable price product.

You can of course choose any vitamin that you like, assuming that you follow the guidelines, as summarise d in the conclusions.

The Nutrient table columns explanation:

The table below shows how close a raw meat and offal + bone diet is to the aafco minimum and maximum nutrition requirements. It also shows the affect of adding HALF of a human vitamin and mineral tablet.

THE RED value indicate where a nutrient is UNDER the minimum aafco requirement

1

2

2A

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

 

AAFCO Min.

AAFCO Max

aafco Units

Meat+Offal

Blackmores Sustained Release Multi + Antioxidants

Blackmore AFFCO equiv

HALF a tab

Meat + Blackmore

Diet + or - the Min

Calcium

0.6

2.5

%

1.14

17.4

0.01

0.00

1.15

0.55

Phosphorus

0.5

1.6

%

1.62

8.442

0.00

0.00

1.62

1.12

Ca:P ratio

0.04

0.08

0

0.70

0

0.00

0.00

0.70

0.66

Potassium

0.6

 

%

0.72

5

0.00

0.00

0.72

0.12

Sodium

0.06

 

%

0.22

0

0.00

0.00

0.22

0.16

Chloride

0.09

 

%

0.00

0

0.00

0.00

0.00

-0.09

Magnesium

0.04

0.3

%

0.05

10

0.01

0.00

0.05

0.01

Ironc

80

3000

mg/kg

108.17

5

25.78

12.89

121.06

41.06

Copperd

7.3

250

mg/kg

11.08

0.2

1.03

0.52

11.59

4.29

Manganese

5

0

mg/kg

0.53

1

5.16

2.58

3.10

-1.90

Zinc

120

1000

mg/kg

132.41

6

30.94

15.47

147.88

27.88

Iodine

1.5

50

mg/kg

0.00

0.1

0.52

0.26

0.26

-1.24

Selenium

0.11

2

mg/kg

1.43

0.065

0.34

0.17

1.60

1.49

Vitamins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vitamin A - Retinol

5000

250000

IU/kg

0.00

0.75

12879

6440

6440

1440

Vitamin D

500

5000

IU/kg

0.00

0.005

1031.35

516

516

16

Vitamin E

50

1000

IU/kg

0.00

20.7

160.12

80

80

30

Thiamine B1

1

 

mg/kg

5.14

30

154.70

77

82

81

Riboflavin B2

2.2

 

mg/kg

17.23

10

51.57

26

43

41

Pantothenic acid B5

10

 

mg/kg

38.94

28.9

149.03

75

113

103

Niacin

11.4

 

mg/kg

112.93

30

154.70

77

190

179

Pyridoxine B6

1

 

mg/kg

9.02

30

154.70

77

86

85

Folic Acid

0.18

 

mg/kg

0.46

0.4

2.06

1.03

1.49

1.31

Vitamin B12

0.022

 

mg/kg

0.76

0.05

0.26

0.13

0.89

0.87

Choline

1200

 

mg/kg

1610

0.05

0.26

0.13

1610

410

 

NOTES:

Column 1: The Vitamin or nutrient

Column 2: The aafco minimum value for adult maintenance diet.

Column 2A:  The aafco MAX value

Column 3: Aafco Units (the human nutrients need to be converted to these for comparison)

Col 4:  What the Meat + Offal base diet provides (in my example diet)

The diet is composed of  the components described above - more details can be found at:  xxxxx

By comparing The meat nutrients column with column 2 and 2 A (affco requirements) you can see what minerals or vitamins this simple raw diet is "apparently" missing.

Col 5:  These are the raw mg values of the Blackmore's product

Col 6 The Blackmore's values converted to aafco units

Col 7: The blackmore's values, in aafco units, multiplied by HALF a tablet

Col 8: Meat Plus Blackmores nutrient to TOTAL

Col 8: Show if the diet (Meat Plus Blackmores) is above or below the minimum aafco standard.  a RED value indicates it is under the aafco requirement

 

DISCUSSION

From the article   http://healthydogtreats.com.au/dog-treats-articles/131-dog-food-vitamin.html and the above table you can see that

Chloride, Manganese, Iodine, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Vitamin E are below the aafco standard.

If they are within 20% of the standard, the 20% added kibble (that I use to supply moderately fermentable fibers) will have them meet the standard.

Chloride can be taken care of from salt in dog treats (sodium chloride) and if it is iodises salt then it can help with two of the nutrients.

The other nutrients are of more concern.

Manganese: Adding half a tablet gets the diet to 2mg/kg (still 3 below the 5 mg/kg requirement). Note that the blackmores tablet itself is over 5 mg/kg. So if the tablet was added whole rather than half Manganese would reach the minimum required.

Iodine :  There is almost no iodine in the example raw meat diet. The aafco requirement is 1.5 mg/kg  and a whole tablet contributes only 0.5 mg/kg - so we would need three vitamin tablets to satisfy the iodine requirement.

Blackmore's alone in half a tablet meets the Vitamin A, D and E requirements.

My initial issue with the human grade supplement is that the vitamin B values are all much higher than the minimum aafco requirement, but there is no maximum value. The reason is that the vitamin B series are water soluble and excess should be flushed by the kidneys without causing damage.

Of course there are many other vitamins and minerals not included in the table, because they are considered not essential (by aafco).

You can analyse any other vitamin brands that you want and see if it provides a closer fit to the aafco deficiencies.

What nutrients do manufactures dog foods add?

Below are the nutrient sources of the vitamins and minerals that are missing or below the aafco requirements in the sample raw meat diet, and how the dog food manufacturers reach the standards.

Nutrient Required

(aafco)

EUKANUBA ADULT MAINTENANCE

 

Advacnce: Adult Total Wellbeing All Breed, Chicken

Science Diet - Adult Advanced Fitness Original

Chloride

Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride

Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride

Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride

Idodine

Potassium Iodide

Potassium Iodide

Iodized Salt

Manganese

Manganese Sulfate, Manganous Oxide

N/A

Manganous Oxide

Vitamin A

Vitamin A Acetate

Vitamin A

Vitamin A Supplement

Vitamin D

Vitamin D3 Supplement

Vitamin D

Vitamin D3 Supplement

Vitman E

Vitamin E Supplement,

Vitamin E

Vitamin E Supplement

 

You can  see that each manufacturer is sufficiently vague about the specific type of vitamin type added. Different variations of Vitamin A are said to have quite different efficiencies.

There is also a trend for some multivitamin and dog food manufacturers to use chelated minerals which they believe are better used by humans and dogs. Chelation describes a particular way that ions and molecules bind metal ions. This in theory might overcome some issues that people say 'synthetic' (or non natural product derived mineral compounds) have in being properly digested. Not all dog food or human multivitamins are 'natural' and hence why raw proponents suggest that natural food is better than food that requires a mass of multivitamins to be added.

Most manufactured dog foods require a mass of vitamins to be added to achieve the aafco standard. You can see for the minerals in the dog kibble brands are essentially the same compounds as found in the human vitamin and minerals.

human vitamins for dogsCONCLUSION

The biggest debate by the raw feeders is whether aafco should be considered at all in a raw diet. Initially I was very much tempted to ignore their tables, because they seemed to be created by dog food manufactures, and relate to the harder to digest manufactured dog food (grain) meals.

I only added kibble to my dogs diet (20%) so I could obtain fibre to firm his stools and add moderately fermentable fibres for intestine health. However as the kibble I add is aafco correct, then the raw meat diet really only needs to meet 80% of any of the table's minimum levels.

The sample diet I used was based on beef as the main meat ingredient, plus offal and bone.

Raw Bone is very important for providing the required Calcium levels in a raw diet. Dog food manufacturers use such compounds as Calcium Iodate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Pantothenate, Calcium Carbonate, etc to address the calcium short fall in a manufactured dog food diet.

It is true that the aafco standard does not address all of the amino acids, minerals or vitamins that a dog will eat. For instance they only provide standards for Vitamin A, B, D and E. Not Vitamin C or K or H (Biotin ) etc.

Be aware that if you feed inadequate (poor quality, or poorly manufactured or stored kibble) protein (amino acids), such as some brands grains,  then both the essential amino acids (those in the table) and the non essential (This are not listed in the aafco table because they are supposed to be produced by the dog's body, but they might not be able to be created if the dog diet lacks sufficient building block material) will still cause malnutrition in your dog.

NOTE that raw meat is a massively superior protein source to ANY vegetable matter.

Surprisingly, from all of the manufacturers discussions about raw diets being inadequate, only Chloride, Manganese, Iodine, Vtiamin A, D and E appears to be below the aafco standards in a raw diet (for this example).

If you were feeding your dog more chicken, pork or another meat, or substantially different offal, you would be well advised to work out what the total nutrient mix of your dog's diet actually is.

I created a previous article looking at using commercial dog minerals and vitamins, but few are adequate or affordable for a raw diet.

This article shows that for a 20 kg do on the example raw diet that half a blackmore's (Sustained Release Multi + Antioxidants 2013) tablet resolves the Vitamin A, D and E issues.

Iodised Chloride (from iodised table salt often present in dog treats) can be used to 'fix' the iodine and the chloride (aafco) short fall.

This following link looks at the signs of dog vitamin and mineral deficiencies:

http://healthydogtreats.com.au/dog-treats-articles/131-dog-food-vitamin.html

Iodine deficiency,  iodine is " usually added to food via fish and iodized salt. Iodine deficiency results in lower than normal production of thyroid hormones. Symptoms of this 'hypothyroidism' include poor growth, hair loss, weight gain in older animals, weakness, and some behavioural changes such as irritability."

Regarding Chloride there is only one major study (Felder et al, 1987). Biochemical signs of Cl- deficiency include hypochloremia, hypokalemia and metabolic alkalosis. Weight loss can occur, weakness and ataxia develops (because Potassium becomes depleted).  ataxia  = lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements.

Manganese Deficiency. In a raw diet most manganese is provided by the liver of animals such as beef liver (4.4 mg/kg). Because the main muscle meats are low in manganese it is difficult for a raw meat diet to supply adequate amounts.

Manganese is essential for the proper use of protein and carbohydrate by the body, reproduction, and the action of many enzymes in the body responsible for the production of energy and making fatty acids. Manganese is present in whole grains, seeds, nuts, eggs, and green vegetables.

So while adding whole grains etc may seem to solve the manganese deficiencies, by reducing the proportion of meat products in the diet, you run the risk of depleting amino acids and minerals that are in good supply in those parts.

That is why adding manganese as a compound (like many kibble manufacturers do) is often a preferable method of meeting minimum requirements (see the table in this article).

It is noted that in this sample diet that meat and offal only provide near 0.5 mg/ kg of Manganese - well below the 5.0 mg/kg required. By adding ONLY One of these blackmore tablets, the equivalent of 5 mg/kg for my 20 kg dog's diet would be added.

The reason that I only add half a tablet is that I had a concern of adding too much vitamin B series. Adding half a tablet would provide a Manganese shortfall (says aafco) of about 2 mg/kg. But using 20% kibble means that you only have to achieve 80% of any mineral minimum aafco level, so the "deficiency" is closer to 1 mg/kg (20% below the aafco minimum).

Vitamin B series was the largest concern for adding a human vitamin / mineral tablet. You will see that adding half a Blackmore's will often exceed individual Vitamin B minimum levels by a factor of TEN.

I have been advised that as there is NO maximum vitamin B values and vitamin B is water soluble, it should be easily flushed from a dog's system in the urine (does not accumulate to toxic levels).

It should be noted that this analysis of human vitamins and minerals to supplement a dog's raw diet was performed to find a practical solution of providing at least the minimum nutrient requirements (as defined by aafco) to my dog. If you do or don't believe in aafco requirements (all kibble feeders should be default believe in them) then it doesn't matter as adding a half tablet you achieve a safe minimum level.

If you want to add any kind of supplement to your dogs diet, you are well advised to consult your vet first. If they disagree with any of this analysis I have performed here or would like to see the original spreadsheets, please let me know. I request that if you have any information that would improve the accuracy of this analysis that you you send me any specifically science reference or details so I can improve the information here for others (and myself).

This article and my life's work is for improving dog health and happiness, not about my ego!

 

Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link tohttp://www.healthydogtreats.com.au

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