Friday, March 20, 2015

Magnesium for Dogs

~Before you read this article, please remember that I am just writing what I have read and researched. I do not have a medical degree in anything. I have tried to reference my work by highlighting areas of the article and providing some references at the bottom.~

 Magnesium is extremely important for the body. It plays a key role in a healthy immune system and the bodies ability to produce ATP. It is second only to Potassium as the most abundant substance in cells. Humans usually get magnesium through their diet. But by some estimates, up to 80% of Americans are not getting enough magnesium. More and more, people are turning to Transdermal Magnesium Therapy (TMT) for supplementation. Basically, TMT is a really fancy word for absorption through the skin. TMT seems to be the most efficient way for the body to absorb magnesium. It also provides the least amount of discomfort. Taking a magnesium supplement orally can cause intestinal upset and does not provide as much absorption. Getting magnesium intravenous can be painful and expensive. TMT is convenient and can be done at home through a magnesium cream or oil spray. You can buy the creams or oils online or make them yourself. They should be made with Magnesium chloride flakes. TMT can cause a slight tingling/ stinging feeling during application. Some people experience it, some people don't . From what I have read online, some people leave it on for 20 minutes and then wash it off. Others, just leave it.

But, can dogs benefit from Magnesium supplementation the same way humans can? I didn't find a lot of reliable information on the subject, but what I did find pointed towards the answer of "yes". Especially, for dogs struggling with cancer. According to Demian Dressler, DVM one of the authors from The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, ATP is the body's energy molecule. If the body is low on ATP, the body will have less energy to fight cancer. In addition, cancer lowers magnesium levels in the body. When magnesium levels are low, dogs that are going through Chemotherapy with the drug cisplatin are more prone to suffer from kidney damage. Dr. Dressler also pointed out that there seems to be a double edged sword with magnesium. If the body has too much magnesium, it increases the odds of cancer development. Bill Reddy, LAc, Dipl. Ac. states in his article from Acupuncture Today, that excess magnesium is usually excreted from the body UNLESS there is impaired kidney function or severe renal insufficiency.

 Signs of a magnesium deficiency in your dog can be:
  • Restlessness
  • Hyper-reactivity
  • Incoordination
  • Tetany - Stiff legs and neck after a fall.
  • Convulsions, coma and death
  • Sometimes animals can be found dead without any observed signs.
You can supplement your dog's nutrition with foods that are high in magnesium: Fish, dark leafy greens, brown rice and plain non - fat yogurt. I have also read that more and more humans are using TMT on their dogs through applying a magnesium cream to their back paws for absorption. You can also use it to alleviate hot spots. But, it should not be applied to an open wound. Instead, you would want to rub the cream around the wound. Giving your dog a "paw bath" of warm water and Epson Salt, which contains magnesium, after a long day of exercise to alleviate sore muscles and help stimulate blood flow for recovery. I wouldn't recommend spraying a dog with magnesium oil. I doubt there would be much absorption this way because of the fur. As a pet owner, I would recommend discussing magnesium supplementation with your veterinarian. 

References (AKA some really good articles): 

Achieving Optimal Health Through Transdermal Therapy,

A pilot study to determine the impact of transdermal magnesium treatment on serum levels and whole body CaMg ratios,

Relationship between magnesium, cancer and carcinogenic or anticancer metals,

Magnesium depletion enhances cisplatin - induced nephrotoxicity,

Magnesium and Dog Cancer,

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