6 min read

Manganese for Dogs


By Wag! Staff

Published: 04/11/2023, edited: 03/05/2024

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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If you thought being a dog owner was all about long walks, playtimes and snuggles, you’re not wrong. But it’s also important to familiarize yourself with your canine’s nutritional needs to ensure they stay fit, healthy and happy for as long as possible. 

Learn all about manganese for dogs in this helpful guide, including why this mineral is particularly important for puppies and young dogs whose bodies are still developing. 

What is Manganese (Mn)? 

You might have read about the importance of potassium or clued up on the health benefits of vitamin K, but how much do you really know about manganese for dogs? 

This essential trace mineral is vital to your pet’s diet, playing an important role in a dog’s neurological functioning, metabolism and the development of bones and connective tissue like cartilage. 

Your dog needs a steady level of manganese from birth to support their wellbeing and to prevent a manganese imbalance. But they can’t produce it themselves, so it must be obtained through their diet or a manganese supplement.

elderly small black dog eating a pill

Manganese Benefits for Dogs

You’ve probably seen manganese listed on the back of dog food packets with The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommendations. But did you know that manganese can do many wonderful things? 

Here are the manganese benefits for dogs:

  • Bone development and health. One of the most important nutrients for puppies is manganese. This is because it helps with the formation of cartilage and bone allowing for a strong and supportive skeletal structure to develop. Manganese for dogs is beneficial throughout a canine’s life, promoting strong bones in older dogs.

  • Synthesis of collagen. Manganese activates the enzymes that are needed to produce collagen. Collagen then contributes to the strength, elasticity and structure of connective tissues throughout the body. Collagen also supports the healing of wounds, making the presence of manganese extremely important. 

  • Energy production. Enzymes require manganese to produce energy. This important nutrient helps with the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fat, keeping your dog happy and energetic through digestion. Manganese also aids in the production of manganese superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant enzyme that neutralizes free radicals. In fact, manganese supports over 300 enzyme processes.

  • Immune system. As man’s best friend, taking care of your dog is essential. That’s why many pet owners take out Wag! Wellness Plans to cover the cost of routine health checks. Feeding your dog the right amount of manganese, however, will also keep their immune system strong, helping to fight off infections and diseases. This is particularly important for pups who are still building their internal defenses. 

  • Reproduction. As well as other minerals such as zinc, which is important for the cell division of a fetus, manganese is required for healthy ovulation in dogs.

Takeaway: Manganese for dogs is vital in small doses because it contributes to essential biological and metabolic processes. 

The daily recommended intake of manganese for dogs recommended by (AAFCO) for most adult dogs is 1.25 mg per every 1000 kcal ME, or 1,000 calories from food. How much manganese per day for dogs depends on factors such as age and activity levels.

Puppies require a bit more because of the mineral’s role in development: 1.8 mg. In addition, dogs with higher energy needs such as herding dogs (Welsh Sheepdog) or mushers may need an increase as well. It’s always best to get help from your vet in determining ideal manganese levels.

raw beef liver on a plate - Manganese for Dogs

Foods High in Manganese for Dogs

Foods high in manganese for dogs are easy to find on the shelves, especially if they follow AAFCO’s nutrient profiles. These ensure dogs get the right diet for their age, breed and health.

Sadly, when there’s manganese there’s sometimes glyphosate too. This creeps in because of its use in farming grains and is a contributor to pesticide poisoning in dogs. Glyphosate reduces the body’s ability to absorb and use manganese. And in some cases the chemical actually removes it.

To ensure your dog gets enough of this mineral daily, avoid kibble containing glyphosate and add foods that are high in manganese to maintain healthy levels. The following foods are just a few that are rich in manganese, with the amounts that are necessary to provide 1 mg of manganese:

  • Mussels: 1 oz
  • Kelp:  2/3 oz
  • Pumpkin seeds: 3/4 oz 
  • Ginger: 1/10th oz
  • Hemp seeds: 2/3 oz
  • Almonds: 1 2/3 oz
  • Beef liver: 11 oz
  • Turkey liver: 12 oz
  • Sardines in water: 17 oz

Other sources, such as ground beef and beef heart, would require feeding several (or many) pounds to reach 1 mg of manganese. It's always a good idea to discuss your dog’s diet with your veterinarian before adding something new.

Signs of manganese deficiency in dogs

Foods high in manganese for dogs are beneficial in so many ways. Canines lacking in this mineral, especially puppies, might experience problems with bone and cartilage development. 

Manganese deficiency can also cause problems with the dog’s reproductive system, metabolism and bone injuries. Too little manganese in a dog’s blood can often be seen when using supplements because the manganese in them is harder to absorb.

Symptoms of a manganese deficiency might include:

Treatment of manganese deficiency in dogs

Manganese deficiency can be treated with a diet change, prescribed or over-the-counter manganese supplements and the addition of manganese-rich foods to the dog’s diet. Manganese ascorbate for dogs, for example, is a powder that can help boost manganese levels.

Dietary correction is preferred because supplements can be difficult to regulate safely, sometimes causing an overdose. Nursing puppies get adequate manganese from their mother’s milk.

Manganese deficiency that may result from feeding a raw or homemade diet involves adding cereal grains, chia seeds which are notoriously high in manganese, or seafood such as green-lipped mussels to the finished product.

Signs of manganese overdose in dogs

While a manganese overdose in dogs is rare, anemic dogs are at a greater risk. Symptoms of a manganese overdose can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Abnormal growth
  • Neurotoxicity with lethargy and ataxia
  • Damage to vital organs, especially the liver, heart, brain, and pancreas

Since signs of an overdose can take a long time to appear due to the mineral’s slow absorption rate, it’s important to monitor your dog’s behavior, gait, appearance, and growth on a regular basis and note any abnormal changes or irregularities to your veterinarian.

brown Labrador Retriever sniffing pill in veterinarian's hand

Manganese supplements for dogs

Foods high in manganese for dogs prevent the need for supplements in many cases, especially as the daily amount needed for a canine’s well-being is low. That said, when sufficient amounts of manganese aren’t available in a dog’s diet, veterinarians and dog parents may turn to supplementation to prevent the long-term health effects of a manganese deficiency. 

There are many supplements on the market, including tablets, capsules, and liquids. Your vet is a valuable resource when choosing a supplement for your dog. So don’t hesitate to seek out advice and support regarding manganese for dogs.

Restoring healthy manganese levels can sometimes be difficult. Manganese from any source is absorbed slowly and any positive or negative effects of the chemical may take up to two weeks to appear. 

It’s important during this time to be patient, and if necessary, increase the amount of supplement in very small increments, then have the pup’s blood level tested. As discussed previously, too much manganese can be dangerous, too.

Manganese is a critical mineral nutrient in a dog’s diet and feeding your puppy the right food is essential to facilitate growth. A good first step is to check the amount of manganese in a bag of your dog's regular food.

Observation of the aforementioned signs of a deficiency or overdose may alert you to a manganese imbalance and injuries or conditions such as cruciate ligament failure or bowed front legs may be your first clue. 

Many foods high in manganese for dogs  can be used to supplement a canine’s usual diet to help keep manganese levels in a healthy range. Puppies and still-growing young dogs require more manganese than adult dogs, and the breed and size may also impact the ideal level, so always chat with your veterinarian to find out what your canine needs.

The symptoms of a manganese deficiency can be expensive to treat. To avoid unexpected vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. 

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