Gracie is now 13 years old!

For nine years she's eaten REAL, HOMEMADE FOOD, NOT commercial dog food. This blog shows how easy it is to be a DOGGIE CHEF and how healthy a home-fed dog can be.

September 2, 2008

Calcium & Bone Meal Powder

When I was a new Doggie Chef I boiled a big beef bone for about a minute (to "sanitize" it) and gave it to Gracie to chew on. She immediately cracked a tooth. Cooked bones really are bad for dogs!

The vet fixed Gracie's tooth but advised against feeding her anymore bones, cooked or raw.

So how could I provide Gracie with extra calcium? Getting enough calcium, and the right calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, is crucial to a dog's health. Even well-intentioned Doggie Chefs can get it wrong and accidentally harm their pets!

Every argument against homemade dog food mentions this calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. It almost scared me away from becoming a Doggie Chef. How could I ever get it right? It sounded way too complicated.

Well, it's actually easy!

I learned to supplement Gracie's homemade meals with bone meal powder (made for human consumption).

However, bone meal powder contains both calcium and phosphorus. It's important to find a bone meal powder with the recommended calcium-to-phosphorus ratio (or as close as you can get).

The ideal ratio most experts recommend for a dog's diet is a little more calcium than phosphorus.
Specifically: a ratio of 1.2 to 1.4 parts calcium: to 1 part phosphorus.

Yet some bone meal powders contain twice as much calcium as phosphorus!
That's okay because even though it's not ideal, a range of 1 to 2 parts calcium: to 1 part phosphorus is considered acceptable by many experts.

Through the years I've used Now Bone Meal Powder and KAL Bone Meal Powder. Both are tested for heavy metals and other contaminants.

When using Now Bone Meal Powder I supplement Gracie’s meals with about 1/8 teaspoon, three times a week. One teaspoon of the Now Bone Meal Powder I've used contains 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 500 milligrams of phosphorus; or a 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus.

When using KAL Bone Meal Powder I supplement Gracie's meals with about 1/16 teaspoon, three times a week. One teaspoon of the KAL Bone Meal Powder I've used contains 1,620 milligrams of calcium and 540 milligrams of phosphorus; or a 3:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus. It's a higher calcium-to-phosphorus ratio than experts recommend but at times it's been the only bone meal powder I could get. When using it, I do my best to balance out the extra calcium with phosphorus-rich foods.


  1. Our vet said not to give any bones to our dog for the reasons you said. Inge though would never miss an opportunity to eat on a bone (she would sneak it, we wouldn't give to her). One time she ate an entire cooked chicken! After the 'scare' had passed and we realized she would be fine, it became referred to as the 'great chicken incident'. That's when our vet told us that bones of any kind were bad. Bone meal powder is a good idea. Thanks for the tip!

  2. A lot of dogs and cats actually do well on raw bones. It's COOKED bones that are dangerous. But some people dont want to feed the bones, and i understand that. My cat sticked his nose up at raw bone every time i tried to give it to him, so i supplement with bone meal sprinkled with his raw meat :) he also gets organs once a week, sometimes 2 times a week. Boy is he the healthiest cat you will meet! Such a beautiful coat,balanced energy level, clear eyes, he's wonderful. He also has sardines as a treat and loves those. Homemade diets are the best for your cat, no doubt. Also for your dog, of course. No more kibble for him ever again!