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Does potassium matter for your pooch?
We all know that potassium is an important nutrient for the human body that we can get from foods like bananas. But what role does potassium play in your dog's body? It plays an important one, working to keep the kidneys, heart, digestive system and muscle functioning normally. While most commercial pet food diets will provide your dog with an adequate level of potassium, there are some conditions that can bring it to an unhealthy, low level.
Low potassium is known as hypokalemia, and can result in weakness, lack of energy, muscle cramps, an irregular heartbeat and problems with the stomach. It most commonly occurs when too much potassium is lost in the urine or intestines.
Proper potassium balance depends on the amount of sodium and magnesium in the blood, and high levels of sodium can cause this loss of potassium. This is an instance where diet plays a role. If your dog's pet food is too high in sodium, which some commercial foods are, it can throw off its potassium levels and have an overall negative effect on its health. Make sure your dog is eating a high-quality diet like Halo Dog Food or Now! Grain Free Dry Dog Food.
If your dog is on a superb diet but is suffering from certain medical conditions, it could still be at risk of low potassium levels. Diarrhea, vomiting, and irritable bowel disease (IBD) can all cause low potassium levels. Aside from treating the condition that is causing such symptoms, it is important that you get your dog's potassium levels back in check after an illness.
You can give your dog pet drugs that can restore levels of this vital nutrient. Your veterinarian may prescribe a supplement like Tumil-K for potassium deficiency. Other supplements that don't require a prescription can also get your pooch's potassium back on track. Ask the vet about Potassium Citrate, which has microencapsulated granules that help decrease the possibility of urinary stone formation from low potassium. A regular multivitamin like VitaChews can also help your pooch restore healthy levels of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
There are also certain medications that can effect the levels of potassium in your dog's body. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Rimadyl as well as ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and other prescription drugs can cause in increase in potassium, while certain diuretics, insulin, antacids and corticosteroids can cause a decrease.