Ca:P Ratio Explained


If you’ve ever checked out the nutrition panel on any quality dog food, you’ll notice something called the “calcium phosphorous ratio”.  This is really important, so I want to explain why.


Calcium and phosphorous are two important minerals that your dog needs in their diet. Calcium is the actually most abundant element in the body, and it’s found in bone and teeth, and it’s also used by the nervous system. Phosphorous is used to build bones, it’s involved in metabolism and a bunch of other important functions too. 

In your dogs diet, you mostly get phosphorous from meat. You get calcium from bones, green leafy veg and a whole host of other sources too. Here’s the thing, having the right amounts of calcium and phosphorous is important to make sure your dog is healthy.  And that’s what the calcium phosphorous ratio tell us, that the amounts are balanced correctly.


The optimal ratio is between 1.2 and 1.4 : 1. That sounds bit confusing, but it essentially means that you want slightly more calcium than phosphorous in the diet. So if you check the side of your Whoa Nelly! dog food, you can see here that we have balanced it at 1.3:1, which is right in the middle of the optimal range and perfect for healthy dogs! 

There are a few other factors that influence this ratio. I won’t go into all of them, but the big one is the source of calcium. We use ground chicken bone for our Kangaroo and Chicken recipe, and the Green Goat here uses egg shell. Both are highly bioavailable sources of calcium, which means they are easily absorbed by the body.


This is a much better source than say food grade calcium carbonate, which is used by many commercial dog foods but isn’t easily absorbed by the body. That’s why using quality ingredients is important, it’s not just the numbers - it’s the source of nutrition too! Always check the ingredients in any food you feed yourself or your dog. 

I should add, the bones you feed your dog have a roughly 1:1 ratio, so won’t throw out the balance by much. It’s important to feed raw meaty bones a few times a week, so don’t forget!

There you have it, calcium phosphorous ratio explained. Any questions, put them in the comments below.