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Did you know that zinc is the second most commonly used mineral in a dog’s body!? If your dog isn’t getting enough, they can become deficient which can cause a host of different health issues for your pooch.
So, how can you tell if your dog is deficient in zinc? What are the signs of zinc deficiency in dogs and how do you make sure your dog is getting enough of this essential mineral…?
Zinc is a mineral, an antioxidant, and essentially helps strengthen a dog’s immune system. It’s vital for things like wound repair, fur, skin and nail health and cell replication and replenishment. Zinc works both alone and with other vitamins and minerals to assist the body in its day-to-day functioning. Unfortunately, even though the body needs zinc – it isn’t actually able to store it which is why it’s regular presence in your pup’s diet is important.
Yes, zinc deficiency in dogs is a higher risk in Huskies and Malamutes but has also been found to affect Great Danes, Dobermans, St Bernards and German Shepherds. Even if your dog isn’t one of these breeds though, they can still be affected.
If a dog is experiencing a zinc deficiency, they will usually present multiple symptoms and the symptoms can change and become progressively worse depending on how long the deficiency has gone on for. These symptoms include:
The first two on this list can sometimes be mistaken for a food allergy, and crusty/raised patches of skin can be misdiagnosed as a topical allergic reaction.
If you notice any of these signs in your dog, make sure they get looked over properly by their vet.
You should be feeding your dog a well-balanced diet. A dog’s digestive system is built to eat and digest meat – it’s what they are naturally programmed to consume to function, and a high meat diet can provide all the essential vitamins, proteins, fats, and minerals your dog needs. Meat also contains a lot of water, too, helping to balance your dog’s hydration levels.
Organ meats are best for your pup; liver, kidney, and heart are three particularly great meat choices due to their high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – all extremely important when it comes to your pup’s health. Providing these types of meat options to your doggo will give them an abundance of vitamin A, iron, niacin, omega 3, and of course, zinc which will provide support to their joints, organs, immune system, skin, and coat.
Meats that are specifically higher in zinc include:
When buying food for your four-legged friend try to make sure that the meat is human-grade. Avoid pet meat and animal products on the bone as these will contain preservatives that can be bad for your dog’s health.
Fish oil is another excellent source of zinc, as well as essential omega fatty acids. Try adding a squirt of premium grade salmon oil to your pet's meals. This beneficial addition to all of your pet's daily meals can support their overall health, immunity and leave their skin and coat in tip-top condition.
You can also give your dog zinc supplements. If they have a severe meat allergy or are one of the higher risk breeds (Husky, Malamute, Great Dane, Doberman, German Shepherd or St Bernard), then a zinc supplement could be something to consider. The general recommended allowance is 25mg per 22kg of your pup’s weight.
Before you introduce a zinc supplement to your dog though, always consult with your vet as too much zinc can cause zinc toxicity, resulting in a very ill Fido.
Signs of zinc poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive panting/breathing, lethargy and/or a very fast heartbeat (and in some cases, jaundice). If any signs like this occur in your dog you must seek out a vet as a matter of emergency.
A zinc deficiency, if present, doesn’t have to be as dangerous or scary as it sounds. As long as you’re feeding your fur baby with a balanced, well-managed diet, are aware of your breed’s specific vulnerabilities and are proactive, you’re doing all you can to be the best pet parent to them!
Knowledge and awareness is power, so now you know the signs of zinc deficiency in dogs and the necessary steps toward prevention!