Zinc is a mineral and antioxidant that plays a key role in dozens of metabolic processes. it is especially important for maintaining a healthy immune system. certain breeds of dogs are prone to zinc deficiency and malabsorption. what does zinc do for dogs? How much zinc does your dog need to stay healthy? How is zinc deficiency in dogs treated? We’ll explore everything you need to know about this essential nutrient.
Zinc is essential for more than 300 bodily processes, which means its list of functions is long. Here are some ways zinc keeps your dog healthy:
Reading: Can dogs have zinc
- promotes healthy skin and coat
- strengthens the immune system
- helps in cell division, dna and rna replication
- improves eyesight</li
- increases cognitive function, learning and memory
- helps produce a variety of hormones
recommended daily intake
How much zinc do dogs need? that depends on a variety of factors, including age, race, weight, risk of deficiency, and environmental stressors. The recommended intake of zinc for adult dogs established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is 120 mg of zinc per kg of dry matter diet. pregnant/lactating bitches and those at risk of deficiency or malabsorption generally require more zinc.
Most processed kibble contains the minimum amount of zinc that dogs need to stay healthy. however, some ingredients in kibble, such as phytates and calcium, can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb zinc.
Zinc is also abundant in fresh meat, seafood, vegetables, dairy products, and grains, including:
- fish oil
Worried your dog isn’t getting enough zinc from his kibble? Talk to your vet about transitioning your puppy to a varied diet that is rich in zinc and other essential nutrients.
signs of zinc deficiency in dogs
Zinc deficiency and malabsorption often appear as a skin condition called zinc-responsive dermatosis. There are 3 types of zinc-sensitive dermatoses. type 1 usually occurs in dogs whose intestines cannot absorb zinc properly. It is common in certain breeds, such as the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute.
Zinc-responsive dermatosis type 2 is caused by dietary problems, including inadequate zinc intake. Diets rich in or supplemented with phytates, phosphorus, and calcium also inhibit the body’s ability to absorb zinc. several giant breeds are predisposed to type 2, including poodles, great danes, and doberman pinschers.
Zinc-responsive dermatosis type 3 is rare and occurs in dogs that eat dog food that lacks the minimum recommended amount of zinc.
Signs of zinc deficiency in dogs include:
- frequent/recurring infections due to a weakened immune system
- slow healing of wounds
- crusty sores on the paws, lips, eyes, ears, or mouth</li
- excessive itching/scratching
- dull hair
- hair loss
- decreased sexual function
puppies and pregnant or lactating bitches may show other symptoms, including:
- birth defects
- stunted growth
- giving birth to stillborn puppies
signs of zinc overdose in dogs
The recommended maximum amount of zinc for dogs is quite high: 1000 mg/kg of dry matter diet, according to the aafco standards. overdose rarely occurs as a result of ingestion of high-zinc dog food or supplements (provided they are given as directed). however, dogs can overdose on zinc after eating nonfood items such as pennies, batteries, and skin creams.
An untreated zinc overdose can be life-threatening in dogs. Initial symptoms are mild but will worsen within hours to days of ingestion. Symptoms of a zinc overdose include:
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- pale/yellow gums
- irregular heartbeat
- kidney and liver damage
Treatment will vary depending on your dog’s symptoms and items ingested. Your vet may induce vomiting, prescribe medication, administer intravenous fluids, or perform surgery depending on the severity of the toxicity. early diagnosis and treatment are key to ensuring a good prognosis.
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zinc supplements for dogs
Dogs receiving adequate amounts of zinc in their diet are not likely to benefit from supplementation. however, zinc supplementation may help prevent and treat zinc-responsive dermatoses and malabsorption. your vet may recommend dietary changes in addition to supplements. crushing zinc tablets and adding them to your dog’s food can aid absorption.
Oral zinc supplements are readily available over the counter at online retailers and large pet stores. Always consult your veterinarian before supplementing your dog’s diet. never give your dog zinc supplements formulated for human use unless explicitly instructed to do so.
Worried about your dog’s nutrition? chat with a vet now to get expert advice!
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Read more: Veterinary Oncology