Zinc is a mineral that both pets and humans need in order to be healthy. It can be found in several different food sources and it performs different functions in your dog’s body.
In today’s article, we are looking at why zinc is important for our canine friends, whether or not animals can develop zinc deficiency or zinc poisoning, and if you should give your pooch a zinc supplement.
Why Is Zinc Important for Dogs?
Zinc has a truly wide variety of roles. Some dog breeds are more prone to zinc deficiencies than others mostly because they have a higher likelihood of developing malabsorption.
For example, zinc is important for a pet’s nervous system and ensures that everything in this sense works as it is supposed to. Zinc also ensures that your dog benefits from good eye vision. It’s involved in other processes, such as keeping your pet’s coat and skin health in check, as well as improving the performance of their immune system.
Dogs that get enough zinc in their diets have a much lower chance of developing infections frequently. It is also worth noting that zinc influences the way a pet’s body produces and manages hormone levels, so it wouldn’t be unfair to assume that it regulates the reproductive function, as well as your dog’s metabolism.
Dog kibble should contain 120 mg of zinc per every kg of food, so if you’ve reached this section of the article, we suggest that you take a look at the label. More zinc is necessary for certain categories, such as puppies and seniors, as well as pregnant dogs.
Natural Food Sources
The good thing about this nutrient is that it can be found in several different food types. For example, it is a mineral that is present in beef, chicken, salmon (so the main protein sources that your dog is likely to benefit from), but several other foods such as sardines or eggs.
It can also be found in broccoli, but we do not necessarily advise on giving your dog broccoli. Like all the other members of the Brassica family, this vegetable can change your dog’s thyroid hormone levels to the point that they end up suffering from hypothyroidism. It’s also not the best veggie for dogs that have urinary tract health issues.
Zinc Deficiency in Dogs
The good thing about zinc deficiency is that it has become less and less common in the past several decades, when people have started to feed their pets commercial diets. These foods usually contain added vitamins and minerals, so most dogs never end up deficient unless they have a pre-existing health condition that makes it impossible for them to absorb the minerals from their diet.
The most common symptom that can be seen in pets that do become zinc deficient is a skin health complication. Most dogs can develop dermatosis, and since we mentioned that some breeds have a higher chance of suffering from this issue, we thought we’d mention that Poodles, Bull Terriers, and Doberman Pinschers are three of these breeds.
Other clinical signs that can be seen in zinc-deficient animals are the following:
Zinc deficiency can easily be diagnosed at the vet clinic, so if you see any of these symptoms affecting your pooch, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
Can Dogs Suffer from Zinc Poisoning?
As is the case with anything else, there is something as too much of a good thing. But what is interesting about zinc overdose is that it is rarely the result of an excessive amount of this mineral in the pet’s diet. It is usually the consequence of the dog having eaten a coin or other metal items in a household.
Too much zinc is dangerous for this species and can cause severe anemia. In this case, the red blood cells effectively explode, so there is no way your dog’s organs and tissues can receive oxygen or nutrients.
Severe poisoning cases are very rare, but they typically lead to symptoms of organ failure. Unfortunately, dogs that develop this health problem, whether in the heart, liver, or kidneys, have a considerably lower life expectancy compared to others.
Should You Give Your Dog a Zinc Supplement?
You should try to avoid giving your dog any supplements unless your veterinarian has specifically instructed you to do so. You can ask your vet the next time you take your pet to a check-up whether it wouldn’t hurt for you to add some vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet by way of supplementation.
If you are the owner of an otherwise healthy adult dog, it is quite likely that they are getting all the nutrients they need from the food you give them. However, if you want to give your dog a homemade diet, make sure you talk to your vet about what else besides meat and veggies you should add to the recipe – sometimes you might have to add vitamin or mineral powders or even fish oil.