Did you know that zinc deficiency can adversely affect your dog’s health?
Not many people know of this, but a zinc deficiency can be a serious issue for a dog, especially for a large breed one. Unfortunately, the issue isn’t familiar to many, which is why we decided to put together some information about it for you. This should be helpful in helping recognise deficiency symptoms and take corrective measures.
Importance of zinc for our dogs
After iron, zinc is the next essential trace mineral in your dog’s body. It works as a powerful antioxidant and is responsible for numerous metabolic processes in the body. Zinc not only works just by itself but it also joins forces with other nutrients, like calcium, copper, phosphorus, B-complex vitamins and vitamin A, to aid in essential bodily functions.
When a dog is zinc deficient, the dog’s body shows a variety of symptoms. Often times, the symptoms even change over time, with newer symptoms appearing as the deficiency continues to remain unaddressed. Many times the symptoms are treated individually since they do not appear to be related to each other. However, the treatment is superficial and unless the zinc deficiency isn’t addressed, the symptoms will continue unabated and the dog’s health will get worse. But the good news is that with the right approach, you can ensure that your dog doesn’t become zinc deficient in the first place, and in the event there is a deficiency, you can tackle it easily. All you need to do is provide the right diet.
So how does zinc work?
One would think that since a dog’s body requires zinc it would have some way of storing it, right? Wrong. Even though zinc is one of the most important trace minerals, the dog’s body cannot store it. Which means the body needs a regular, adequate supply of zinc; when it doesn’t get this, it becomes deficient in zinc.
Common symptoms of zinc deficiency
Here’s what you need to watch out for if you suspect your dog’s suffering from zinc deficiency. If you notice these symptoms, do not treat them as isolated symptoms but look if there are other symptoms too.There is an order in which these symptoms occur:
Chronic digestive issues: Do not mistake them to be food allergies. Your dog could get frequent diarrhoea and even suffer from a lack of appetite. You might think your dog is being a picky eater, but the truth is different.
Crusty, raised patches of dermatitis:Watch out for these around the eyes, on the muzzle, on the paws, or on the groin area. These can get mistakenly diagnosed and treated as hot spots or skin allergies.
An under-functioning or over-reactive immune system:When this happens, the immune system cannot handle infections. Worse, it responds to everything as a threat. In this stage, your dog may catch several illnesses, but remember, they are all immune-system related.
A malfunctioning thyroid gland:This can lead to weight gain or weight loss. You might also notice an increased or decreased appetite, the skin and coat start to look dull, and there is a constant complaint of secondary infections. Is your furry friend also coughing all the time?
Major organ failures:Everything starts to fail, including kidney, liver, and/or even the heart.
Seizures:With a zinc deficiency, taurine in the brain can’t function effectively as a neurotransmitter smoother. Erratic neurotransmissionsmean seizures.
This is not always the order in which the symptoms occur. Some dogs might skip some, and in some cases, the dog might jump to the last symptom in the list.
It is important that you be proactive and ensure that your dog is getting and absorbing the right amount of zinc through every meal. And here’s how you can do it.
Zinc and diet
The best way to ensure your dog is getting the right amounts of zinc is to feed a species-appropriate diet. Our pets might have been domesticated for thousands of years, but their bodies are still of the wolves and they need food that they can digest quickly and absorb the maximum number of nutrients from. This includes raw meat, organs, bone, and even glands.
Foods that you should feed your dog
Here is a comprehensive list of foods that are naturally high in zinc when fed in raw form:
Keep in mind these points when considering your dog’s diet:
- Do not feed your dog wheat, corn, or soy (or any other kind of grain).
- Feed your dog a diet that is made purely of whole meat. Stay away from meat by-products or meats that have been heavily processed. When your dog gets to eat raw meat it can help increase zinc levels naturally. Moreover, your dog’s body can absorb zinc from raw meat much easier than when taken as a supplement.
- If your dog is on a processed kibble diet, he might still face a zinc deficiency even though the dog food manufacturers add zinc to the food. What they do, however, is add a cheap source of zinc which your dog’s body cannot absorb easily and this once again leads to a zinc deficiency. The best way to ensure your dog gets the adequate amount of zinc you must feed a properly balanced and varied species-appropriate raw food diet.
While this deficiency can be serious, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. If you are proactive and you feed a balanced, varied raw diet
, you minimize chances of any issue drastically. Also, now that you are aware of the signs of the deficiency, you are better prepared to address the situation correctly.