Zinc Deficiency in Dogs (Canines): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Zinc is an essential mineral and is supplemented in most commercial dog foods today. However, there are certain conditions that can affect zinc absorption and can lead to zinc deficiency.

Zinc Requirements in Dogs

The zinc requirements of dogs depend on the age and on the kind of activity that the dog performs.

  • Puppies – 120 mg/kg to 1000 mg/kg
  • Adult Dogs – 120 mg/kg to 1000 mg/kg
  • Northern Breed Dogs – 150 mg/kg to 300 mg/kg

Sources of Dietary Zinc

Most commercial dogs come fortified with zinc. There are also several natural sources of zinc, they include:

  • Fish Meal
  • Meat Meal and Bone Meal
  • Soybean Meal
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Corn

Causes of Zinc Deficiency in Dogs

  • Lack of zinc in diet
  • Diet that mostly consists of plant material
  • Genetics – Some dog breeds (Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies) have an inability to take in zinc
  • Read treatment of low methylcobalamin

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency in Dogs

Zinc commonly presents itself in Zinc Responsive Dermatosis, which is a skin condition that has the following symptoms:

  • Hair loss
  • Scaling and Crusting of the Skin
  • Lesions that are found around the mouth, the eyes, the chins, and the ears
  • Scaling on the foot pads
  • Dull and dry hair

Zinc deficiency in puppies can also present the above symptoms, but they may also show:

  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Puppies may also be prone to infections

Zinc Deficiency Diagnosis

The following tests can show if a dog has zinc deficiency or not:

  • Physical Exam
  • Medical History
  • Dietary History
  • Type of response to supplementation

Zinc Deficiency Treatments in Dogs

  • Supplementation with Zinc is the main treatment course for deficiency
  • Antibacterial treatment – for dogs with secondary infections
  • Moisturizing ointments and washes – given to relieve the skin symptoms of zinc deficiency

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