Does your dog get enough zinc?

Studies show that many dogs suffer from a zinc deficiency. Zinc is an essential; it is a mineral that plays an elementary role in the functioning of dogs and their overall health. It is also important for the immune system, growth, metabolism, the nerve system, healthy skin and hair.

After several conversations with dog owners, who explained their dogs showed symptoms of itching and negative responses to grass, their dogs were supplemented with Zinc tablets. Nine dogs were provided with these tablets and seven of the dogs stopped itching after being given the Zinc tablets. This showed that there is a possible link between Zinc deficiency and symptoms of itching in reaction to grass. We have therefore complied a list of symptoms, which are likely to indicate whether your dog may be suffering from a Zinc deficiency. Symptoms of a Zinc deficiency can include:

•    Strong itching
•    Hair loss around the eyes
•    Hair thinning
•    Frequent infections
•    Pelvic infections

Alongside the symptoms mentioned above, there can also be reddening of the skin which then causes scabbing. This can cause zinc deficiency dermatitis. When this occurs, the most commonly affected areas are often mouth, chin and lips, as well as eyes, ears, body openings and paws. Your dog’s fur can become luster-less, scaly and greasy.

If you believe that your dog could be suffering from Zinc deficiency, you may be wondering what the cause might be. Part of it can be linked to not having the right nutrition. For example, your dog may lack calcium, which may subsequently lead to a Zinc deficiency. In addition, a simple vegetarian diet can lead to zinc deficiency.

A lack of Zinc can also be inherent to the dog breed. For example, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Akita Inu, Bull-terrier, Doberman or the Great Dane are more likely to suffer from Zinc deficiency than other breeds.

If you have a new-born dog or a very young puppy it is important to monitor whether your dog shows symptoms of Zinc deficiency, these can already be visible between the first and third year of the dog’s life. Other occasions during which dogs may show Zinc deficiencies can include:

•    Long-haired dogs during hair changes.
•    Problems with pancreatic function.
•    Female dogs during pregnancy.
•    During the lactation after birth.
•    After operations, in the healing of great wounds, for the body loses bodily zinc due to wound secretion.
•    During heavy physical exercise such as races because sweating also means that a lot of zinc is lost.
•    Providing certain drugs such as cortisone.

If your dog does display any of the symptoms mentioned above then it is important that you think about ways to increase their Zinc supply. One way this can be accomplished is through Zinc supplements in the form of tablets or liquid. Often dog vitamins contain Zinc along with other valuable ingredients to ensure a healthy vital canine.

In all, its important to manage the wellbeing and health of your dog no matter how old they are. By keeping a close eye on their health and getting regular check ups, you can ensure that your dog is fit and healthy. Any deficiencies that are left untreated could cause long term and irrepairable health problem.