Iron for Dogs

Iron is an essential mineral for the functioning of your dog's body. Iron powers your dog's circulatory system. Without iron, this system cannot function properly.

In this article, we'll take a look at the functions of iron, foods high in iron, and the signs of iron deficiencies and overdoses. We've also included resources describing anemic dogs and treatments.

Let's jump into it.

Iron overview

Your dog's circulatory system runs on iron. It plays a key role in supplying and maintaining oxygen in this system. It also aids in the creation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. But that's not all, it transports oxygen in the hemoglobin.

Additionally, iron helps make enzymes that aid processes like digestion and metabolic needs.

6 Foods high in iron for dogs

Foods high in iron for dogs

Now that we know iron is essential, let's learn which foods are high in iron for dogs. The best way to supplement iron is by consuming natural foods.

Let's take a look at some iron rich foods -

  1. Meat (beef, lamb, and pork)
  2. Eggs (specifically egg yolk)
  3. Organ meats (beef liver and kidney)
  4. Seafood (salmon, sardines, and tuna)
  5. Poultry (chicken and turkey)
  6. Green vegetables (broccoli and string beans)

Additionally, cooking on cast iron can increase the iron content of the food by up to 16%!

Lastly, vitamin C can increase your dog's iron absorption. Vitamin C for dogs can be found in carrots, kale, and pumpkin.

5 Signs of iron deficiency in dogs

A dog with pale gums is a sign of iron deficiency.

Iron deficiencies can become a problem for many dogs. Although not common, commercial dog foods low in key nutrients can cause an iron deficiency.

Most iron deficiencies are the result of blood loss - either internally or externally.

Secondary causes of iron deficiencies include - underlying infectious disease, kidney disease, fleas, and gastrointestinal tumors.

Here are some signs of iron deficiency in dogs -

  1. Lethargy
  2. Pale gums
  3. Excess panting
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Dark or black stools

Iron deficiency anemia in dogs can be very dangerous and should be treated immediately.

5 Signs of iron overdose in dogs

Dogs can overdose on iron. An overdose is generally due to the ingestion of pills and medication your dog shouldn't have access to. Excess iron in large quantities can become lethal. 

For example, the ingestion of fertilizer, pesticides, supplements for human use, and oxygen absorber packets - like those found in beef jerky.

Oxygen absorber packets contain elemental iron and can cause severe poisoning - even in small amounts.

Immediate treatment is needed if any of the following symptoms are noticeable.

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Fever
  4. Low blood pressure
  5. Black or bloody stool

Bottom line

Iron is an essential part of your dog's diet. It is required for the basic functioning of their circulatory system. Most dogs will get enough iron in their normal dog food.

If an iron deficiency is suspected, increase your dog's intake of red meats and cook in a cast iron pan. On the other hand, if you think your dog is having an iron overdose, seek veterinary care immediately.

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