Is Zinc Good for Dogs? Benefits, Deficiency, Food Sources and Side Effects

As a pet owner, it's essential to understand the dietary needs of your dog. Zinc is an essential nutrient that provides a range of health benefits for dogs - from skin and coat health to building stronger immunity.

So, is Zinc good for dogs? Yes! But how do you know if they're getting enough of this mineral?

In this article, we'll take a closer look at the benefits and importance of zinc for dogs, signs of deficiency, sources of food high in zinc and potential side effects associated with too much zinc intake.

Zinc written in wooden blocks

What is Zinc?

Zinc is a crucial mineral that acts as an antioxidant and plays a vital role in more than 300 metabolic processes. One of its most important functions is supporting a robust immune system.

Zinc is essential for the production of collagen, which helps keep your dog's skin strong and resilient against damage. It also plays a critical role in DNA synthesis, which is essential for the maintenance and repair of cells.

Additionally, this mineral is necessary for the production of proteins, which are essential building blocks for many of the tissues and organs in your dog's body.

beautiful dog standing on their hind legs in a field of flowers

Unfortunately, certain dog breeds, such as Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, are susceptible to zinc deficiency and malabsorption, which can lead to health problems.

Zinc supplementation is a common treatment for these dogs, but it's important to monitor their zinc absorption levels to ensure they are receiving the right amount of this essential mineral.

By understanding the unique needs of these dog breeds and providing proper care, owners can help their dogs live happy and healthy lives.

8 Benefits of Zinc for dogs

Let's take a look at the 5 major functions of Zinc.

  1. Boosts your dog's immune system
  2. Promotes a healthy skin and coat
  3. Improves eyesight
  4. Aids the production of hormones
  5. Boosts cognitive function (i.e. memory and learning)
  6. Assists in DNA and RNA replication
  7. Helps thyroid function
  8. Aids wound healing

    Zinc dosage for dogs

    According to AAFCO standards, the maximum recommended amount of zinc for dogs is 1,000 mg/kg of dry matter.

    While this may seem like a high amount, it's crucial to balance your pup's diet correctly to keep them happy and healthy.

    Be sure to consult with your vet to determine the appropriate amount of zinc for your dog.

    10 Foods high in Zinc for dogs

    chicken and beef contain Zinc for dogs

    To ensure your dog is getting the optimal amount of Zinc, try incorporating some of these foods in their diet.

    1. Chicken
    2. Beef
    3. Duck
    4. Lamb
    5. Salmon
    6. Sardines
    7. Fish oil
    8. Eggs
    9. Spinach
    10. Broccoli

      Zinc deficiency in dogs

      reoccurring wounds are a sign of zinc deficiency in dogs

      Zinc deficiencies and malabsorption often manifest as a skin condition known as zinc-responsive dermatosis. Zinc-responsive dermatosis in dogs is characterized by dry, crusty, and/or itchy patches on a dog's skin. There are three different types of zinc-responsive dermatosis.

      • Type 1 is common in certain breeds, including Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. It occurs in dogs whose intestines are unable to absorb zinc properly.
      • Type 2 is caused by dietary issues, including inadequate zinc intake and a diet high in or supplemented with phytates, phosphorus, and calcium. Several giant breeds, such as Poodles, Great Danes, and Doberman Pinschers, are predisposed to type 2.
      • Lastly, type 3 is rare and occurs in dogs whose dog food lacks the minimum recommended amount of zinc. Understanding the different types of zinc-responsive dermatosis is crucial in identifying the underlying issue and providing the necessary treatment.

        5 Symptoms of Zinc deficiency in dogs

        A severe zinc deficiency can lead to the following health concerns.

        1. Recurrent infections due to a weakened immune system
        2. Dull coat
        3. Skin lesions and sores on your dog's paws, eyes, ears, mouth, and lips
        4. Hair loss
        5. Excessive itching and scratching

          Is Zinc oxide safe for dogs?

          Zinc Oxide Cream

          Zinc Oxide is safe and is used in most Zinc supplements. However, Zinc Oxide can also be found in Zinc Oxide cream at very high levels.

          Zinc oxide cream is an over-the-counter ointment that is commonly used to treat various skin conditions.

          While a one-time ingestion of this cream can typically cause stomach upset, repeated ingestion can lead to Zinc poisoning.

          This is especially true for highly concentrated products with a larger percentage of zinc oxide. Over days to weeks, the toxicity of these ointments can build up, leading to Zinc poisoning and serious health issues.

          It is important to read labels carefully and follow instructions for use to avoid a potential Zinc overdose caused by repeated ingestion. Remember to always seek medical attention if any adverse effects occur.

          Bottom line

          Overall, we've learned that zinc is an essential mineral for dogs, and it's vital to understand its benefits, signs of deficiency, sources of food with zinc and potential side effects.

          Responsible dog owners should feed their dogs a well-balanced diet high in zinc; if they're not getting enough vitamins from their food intake, a Zinc supplement can be beneficial.

          Additionally, understanding the signs of deficiency can help you spot health problems early and get your dog the care they need.

          Click here to learn more about Vitamins and Minerals for Dogs.

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