Zinc deficiency

Zinc is the second most commonly used mineral in the body. If it is not present in the proper amounts, it can lead to a wide range of issues, and zinc deficiency can eventually result in death. While researchers aren’t sure exactly why, it appears that Huskies and Malamutes require a higher-than-average amount of zinc.

Some dogs are unable to properly use nutrients that come into their body. There are a wide range of causes as to why this can be, but most commonly, it’s because of either malabsorption (when the body doesn’t properly absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients present in the food) or mal-digestion (when digestion is impaired). Both malabsorption and mal-digestion are frequently related to a poor-quality diet.

 

Symptoms:

  • Chronic digestive issues (often mistaken for food allergies), frequently accompanied by bouts of diarrhea and lack of appetite
  • Raised itchy crusty patches of dermatitis (sometimes diagnosed as allergies or hot spots). These often occur on the muzzle, around the eyes, on the groin, or on the paws
  • An under-functioning or overreactive immune system (in other words, the immune system is unable to handle infections, or it responds to everything as though it is a threat)
  • A malfunctioning thyroid gland, leading to weight gain or weight loss, increased or decreased appetite, skin and coat problems, secondary infections, and possibly an ongoing cough. The body’s hormone levels are generally out of balance at this point
  • Major organ failures (including kidney failure, liver failure, and/or heart failure)
  • Seizures (both Petite and Grand Mal)

 

Natural Solutions:

  • Make sure your dog is on a balanced, varied, species-appropriate raw food diet. Their diet shouldn’t contain wheat, corn, soy, or grains of any kind.
  • Choose raw proteins that are naturally high in zinc, including rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, halibut, and sardines.
  • Consider supplementing if necessary. One commercial supplement to try is Zinpro. Bear in mind that if you do need to supplement zinc, you must be very careful, because zinc toxicity can be dangerous and even fatal. Symptoms of zinc toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, jaundice, excessive panting, and/or rapid breathing with an erratic heartbeat. If your dog experiences zinc poisoning, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
  • In general, supplement 25 mgs of zinc per 50 pounds of your dog’s body weight.
  • Consult with a veterinarian who is familiar with zinc toxicity in dogs for guidance specific to your dog.
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