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I recently wrote about zinc and its importance for dogs. Zinc is an essential mineral for dogs and is necessary for their immune system, skin and coat health, and proper growth. While most dogs get enough zinc in their diet, some may be zinc deficient. This can happen if they are not eating a well-balanced diet or if they are losing zinc through diarrhea or other medical conditions.

What is Zinc?

Zinc is a mineral that is found in food and in the environment. It is necessary for the proper growth and development of the body’s cells, tissues, and organs. Zinc is also needed for the body to make enzymes and hormones. Enzymes are substances that help chemical reactions occur in the body. Hormones are chemicals that help to regulate the body’s activities.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for zinc is 8 mg/day for adults. The RDA for children and adolescents is 3-12 mg/day depending on age and gender.

Humans get zinc from food. Good sources of zinc include meat, seafood, poultry, nuts, and seeds. Whole grains and legumes (beans) also contain zinc, but the zinc in these foods is not as easily absorbed by the body as the zinc in animal-based foods.

Dogs get zinc from their diet as well. The best source of zinc for dogs is animal-based protein, such as meat, poultry, and fish. Zinc is also found in small amounts in some plant foods, such as grains and beans.

AAFCO Zinc Requirements

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a voluntary organization that develops guidelines for animal feed and pet food. The AAFCO does not regulate or enforce these guidelines, but many states use them as the basis for their own laws and regulations.

The AAFCO Zinc Requirements for dogs are 100mg/kg for puppies and 80mg/kg for adult dogs.

Compared to all other minerals, zinc has the narrowest margin of safety between deficiency and toxicity levels. Zinc is considered toxic at levels above 300 mg/kg in dogs.

Signs of Zinc Deficiency in Dogs

The signs of zinc deficiency vary depending on the age of the dog. Puppies may have stunted growth, skin problems, and diarrhea. Adult dogs may have a dull coat, skin problems, and decreased appetite.

Factors that Decrease Zinc Absorption

There are several factors that can decrease the amount of zinc that is absorbed by the body. These include:

-Certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and short bowel syndrome


-Malabsorption syndromes


-Pregnancy and lactation

Recommended Amounts of Zinc for Dogs

The recommended amount of zinc for dogs varies depending on the age and health status of the dog. Puppies and adult dogs who are healthy and eating a well-balanced diet usually get enough zinc from their food. Dogs with medical conditions that decrease zinc absorption may need to take a zinc supplement.

Zinc supplements are available in many forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, and liquids. The best form of zinc for dogs is chelated zinc. This form of zinc is easier for the body to absorb than other forms.

The recommended dose of zinc for dogs is 2-4 mg/kg of body weight per day. For example, a 10 kg (22 lb) dog would need 20-40 mg of zinc per day.

Factors to Consider When Picking the Best Dog Food for Zinc Deficiency

Protein: Look for a food that is high in animal-based protein, such as meat, poultry, or fish. Poultry and fish are our favorite protein sources as they are very digestible and contain all the essential amino acids. They are also low in fat and calories.

Fats: Fats are an important source of energy for dogs. They also help to absorption of some vitamins and minerals. The best sources of fat for dogs are animal-based fats, such as chicken fat or fish oil. Avoid plant-based fats such as soybean oil as they are not as easily absorbed by the body.

Carbohydrates: Dogs get most of their energy from carbohydrates. The best sources of carbohydrates for dogs are whole grains, such as brown rice, oats, and barley. Avoid processed carbs, such as white flour and sugar, as they can be hard for the body to digest.

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins and minerals are essential to the health of dogs. Look for a food that contains all the essential vitamins and minerals, including zinc. Foods that are fortified with vitamins and minerals are a good choice.

Zinc content: Look at the zinc content of the food. The AAFCO Zinc Requirements for dogs are 100mg/kg for puppies and 80mg/kg for adult dogs. Choose a food that meets or exceeds these requirements.

Ingredients: Not all ingredients are created equal. The quality of the ingredients in a food can make a big difference in the nutrition it provides. Look for foods that contain high-quality ingredients, such as meat, poultry, or fish. Avoid foods that contain fillers, such as corn or wheat.

Synthetic additives: Synthetic additives, such as preservatives and flavorings, are not necessary for the health of dogs. In fact, they can be harmful to their health. Look for foods that do not contain synthetic additives. Go for zinc-containing dog food without any synthetic additives.

Organic: Organically-grown ingredients are free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. They are also more nutritious than conventionally-grown ingredients. Choose organic food if possible.

Best Dog food for Zinc Deficiency:

  • Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free 
  • American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free 
  • Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula 
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe with Bison Grain-Free 
  • Zignature Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Reviews of the Best Dog food for Zinc Deficiency:

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free 

Our overall best pick for the best dog food for zinc deficiency is Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free. This food is grain-free and features a novel protein source, bison, as the first ingredient. It also contains a variety of other nutrient-rich ingredients, such as sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots.

This roasted bison and venison dry dog food is crafted with real meat as the #1 ingredient and is high in protein (32%) to help support bones, joints and lean muscles. Crafted with vitamins and minerals from real fruits and superfoods, omega fatty acids for skin and coat health and nutrients for the energy your furry friend needs thrive!

This premium kibble is packed with species-specific K9 Strain Proprietary Probiotics, antioxidants and prebiotics to help support healthy digestion, immune system health and overall health and wellness in your pup. Plus, it’s made in the USA by a family-owned brand that never uses grains, corn, wheat, artificial flavors or artificial colors.

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe is a grain-free dog food that features salmon, sweet potatoes and other nutritious fruits and vegetables. This pet food is formulated to provide the nutrition your dog needs for everyday health maintenance, plus it’s free of corn, wheat and soy ingredients to help sensitive pets avoid fillers that could upset their stomach. The formula includes antioxidants like Vitamin E, which supports immune system function. Blueberries are sources of phytonutrients that offer antioxidant support for the body.

American Journey Salmon and Sweet Potato is a high-protein dog food that your pup will love. Made with real, deboned salmon, this dog food provides amino acids to help maintain lean muscle mass. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from salmon oil and flaxseed support skin and coat health as well as brain and eye development in growing puppies. Fiber-rich chickpeas and sweet potatoes provide energy throughout every adventure.

Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin

Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula is complete and balanced nutrition for adult dogs that are prone to skin or stomach sensitivities. This easily-digestible dog food is crafted without corn, wheat or soy. The high-protein recipe features real, nutrient-rich salmon as the very first ingredient.

This grain-free dog food formula has been specially designed to nurture your sidekick’s sensitive skin and stomach with added omega 6 fatty acids, live probiotics and prebiotic fiber to support healthy digestion and immunity.

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