Correcting Zinc Deficiency in Huskies

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This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Zinc Deficiency

In the first part of this article I talked about how Zinc Deficiency and Malabsorption were often the root cause for many of the mystery illnesses and conditions that we see in our Snow Dogs.

These problems are often misdiagnosed or not understood by vets who are not familiar with the specialized needs of our Snow Dogs. In this article I discuss how through diet and supplementation, you can often correct these medical issues in your Snow Dog. But before you begin this protocol please ensure you’ve read the first article.

Why Is It Many Vet’s Don’t Know This Information?

I often get challenged by people who feel that if the information that I am presenting to them were valid or had merit, then their Vets would be already be aware of it. Sadly, this is not necessarily true.

When you take your dog to a licensed Veterinarian, they have gone to school to learn Veterinary Medicine. The information they learn is based on not necessarily what is true or possible, but what has been acceptably proven and accepted by the College of Veterinary Medicine. When their treatment protocols are followed, it means that there is a medical precedent for a certain treatment and the use of a medicine as the cure can be medically proven to their standards of satisfaction.

And here begins the problem; it does not matter if a supplement or alternative medical protocol is effective in helping a dog with their medical issue. If it has not been tested and scientifically proven to the satisfaction of the Allopathic Medical community, then to them the protocol is unproven and has no legitimacy. It does not matter that the proof is self evident when a dog’s health begins to improve after using an alternative treatment protocol. All that will matter is that the protocol has not been “proven” to be effective as far as they are concerned.

While I have no issues with the need for quality control, testing, and legitimacy when it comes to issues of health and medicine, there comes a point where every vet should be questioning their own ethics and medical practices. When your job is to give medications that cause more harm than good and you prescribe them without question because it is the “medically accepted form of treatment”, this now starts to fly in the face of what it is that we want and need from our medical professionals when our beloved animals become sick.

Thank goodness that there seems to be a growing trend among vets whereby they see the limitations caused by the Medical Model their profession is required to follow and they are striving to change the face of modern Veterinary Practice. There are already a few notable internet vets who are actively trying to incorporate Holistic Healing and Allopathic Medicine such as Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Peter Dobias and Dr. Richard Pitcairn. There is a place for both of these Medical Models. Used together, they can truly help our dogs in their greatest time of need.

But for now, many of us feel frustrated by the current level of understanding that our Vets have when it comes to our dogs, especially our Snow Dogs and their specialized needs. Many of us have had to become advocates for our dogs’ health. However, I don’t recommend nor advocate for people to begin randomly giving their dog supplements without fully understanding the principles and the science of what they are doing. Alternative medical interventions can and do work but people must educate themselves before they begin implementing these protocols with their dogs.

Zinc And The Husky Diet

In the previous article I discussed the common ailments caused by the absence of sufficient Zinc. Chronic Digestive Issues, picky eating, Zinc Responsive Dermatosis, Immune system illnesses, Thyroid issues, organ failings, and Seizure Activity all have a common factor, Zinc Deficiency as the catalyst for these problems. While it makes sense to add sufficient Zinc levels back to the diet of the Husky in an effort to overcome Zinc Deficiency, it makes even better sense to make sure that we find the best and easiest to absorb forms of Zinc for our Snow Dogs.

While every Snow Dog needs a higher than “average” amount of Zinc in their diet, not every husky diet automatically needs massive amounts of Zinc supplementation. If your Snow Dog shows the symptoms that I discussed in the previous article, you may be able to rightly assume that your Husky’s diet could indeed use some extra supplementation. How much Zinc does your dog need and how best to introduce it to your dog’s diet?

High Zinc Needs For Northern Breed Dogs

It is really not understood why these Snow Dogs have such a high Zinc requirement but it is commonly believed that it has something to do with the Prey Model diet. A wild canine’s diet is rich in fish, meats, and offal. While we may have domesticated dogs, the dietary requirements of some breeds still heavily reflect their origins.

Before resorting to mineral supplementation, check your dog’s diet to see if improvements can be made there first.

Things you should be aware of regarding your dog’s diet:

  • Make sure that your Snow Dog is on a grain free diet. Kibble diets that are high in wheat, corn, or soy will tie up available Zinc and can be one of the largest contributing factors to the Zinc Deficiency problem. Sometimes removing this one factor is enough to correct the Zinc Deficiency in your Husky.
  • Not all protein bases will yield the same amounts of Zinc in your dog’s diet. Kibble diets that rely on meat by-product or heavily processed meat as their protein base will NOT yield sufficient daily Zinc total. Diets that use whole meats as their protein base yield much more available Zinc to your dog. Adding fresh meat to your dog’s diet can increase Zinc levels naturally. Just adding 100 grams of beef, salmon, or chicken can supply 100mgs of Zinc to your dog.
  • Mediocre dog food manufacturers add zinc to dog food but they add a cheap source of Zinc Oxide or Sulphate to their food. These forms are not easily absorbed or used by the body so it can be easy to assume that your dog is getting enough Zinc in his diet because of what it says on the dog food label.

Dog food Advisor is a great source of information regarding your dogs food, they review the majority of commercially available foods.

Foods That Are Naturally High In Zinc

  • Most meats, 100 grams yield 100 mgs of Zinc ( beef, chicken, duck, pork, salmon)
  • 100 grams of the following foods yield Zinc in the following quantities:
  • Turkey 120mgs
  • Lamb 150mgs
  • Liver 130mgs
  • Tuna in oil 120 mgs
  • Eggs 70mgs
  • Apples, blackberries, and strawberries 100mgs
  • Plain yogurt 200mgs
  • Carrots (raw) 50 mgs
  • Potato (baked) 120 mgs
  • Pumpkin 100 mgs
  • Sweet potato and yams 100mgs
  • Peanuts( raw) 5 = 25 mgs

Adding Kelp and Seaweed To Your Husky’s Diet

Kelp and other green food products are beneficial to your dog’s diet as they provide not only Zinc ( 100gr = 1.23 mgs of Zinc) but a wide range of other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. By adding a tablespoon of this green food to your dog’s diet 2 or 3 times a week you can help naturally support your Snow Dog’s thyroid and top up his Zinc levels.

Adding Fish Oil

Because fish naturally contains Zinc, so will fish oil. Along with the Essential Fatty Acids found in oil, this is a wonderful nutritional additive for the Snow Dog diet. However, there is such a thing as too much fish oil. More oil is not necessarily better for your dog. Healthy doses of this oil should remain 100 mgs to 150 mgs per 10 pounds of dog weight administered 2 or 3 times a week.

Too much fish oil can deplete necessary Vitamin E in the body causing other health problems, can supply too much Vitamin A to the body causing other health problems, and cause an imbalance between critical omega 3 and 6 fatty acids ratios in the body also causing other health problems. Remember to factor in the all the other sources of Essential Fatty Acids in your dog’s daily diet when choosing how much fish oil to give your dog.

Adding A Zinc Supplement

If you have adjusted your dog’s diet and you have not seen any improvement you may want to consider adding a Zinc supplement to your dog’s diet. There are several types of supplements for you to choose from.

Zinpro

There is a commercially produced product used for supplementing Zinc to a Husky’s diet. Zinpro is an organic supplement that links Methionine with Zinc to create Zinc Methionine. This product is easily absorbed directly into the blood stream. This product also helps to produce and support healthy coat and skin in Snow Dogs.

Adding A Zinc Mineral Supplement

Before you add a Zinc Mineral supplement to your Snow Dog’s there are some things that you need to know about Zinc.

Things You Need To Know About Zinc

Zinc is the second most utilized trace mineral in the body, second only to iron. The body does not really have a way to store or bank Zinc so sufficient daily levels must be introduced. Dogs need more daily Zinc than humans do. A human being needs only 15 mgs of daily Zinc, while dogs, especially Huskies, need substantially more of mineral in their diet, sometime up to 100mgs. Calculating how much Zinc your Snow Dog gets in his diet is a complicated thing to figure out and this amount seems to vary slightly between Huskies.

Usually the only way to know that your Husky is not getting enough Zinc is when they develop one of the aforementioned illness or health conditions. Before supplementing Zinc, you also need to know how Zinc interacts with other nutrients in the body.

Nutrient Interactions With Zinc

Adding the mineral Zinc to your dog’s diet, when done incorrectly and for the wrong reasons, can cause other medical problems in your dog because Zinc will interact with the copper, iron, calcium, and Vitamin A levels in your dog’s system.

  • High Zinc levels can cause problems with copper availability and absorption. Copper is needed in a number of body processes. It aids in the absorption of iron, in the development of red blood cells, and assists with the formation of collagen, bone, and connective tissue. It also acts like an antioxidant in the body.
  • Iron and Calcium levels are affected by too much Zinc, and too much Zinc affects the iron and calcium levels in your Husky’s body. Too many raw bones fed can cause too much calcium in the diet. Calcium is necessary for strong bone health. It also helps the heart muscle to contract efficiently, helps with nerve transmission, and with hormone secretion. The primary function of iron is that it combines with copper and protein to create haemoglobin to oxygenate red blood cells. Iron also works synergistically with some enzymes to create and maintain many normal body functions.
  • Vitamin A and Zinc also work synergistically. Zinc is a component of a retinol-binding protein that is necessary to transport Vitamin A in the blood. This protein is also necessary for the eye to be able to see well in low light conditions.
  • Feeding a Raw Diet that is not well balanced can further cause a problem with Zinc, calcium, and copper levels in your Husky. Feeding a disproportionate amount of raw bone, liver, and heart will cause adverse interactions between these minerals so make sure you understand how to feed a well balanced Raw Food Diet.

Zinc Toxicity Levels

Zinc does have a toxicity level in the body but because there is no way to store Zinc in the vital organs, toxic levels of Zinc come from one time large doses. Single doses of 225mgs to 450 mgs will cause vomiting in a dog. Lethal doses of Zinc begin at about 900mgs.

The signs of Zinc toxicity in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, jaundice, excessive panting, rapid breathing with rapid ore erratic heart rate. They will also have excessive haemoglobin levels in their blood and urine. Emergency medical intervention is necessary to deal with the rapid destruction of red blood cells and the high possibility of organ failure so make sure that you keep Zinc tablets out of the reach of dogs.

Do All Forms Of Zinc Work Equally Well For My Husky?

No, not all forms of Zinc work as well to add available Zinc to your dog’s diet. There are several different forms of Zinc that you could use. Know which forms work well and which ones work less well.

Zinc forms ranked from best to worst:

  • Zinc citrate, picolinate and gluconate are very easily absorbable and well utilized by your dog’s body. ( 25mgs up to 100mgs daily)
  • Chelated Zinc does not bind to iron so it tends to upset the stomach less than some other forms of Zinc but maybe slightly less absorbable than picolinate and gluconate forms.( dosage is the same as above)
  • Zinc Methionine combines Zinc with Methionine and is reasonably well utilized in most dogs. ( 40 mgs daily dosage)
  • Zinc Sulphate tends to be very hard on the stomach causing unnecessary stomach upset. For that reason it is recommended that it be crushed and added in with food but this also makes it less absorbable. ( 200mgs daily dosage)
  • Zinc Oxide is a very cheap and highly un-absorbable form of Zinc. Sadly this is the form of Zinc being used by most mid to low end dog food manufacturers. No wonder so many Snow Dogs suffer from Zinc Deficiency.

Did you know: while Zinc is less likely to cause stomach upset when given after food is in the stomach, it works best when it is given 4 hours after a meal has been eaten. The reason for this is has to do with calcium interfering with the efficiency of Zinc absorption. So try giving the Zinc supplement just before the evening bedtime. There will be food in the stomach but it will be far enough into the digestive process that calcium will not interfere with Zinc absorption.

Calculations For Adding A Zinc Mineral Supplement To Your Husky’s Diet

The actual calculation formula for Zinc dosage is a complicated mathematical process guaranteed to leave anyone without a Mathematics degree scratching their heads. But I will share it with you none the less.

The National Research Council recommends the following protocol for arriving at the Recommended Daily Allowance for dietary zinc for dogs.

It is 2.0 mgs/ KGbw/0.75.

For those folks who like a challenge, here are the instructions of how to use this number to arrive at the dosing rate for Zinc:

To figure out the individual dog doses for Zinc, take the body weight in kilograms to the power of 0.75 and then multiply this number by 2.0 ( used for Zinc) These numbers are used to calculate all dietary requirements, including energy.

For a 50 pound dog that would be Pounds = 50, and pounds to kgs = 22.68 kilograms.

  1. Now take that number to the power of 0.75 – using a calculator set to Scientific, that function looks like this: x^y
  2. Now you have the “magic number” – 10.39.
  3. Next, multiply this number by 2.0 and you have 20.78 mgs. For ease use 21 mgs daily.

OR you can just use the average rule of thumb that says to use about 25mgs of Zinc per 50 pounds of dog weight. Since Zinc toxicity levels, even mild ones, do not really start till after 220mgs and lethal toxicity doses occur after 900mgs, you really do not need precise totals for this process.

Start your Zinc dosages at this level and if you have made all the other dietary adjustments and you have tried adding 25 mgs of mineral Zinc and you still do not see an improvement in your dog in six weeks, you can move the daily dosage up to 50mgs or in some cases you may need closer to 100mgs daily to see marked improvement.

Please, use good judgement when adjusting your dog’s diet or adding supplements to your dog’s nutritional intake. Whenever possible check with your Vet before adding any of these interventions to assure your dog’s safety and well being.

In the last part to this article series, I will be discussing one last aspect to Zinc Deficiency; Seizures in Huskies. As this is a very involved topic I have decided to give it the focus and attention it deserves by allocating an article to it.

As always, we welcome your questions, comments, and stories regarding this topic. When we share our stories and our wisdom we may be helping someone who is currently struggling with their Snow Dog.

Helping All Snow Dogs …. one owner at a time.

Series Navigation<< Zinc Deficiency: the hidden cause of sickness in huskiesZinc Deficiency And Seizures In Huskies >>

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116 Comments

  1. Brilliant and easy to understand, thanks for sharing your wisdom on the topic. It seems not enough research is being done on zinc.

    • Very helpful info. I found this info while looking for any help with my Alaskan. She is 15 years old, has liver issues, but really bad skin issues. Have done lots of diagnostics at the vets. Just started her on Zinc. Wanted to know if there was any dog food suggestions? My vet wants to do a liver and skin biopsy, not sure if I should put her thru that at her age. Thoughts/advise?

  2. Fabulous articles!! Have you noticed a possible connection with coat funk? I have a rescue Malamute in foster with me who had been shaved by original owners. She developed coat funk in certain areas, expecially along her spine.

    • Margit Maxwell on

      Oh YES, Michele. Coat funk in Malamutes is definitely related to zinc deficiency. This is a big issue for rescues because often they were not being well cared for and their dietary needs were certainly not being met by the original owners. Once you establish a good breed specific diet, the coat funk may disappear. Definitely feeding high zinc content foods will help to front load zinc into their system. If even after a few months the coat funk is not responding then consider adding extra zinc. But start with the changes to diet first. Many times that is sufficient to solve the problem. And thank you for giving this dog a second chance at a great life 🙂

      • Thanks for your reply Margit. My male Malamute was rescued as well almost 2 yrs ago. He has ZRD and I started supplementing with zinc as soon as he arrived. They get a premium fish based dry food and raw meat/fish, etc.. as well as frequent vegetables and a few fruits.(treats).

        I was already aware of their higher requirements for zinc and fish oil, so all my Mals get a zinc supplement each day (chelated 25mg) but my male gets that amount twice daily to keep his ZRD under control.

        My female foster was in a terrible state (fur wise) when she came, so have been supplementing the past 4 months and it has improved greatly but not disappeared. She is close to 50kg, so will try and work out if I am actually giving her enough, as well as my boy. I have found if I forget to give him his zinc, even twice a week on occasion, he starts to get itchy and break out again. Nothing like in the photos though.

        Regards, Michele

  3. Zalina Baskaevaq on

    Dear Margit – thank you so much for the info! It all makes sense. My Wolfie came from an unethical and heartless breeder. Of course I was not aware at the time how puppies end up at a pet store in the mall… But now I’m a mom to a beautiful boy and I will do anything I can to help him. Since day 1, he’s always had terrible diarrhea, we were kicked out of multiple day-cares, but no vet could ever help or diagnose the problem. Wolfie was always energetic, and his weight was on the higher end. Eventually I noticed that of all expensive dog food brands, IAMS Proactive Heath was the only one generating “good poop”. However now, I am seeing the bumps on his feet. 99.9% sure it’s ZRD. It breaks my heart to see him constantly licking his paws. I’m giving him 1000mg fish oil supplement (per vet’s recommendation, he is 60 lbs). It’s been two weeks, daily. He also takes a supplement for his joints daily. How long should I give before seeing results, and possibly trying something else? I sound impatient, but I really want to help him ASAP.
    Thank YOU, Zalina

    • Zalina, I am glad that you found the article helpful. Hopefully your dog is still not being fed that Iam’s formulation because it contains corn meal (as the second ingredient on its list). Since corn breaks down and creates phytic acid which binds to, and ties up, any available zinc. That means that any zinc that you are giving to your dog will never get to be used in the body. It would be like trying to bail out an actively leaking boat. Unless you plug the leak, no matter how much you bail out the boat it won’t help. If you have not already done so, please consider feeding a no grain ( no wheat, no corn, no soy) food to your dog and then you may not even have to give him extra zinc. Here is the nutritional breakdown of the that formulation of Iams http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/iams-proactive-health-adult/

      • zalina baskaeva on

        You are our hero….! No more Iams for sure. Is there any particular no wheat/corn/soy brand you’d recommend?

        • Zalina, there are many food manufactures that are finally hearing what consumers are saying and are starting to produce a grain free version of their food. I don’t know your dog food budget. There are a few 5 star rated foods like Orijen. A few 4 star rated foods like Acana, Blue Buffalo, or Nutro etc. Whatever food you get, read the label and look for wheat, corn, or soy in the ingredient list. The link I gave you for foodadvisor.com can also do the work for you. Just look up the food and see what they say about it. Let me know if you need anymore help with this. 🙂

          • Zalina Baskaevaq on

            Dear Margit, hope this finds you and your pups well.
            I would like to get some additional advice, if its okay.
            It has been a month since Wolfie switched food. I get him Acana Pacifica and he absolutely loves it! His lifelong GI problems are just an unpleasant memory now. THANK YOU. He also takes daily: Fish Oil (500mg), Zinc Gluconate (50mg), and Glucosamine for his hips.
            Unfortunately, our skin problems continue. Currently all four of his paws have blisters right above the nail, with surrounding loss of hair, that bleed after walks. I took him to different clinics and all vets conclude that if it were zinc we would have been seeing something similar in his mouth. They say biopsy is the only way to go. I also learned there is a test where they measure zinc levels. We don’t have pacific dogs specialists around, so I’m reaching out to you. Would you agree biopsy is the way? Its $700 so I would like to exhaust all other avenues first. The zinc test is $200. Do you think it could still be zinc related although nothing in his mouth? Thank you, Margit. And I apologize for a long message.
            Zalina and Wolf

          • Margit,

            THANK YOU. I won’t do Blue, they say bad things about the owner. But, I have already been careful on food – too many bad dog foods out there.

            Thanks

            Wayne

      • My 8 year old Malamute is losing hair in tail and hind end on both sides. He is on a no grain diet, Taste of the Wild. I supplement with salmon, tuna and he likes carrots. I just started 50Mg chelated zinc pill supplement. He is 100 pounds….Do you think this is OK…..Please advise

  4. Zalina, I am very happy to hear that changing food to a no grain food has cleared up the digestive issues in your Snow Dog. As for the issues at the paws, please know that sight unseen I can only give you my best guess as to what is going on. Please use your best judgement as to how to best proceed with the medical issues with your dog.

    However, what I can tell you is that in my experience, allopathic blood tests do not accurately reflect zinc levels or deficiency. Often blood tests come back to reflect NORMAL range but the dog still has zinc related issues. In my opinion this happens for two reasons: a) the sensitivity of the test is not high enough to accurately reflect the zinc deficiency and b) the test and the ranges are generic to all breeds and do not take into account the higher zinc needs of our northern breed of dogs.

    As for ZRD MUST show up on feet AND mouth, definitely NOT TRUE. I know lots of people who’s dog’s ZRD ONLY showed up at the feet or the mouth, but not both.

    As for doing a biopsy, I doubt if this is ZRD, that a biopsy would show up anything unusual. It almost never does in these cases. Most likely what is going is that it takes a long time ( up to 6 months) for immune system function ( related to previous insufficient amount of available zinc in the body) to function better. This is a body process that needs time to have all body process operating optimally. Whether you are looking at ZRD or even a yeast overgrowth in the body causing the issues at the feet, as you have just changed over the food, you may need to give the body processes more time to catch up.

    In the meantime, you might try rubbing the lesion sites with some organic coconut oil. This oil works wonderfully for healing lesions. If the dog ingests the oil, that is okay, as this oil is wonderful for dogs but you may consider investing a few pairs of small child size socks for the dog to wear to keep him from constantly licking at the wound site. You can use surgical tape to tape keep the dog from pulling the socks off his feet. You can even try using a topical zinc cream to put on the lesions BUT you definitely want to keep the feet covered because your dog should NOT ingest the zinc cream.

    I hope this helps. 🙂

    • Zalina Baskaevaq on

      It sure does help! You are right – one can’t expect to fix two years worth of malnutrition in one month. And my little snow pal does seem more energetic, his coat is more shiny, and his tummy is better. I should be on the right track. Seems like Douxo Chlorhexidine and Climbazole Mousse is helping too. I’m going to continue paying close attention to him and hope for full recovery soon! Thank you again for taking the time to help us.

      • So glad that your dog is on its way to better health.

        The other thing worth mentioning here ( pertaining to the skin issues at the feet), that wheat, especially GMO’d wheat, causes the body to have a highly acidic pH balance. Not just in dogs but in us too. When our bodies are too acidic, it can be the perfect breeding ground to many skin issues, including yeast overgrowth. So the topical addition of apple cider vinegar can help with the itchiness but also giving your dog one or two apple cider vinegar capsules for a week or two can help to bring the body’s natural pH levels back to neutral and the yeast overgrowth and associated hot spots will also disappear.

        Even though vinegar and lemon juice are both considered to be ACIDS, in the body, they actually help reduce the acidity in the body. 🙂

      • Hello Zalina,
        I’m curious, is Wolfie all well now? My dog has been suffering for 1,5 years now. He healed 95% once, but it’s back although we never stopped the supplements. I’m trying to get more info on the subject.
        thanks

  5. my husky has dry spots on his elbow. I specifically asked about the zinc def. and she didn’t seem concerned. it doesn’t bother him or itch, it bother me more. she seemed to think it was just from lahing on the floor. how can I know for sure?

  6. If the areas are ONLY on the elbows, are not itchy, oozing, or bleeding, then most likely they are just callused areas from lying down. Try rubbing some coconut oil on the areas to make them less rough. You can also try adding some fish oil to this diet. But do keep an eye out for Zinc Responsive Dermatosis in the traditional areas of the body.

  7. Tia franzen on

    I was wondering if you have heard of nutrazinc from howling dog Alaska? I have been using it for over month now along with AllerG-3 from my vet. I have my husky on Earthborn Holistic dog food. I have noticed her poop is getting more firm and the stomach upset is occurring less often and her eyes are looking better but around her mouth don’t seem to be healing as fast and she is starting to get it on her paws. Just wondering if this is a good zinc to have her on.

  8. Where can I find the source for the statement of:

    Foods That Are Naturally High In Zinc
    Most meats, 100 grams yield 100 mgs of Zinc ( beef, chicken, duck, pork, salmon)

    That would mean a 50 pound dog doesnt need more than 100g of meat a day to cover the need of zinc, more than good enough, right?

    • Ekkorrella, source of the zinc content for the meats you speak of came from a government table of nutritional composition similar to this one http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/info/books-phds/books/foodfacts/html/data/data5j.html

      The problem with making a blanket assumption that a “50 pound dog does not need more than 100 gr of meat to cover the need of zinc” is that it does not take into consideration the individual variables of each dog like how well or completely a dog might absorb the available zinc in any given food, what kind of other foods were present at the time of the ingestion of the meat, how efficiently a dog’s digestive system worked etc. The list of variables is endless.

      A testing facility can predict with reasonably accuracy that 100 grams of beef will potentially contain approximately 100 mgs of zinc but beyond that it becomes more difficult to predict how much of the zinc will be absorbed by a particular dog. For some dogs and for their level of body functioning, the daily addition of an extra 100 grams of fresh meat might be enough to cover their high zinc needs while for other dogs and their level of absorption this alone would not be enough.

      Therefore, all I can do is to suggest that since the body contains no mechanism for the storage of daily zinc and since our breed of dog has higher than average daily zinc requirement, that we front load zinc daily, in both natural sources and if necessary elemental forms zinc to ensure that enough zinc is present to complete all the daily body processes that require zinc to be present. This list was just a rule of thumb to give people an idea of the approximate zinc content of many dog safe fresh food that can be used to supplement our dogs’ diet.

  9. Hi. Thank you very much for your post! It is very informative.

    I own a 4 months old siberian husky (26.5 lbs). He’s not suffering from diarrhea but his stool is always soft. I feed him Holistic Recipe Lamb and Rice for Puppy/Active Pregnant-Lactating (Lamb Meal & Rice, contains Green Tea) 3x a day (@6:30am, 12am and 6pm), 1 cup per feeding. Here’s a link to his food: http://www.holistic-recipe.com/puppy-food.html. He also loves drinking water but I don’t think his over drinking yet. He usually drinks after eating, peeing, playing and exercising. He also very energetic. He sneezes / coughs sometimes but I think it’s normal since it doesn’t happen frequently. And it is not a repeated sneezing.

    My vet advised me before to try switching his food to Eukanuba (I think it’s for digestion) but I declined because I’ve read many bad comments about it. What I did is I tried mixing Orijen Puppy to Holistic but I didn’t saw any improvement on it. I also tried feeding him Nummy Tum Tum 100% Pure Organic Pumpkin to no avail. Right now, I already stopped feeding him Orijen but I’m still feeding him Nummy Tum Tum. His brother and sister are both doing well with Holistic Recipe according to their owners. So it seems that his food shouldn’t be the problem.

    Do you think the soft stool is cause by zinc deficiency? Do I need to give him a zinc supplement? Or could it be due to over feeding or over drinking?

    Thank you very much in advanced!

    • Larice, if you notice the first few ingredients in your dog’s food ( Lamb Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Ground Corn, Corn Gluten Meal) you will notice that it has corn AND corn gluten in it. Huskies should really not have any wheat, corn, or soy in their diet. Eukanuba would be just as bad of a choice to feed your dog for the same reason.

      The other thing about your food is that it is too low in protein for this breed of dog. Feeding Orijen or Acana would be fine but as long as you are mixing it with a food that has corn it, you will continue to see digestive issues with your dog.

      Your problem of zinc deficiency can be corrected by removing corn from the diet and possibly adding other foods naturally high in zinc to the diet. Simply adding a zinc supplement while feeding a food with corn it would be pointless as the corn will create phytic acid and bind to available zinc. Your dog would not end up benefiting from the addition of extra zinc.

      • Thanks very much for replying, Margit. I didn’t know about the corn thing on huskies. I just bought a whole sack of Holistic Recipe for my dog. O_O The main ingredients listed in front of the Holistic Recipe are Lamb Meal & Rice with Green Tea so I thought the others listed at the back should all be minor ingredients and shouldn’t cause any concern. Also, the previous owner of my puppy told me that my puppy’s mother didn’t do well on Orijen before and she’s also eating Holistic Recipe without any problem. I will buy Orijen again and see how it goes on a longer term.

        Also, I know this is off-topic but should I buy the Orijen puppy for large breed or the normal one? I know huskies are medium breed but some consider them as large breed when feeding.

        I’m also feeding apple cider vinegar to my puppy but he’s sneezing whenever I mix it on his food. Should I stop feeding him the apple cider vinegar?

        Sorry for all the questions. You look very informed so I just don’t want to miss this opportunity to ask questions. Thanks again!

  10. Tia, yes. This seems to be a nutritionally sound food according to http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/earthborn-holistic-grain-free/ . How well your dog will tolerate bison protein will vary. I would make sure to add salmon oil daily to up the Omega 3 factor and I encourage you to also feed a variety of natural foods that are high in zinc.

    The problem with zinc is that the body has no capacity to store zinc so it must be front loaded DAILY in quantities enough to complete all body processes. So if you have a dog who is already suffering from not having had enough zinc, then you must bring the dog’s health up to a point of having enough daily zinc so he does not become deficient again.

    • Tia franzen on

      She is on allerc3 omega 3 from the vet and I use zinc from howling dog Alaska along with feeding her Earthborn. I have noticed she is doing really good. I just don’t know when to cut her down to the zinc maintenance dose. Right now she is on the highest dose they say to give them if they have symptoms of ZRD.

  11. As per the Nutrazinc page, their daily calculated dose is based on 50mgs per day for a 50 pound dog with a possibility of quadrupling this dose. I am assuming from your post that you are giving your dog 200 mgs per day at the moment. If your dog was showing symptoms of ZRD then once these symptoms abate, you can try dropping the dose down to the regular daily recommended single dose. But since zinc cannot be stored in the body, there really is no danger of developing an accumulated toxicity for zinc. A one time lethal toxicity dose would have to be over 900 mgs to be a problem.

    So find the daily dose where you dog does well and keep her at that dose.

  12. Hello Margit – our beautiful grey/white Siberian, Sky, turned 18 a few weeks ago (Dec. 9, 2014). He’s an old guy and hasn’t been running the last few months – back end now weak sometimes falling back when in the poop-position – but he eats ok and still wags his tail and wants to go in the backyard or car with me to visit grandpa. I’ve recently noticed a light reddish stain on the fur around one side of his mouth, and a faint reddish tear stain below one eye (he doesn’t usually have any tear stains – only the rare occasion when he has a bladder infection and I don’t know if that’s coincidence or connected). His teeth really need cleaning but the vet says he’s too old – had his blood work done a few months ago and it came back good for his age – only notable comment was ‘possible beginning of kidney issues’ (vet said that could also mean ‘good’ kidneys for an 18 yr old husky. I’ve also noticed his nails are very brittle (a few somewhat hollow on the ends – possibly due to added stress and difficulty walking on slippery indoor flooring – i’m constantly putting on his non-skid socks but they twist and are always falling off. I feed him from the recipe book (cooked) completeandbalanced .com – you have to use the matching supplement. Have you heard of these recipes and what do you think – no way to know exactly what’s in the powdered supplement re all ingredients and quantities of each. I n started giving Sky Recovery for dogs, a vitamin b capsule, milk thistle capsule – few days a week 2 salmon oil capsules, 1 cod liver oil capsule and 1 glucosamine a day. It is very difficult for most of us to know what and how much of anything to give our young, or old pups. I’ve also recently been feeding him ‘Satin Balls’ but I cook it and don’t make it into balls – skinny old guy needed to gain weight – got 4 pounds back on him. His prime weight was 53-55 lbs – now 42 lbs. Any advice appreciated – thanks for all the research and help to the rest of us and our snow dogs. Shane

  13. Well firstly, let me commend you on the obviously excellent care that you have given this dog for him to have reached this advanced age. And yes, as the dog ages, certain functions do begin to suffer. All in all, cooking for the dog and adding complimentary supplement has probably supported his needs quite well. I did have a look at the site for the ingredients for the supplement. They are a generic blend of 10 minerals and 10 vitamins. However, our breed does have some unique needs that generic products, while still good products, don’t really completely support.

    I suspect that the bladder infection and tear staining are a symptom of a slightly acidic body pH. This can happen if the diet is a bit high in magnesium or calcium or even as some organs are no longer functioning at optimum levels. Even if the diet is balanced but the dog is not fully absorbing the minerals then it can be contributing to the acidic pH.

    I recommend giving Apple Cider Capsules a few times per week to help maintain a more neutral balance found at any health food store. You may also consider feeding a dried kelp powder to help with thyroid and immune system functioning. It is also a natural source of Zinc, a much needed mineral in our breed of dog. The kelp powder should be from the east coast either from Nova Scotia Canada or Norway.

    Also, I recently shared a recipe for Chicken Soup for Dogs on my page. These soups can made to be nutrient dense to help add nutrition and possibly much needed calories to any dog that needs it. If you do not already have such a recipe I can give you the link to the one on my page. http://www.snowdog.guru/chicken-soup-for-sick-snow-dogs/

    Shane, there is nothing is horribly out of balance here as you have done a stellar job looking after this dog. It just might require a bit of tweaking to accommodate for the advanced age of this beautiful old Soul. Bless you for being such a great owner 🙂

    • Jason Banuelos on

      Margit,

      My dog has always had dry spots around his chin, which he itches on a regular basis (multiple times per hour, all day long). I was looking into the Apple Cider Capsules that you recommended. How long should I give him the Capsules for? My understanding is 2-3 Capsules per week, but not sure how long to give it to him for? Is it okay to just give him the capsules for as long as I have him, or is it only a temporary solution?

  14. Hi Margit,
    Perhaps you can give me some advice?
    I have a 4 year old husky who I’m quite certain is suffering from ZRD. This has been an ongoing issue for a little over a year now.
    One day when I woke up there was a wound of sorts above one of his eyes. I didn’t think anything of it, I figured he just cut himself on something in the middle of the night. That wound would almost heal then come back again, it did this for a few months. I brought him to my vet and he wasn’t really sure what the problem was. He gave me medication and it didn’t help, I went back to my vet a few times and each time he gave me medication that didn’t help. His next plan of action was a biopsy which I didn’t really want to do so I went to another vet and he thought it was ZRD and he gave me some zinc supplements. A few days later my dogs eye was looking better and it eventually cleared up completely. I went on vacation for a month while he was on the supplements. While I was gone the supplements ran out and when I got home from vacation he had been off of the supplements for about 1.5 weeks and his eye sore was back and there was a red spot on his lip. I got more of the zinc supplements and it took over a month this time around but eventually his eye cleared up and the red spot on his lip went away. Everything was fine for a few months then I forgot to give him the supplements a couple times and for the last six weeks approximately his eye sore is back.
    I fed him orijin adult food for 4 months and for about the last month he’s been on orijin six fish food. There is more zinc in fish from what I’ve been reading so that’s why I made the switch. Since the beginning of December once a week I have been giving him a piece of chicken, a piece of salmon and some yogurt hoping that would help but it does not appear as though it has.
    He weighs about 45lbs and he’s getting 45g of zinc methionine everyday. Do you think it would be a good idea to increase that to 60g? Or more perhaps?
    He is himself, he doesn’t seem to have any issues other then the eye sore.
    Since I got him when he was 7 months old he’s never really been “into” dog food. Some days he barely eats anything, other days he will eat his full bowl of food. I was thinking the other day, perhaps the lack of eating is part of the problem with him not getting enough zinc.
    Any thoughts or suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  15. Carlo, I am so sorry to hear of your struggles but I am so happy that you asked this question. This is such common a problem in Snow Dogs. So much so, that we are about to release a full length feature article about diet and Snow Dogs as it relates to Zinc Deficiency.

    You are correct in thinking that what you are dealing with is ZRD. Unfortunately, because it keeps coming back, it points out that the actual issue has not yet been fully addressed. Even though you are doing ALL the right things including feeding a great quality food, adding foods rich in natural sources of zinc, and even adding additional Zinc, how much of the available Zinc is actually being absorbed by your dog may be in question.

    Once we remove the common obstacles for Zinc absorption ( most commonly grains in the diet causing Zinc to bind to the phytic acid) and we make adequate Zinc available daily to the dog ( which you have also done) then we are left with a perplexing problem of why is this dog still not getting enough daily Zinc?

    The answer is that some Snow Dogs (but this also causes problems in a few other breeds) have predisposing issues that cause them to have much greater than average problems with Zinc uptake. Very often these dogs are born to mothers who were also Zinc Deficient and /or had poor diets that did not supply them with enough Zinc for their daily their growing puppies. This predisposition creates dogs who’s body is VERY inefficient at absorbing adequate Zinc even when it is present daily in adequate amounts.

    What can also happen is not all dog’s bodies respond equally well to the source of the elemental Zinc that is being added. As you are currently administering a methionine based Zinc supplement, try changing the source to either chelated, gluconate, or picolinate sources and see if that might not be better absorbed by your dog’s body. I suspect too, that if your dog has this more severe predisposition to Zinc Deficiency that you may actually have to raise the amount of daily Zinc to between 50mgs and 75mgs. You may even need to work your way up to 100mgs per day for this dog. These doses are still well below dangerous levels of Zinc. It is not until 250 mgs that dogs begins vomiting to a reaction from the Zinc and a one time lethal toxic dose for a 50 pound dog begins at 900 mgs. So even at 100 mgs of Zinc you are still well below dosages that would be cause for worry.

    I would first try changing the source of the Zinc to one of the above mentioned sources at your current dosing levels and then wait and see if the appetite improves. Give it two or three weeks. Then if no improvement is seen even with the new source then move up to about 75 mgs and then wait to see if the appetite improves. If still no improvement is seen then move to 100mgs. I would not recommend going much higher than that dose. If there is still no improvement try switching sources again and start working your way up with the dosages again.

    When administering higher doses try to break up the doses into two or even three feedings. This not only serves to keep the stomach from being upset, it also allows for a more even and constant daily supply of Zinc to be delivered to the body.

    And if you are wondering why I recommended using appetite for food as the unit of measure for how much Zinc to give, fussy eating and anorexic type behaviour is directly linked to Zinc Deficiency. We are currently developing new material showing that this behaviour is yet another indicator or symptom for this Syndrome.

    As we speak, we are running some base line testing to prove, or disprove, our theory.

    • Thanks for the reply Margit.
      I currently have about a months supply of zinc methionine so for a little over a week now I’ve just upped the 45g of zinc I’ve been giving to 60g. I think it’s helping, it appears as though his eye issue is starting to clear up.
      I read an article online months ago that zinc methionine is the most easily absorbed form or zinc so that’s why I’ve been giving that to my dog. You are suggesting switching the form of zinc, would you recommend one over another? Do you think it would it be a bad idea to give multiple different forms of zinc?

      Thanks

  16. Pamela Jean Iverson on

    Im am so thankful for this site. It has been so informative. My 9 yr old female husky was diagnosed with ZRD three years ago. The vet put her on Zinpro and Atopica. This helped her right away but the Atopica is very expensive and this year price has increased again. 130.00 for 15 capsules!!! WE stopped the Atopica and our dog Nicoma is miserable. Scratching day and night
    to the point of bleeding on her chin and ears for the past several weeks. Breaks my heart. Sadly we were talking about euthanasia. I just had to research this to find any way to help her that didn’t put us in the poor house. I had no idea that her diet may be the problem. I consulted with two vets and neither mentioned diet could be a problem. I will head to the pet store today and look for the grain free food you mentioned in prior posts. Her current Zinpro dose is two 15mg tablets with her meal in the morning and in the evening. So 60mg/day. I will start giving this to her before breakfast and at bedtime as recommended. Should I decrease this dose once I start her on the new food or continue the same dose? Should I start fish oil as well or wait to see if the diet change helps first. I also saw Kelp as a supplement. Is this in place of the fish oil or in addition to it? Again. a HUGE THANK YOU. Yesterday I was preparing myself to lose my sweet girl. Today I have hope.

  17. Pamela Jean Iverson on

    Its been 4 weeks since I switched Nicomas dog food and treats to all grain free. Im finally starting to see improvement in her skin problems. Less scratching. Fur is starting to grow back. The dry skin patches are less red and crusty. She is just much more comfortable. I continued the 60mgs of Zinc daily and was able to stop the daily benadryl a week ago. Thank you for this website and its information.

  18. Great articles, thank you.
    My husky , Hurricane is about 9 mo old. I got him from animal control as he was surrendered for eating a couch (when alone in a small apt. for 14-15 hours). He was “about 5 mo old when surrendered and was in the pound for # weeks and had diarrhea when I went to meet him. Of course he also has severe separation anxiety issues , go figure with that treatment. So, I have done much research on the breed and am trying to keep him well. I switched him from simply right chicken and rice from sam’s club (corn free as my Akita that I lost in ’06 had severe corn allergies) Unfortunately it did have wheat. I ponied up the $ and have had him on Annamaet aqualuk grain free for about a month and a half now. He still has issues with stool sometimes being a little loose. He has pink around his mouth and fur seems a bit thinner there and i also wanted to mention that he seems to be losing not just his undercoat but guard hairs too , however, I just found that @ about 10-12 months they start blowing out their puppy fur. From other ?’s and replies it seems it may just take time for these issues to turn around after food switch and to just be patient ? He does itch his legs and sometimes will jump and chase his tail and chew. He has been wormed more than once. I guess my ? is should i wait for zinc supplementation? My fear is that he is possibly a “puppy mill” dog bought on impulse @ a petshop . I had seen where this could cause worse zinc problems (bad breeding) than otherwise healthy huskies would have. That being said, I have NEVER met a dog more food motivated. So appetite is NOT an issue. But with the itching ,pink but not scabbed nose,tearing eyes occasionally, inconsistent stools, and a stinky right ear that I cleaned out last night and may have to see vet about, I ‘m thinking he may need zinc. He does have salmon oil on his food morning and evening also. His treats are …oh shoot! I just realized he loves his milk bone for desert after dinner…first ingredient wheat . OK so no more of those! otherwise his treats are grain free. to zinc or to wait?

  19. ok, taking Hurricane to vet today. Hopefully for a skin punch biopsy. He has developed a sore along his muzzle 🙁

  20. Wow … our red husky (Maxx) looks almost identical to the one in the picture at the top of the site. So much alike that we had to do a double take.

  21. Hi, any breeds can also actually suffer from zinc deficiency right? And how fast can we see result after putting the dog on a zinc supplement?

  22. Has anyone had the symptoms of zinc deficiency originally manifest itself just in the stomach area?

    A bit of background – My young siberian puppy has persistant redness of the stomach and around the genital area but no crusting, after changing to a grain/ wheat free kibble which has added zinc with salmon oil alongside his raw minces and adding herbal supplements in the form of Garlic and fenugreek to support his immune system. After numerous visits to the vets he has been on anti hestimane steriods (injection) and 2 weeks course of oral steriods with no change to the redness. However in the last week, after several months of sole redness on the stomach, crusts have formed around eyes, mouth and in ears and he has stared to lose his appetite all the symptoms of a ZRD defiency. We are waiting to hear back from a skin bioposy and blood tests which are testing his immune system for auto immune skin diseases but wondered if anyone had any experience in ZRD originally manifesting as redness on the stomach?

    (To add we have ordered howling dog nutrazinc to include in his diet whilst we are waiting for results)

  23. I just want to say thank you for all the time you have clearly put into this website and countless hours responding to worried owners just like me looking to find answers so they can do the right thing for their furry friends! I’ve made a short cheat sheet for myself and can’t wait to get started turning my girls health around! I have no history on my girl Molly as my husband and I found her severely emaciated on a country road last November. Vet said she’s seven or eight maybe. Shes had litters for sure so we had her fixed now. She’s up to forty pounds but still very skinny and needs more weight on her for sure she started at thirty seven pounds. Blood work we had done suggested early kidney issues so have her on KD formulation from the vets and her levels came well down BUT I suspect the rash that keeps coming back on her belly, lack of weight gain, inconsistent eating (she’ll go two days and not eat) and soft stools are all zinc related after reading all your articles and posts. Of course the kidney food has grains so I’ll switch to Orijin and start adding in some of the fresh foods and meats and see how it goes over the next month or two. I’m just not sure how far to go with “front loading” her zinc levels understanding it can’t be stored. Any suggestion?

  24. Hi, I have a 10 month old male Husky. The other day he was walking kind of like he was disoriented. I called the vet and he said to check for ticks which I did and found a few. He seemed better for a couple days and yesterday evening started walking like he was kind of disoriented again. This morning he is very disoriented and has a very hard time walking without losing his balance. I have been reading about the zinc deficiency and have given him some eggs and liver (small amount) plus a zinc 50 mg tablet. I am going to call the vet after church today but I am concerned that he won’t know about the zinc issues. I haven’t seen where my dog’s behavior may be a cause of zinc deficiency. Is this one of the symptoms?

  25. Thank you for this article. I recently adopted a 9 month old husky who is having similar gastrointestinal issues and we are now supplementing her grain-free puppy chow with 25mg zinc. From what we know she wasn’t really given proper nutrition before ( she’s about 5-10 lb underweight) so this deficiency makes sense. I’m wondering, will we continue to supplement her for the rest of her life? Should there be a cut off point? Should I switch her to a fish oil supplement once we see improvement? Thanks!

  26. I would like to share a quick success story with my husky, Newton, and zinc in hopes that it may help you guys. Of course, this is only my personal experience and I am not giving professional advice in any way.

    At the age of 6, Newton started getting bad mouth rashes, scaly flaky skin around both eyelids, and he was scratching himself bloody daily. We had to put a cone on him for literally much of five months. He’s also had diarrhea and loud grumbling stomachs off and on for his whole life. The rashes were upsetting for us obviously. I read this article and started the journey (after a vet recommended a skin biopsy on his mouth which of course confirmed zinc deficiency and cost $500).

    So what my wife and I did was….

    Step 1: Give fish oil to Newton every day, two pumps. Result: VERY soft fur (which was unbelievable), but the rashes and dry skin remained.

    Step 2: Feed any combination of ground chicken, ground livers (your butcher can do this for you, dogs love it), plain white rice, yogurt, pumpkin, and fish oil for dinner every night. Result: Happy dogs, but the skin problems remained. Side note: Our dogs now eat this every night and I don’t care about the slight extra cost. It’s so good for them and they love it.

    Step 3: 35mg of ZinPro every night before bed, 3-4 hours after dinner. Result: Nothing changed.

    Step 4: 60mg of ZinPro every night before bed, 3-4 hours after dinner. Result: Nothing changed.

    Four months in and still unbelievably frustrated and sad for our Newton. HOWEVER….

    Step 5: We bought Zinc Citrate (got it on Amazon for about $12, it’s the #1 zinc on her list in the article), two pills a day (I think it’s 30-40mgs total). Result: EVERYTHING CLEARED UP. Boom. Took about two weeks and he is back to normal. That was two months ago and he’s still looking great. Stomach problems and skin problems are hopefully a thing of the past. We now give him a zinc citrate pill every other night to keep him regular. If it comes back, we can always up it and see what happens.

    Zinc Citrate worked for us. Give it a shot if you haven’t yet.

  27. hello. I have a rescued husky. He is about 10, partially blind and deaf, and just full of life. Issues: We’ve struggled with zrd along with IBD since we got him two years ago. We’ve tried all types of high grade foods, have him on a zinc supplement organic zinpro. The vet put him on science diet I’d which has helped with his stomach issues but His zrd is really flaring up. I am afraid to change foods but I know this food is not great. Any suggestions for a dog with ibd and zrd?

    • Hello Kathleen,
      Can you update us? I have a rescue husky that has been struggling with ZRD for 18 months now in spite of high doses of zinc.
      If you want to look it up I’ve written all of our experience on http://www.cesarslife.com There’s nothing else on the website, just our ZRD experience.

  28. Hi, Is this the product you recommend Margit? http://www.zinpro.com/products/availa-line/availa-zn
    I have some undetected issues (hairloss along the spine/itching on the chest/’no drive’) with my AMs – they are being barfed – get supplementes 3 or 4 times a week – omega 3-6, seeweeds and some herbs (vitamins). Do you think it would be wise to give zinc as a supplement if I follow your calculation instruction? I do see a holistic vet and they are both being treated – the hairloss is almost ‘restored’ (the male) but no succees so far with the itching (the bitch) but none of them has got their ‘drive’ back. Thx in advance 🙂

  29. I run a husky rescue here in Tennessee. My personal dog, Mika, has zinc deficiency. It started when we bought a home that was built in 1975. The water lines are copper in this house. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with it. Anyway, I’ve had her diagnosed as zinc deficient, and I’m 100% positive that’s what we see dealing with. I have her on the zinpro and fish oil. She used to take 1 zinpro tablet per day and it cleared up her raw skin around her eyes. But then it stopped working well so I upped her dose to 2 zinpro tablets. That worked for awhile and her sores around her eyes healed, but it was temporary. I then upped her dose to 3 tablets a day. She’s 50 lbs and I’m afraid to give her more than that, but her eyes started getting red and raw around them again. I feed 4 Health grainfree dog food and the protein in the food is whitefish. Like I said, I’m terrified to up her zinc dose and an back at this article again ( which is SOOOO helpful…it had some great info that not even my vet knew about) and I’m at a loss. My poor beautiful girl looks awful. It hurts me to see her this way. I would love to talk with you further and send you some pictures if you could please email me at theraypack@gmail.com

  30. I’ve speant $3000 now on my husky’s zinc issues, biopsy, antibiotics and supplements and it always comes back. Well it’s back now so I’m gonna try Zinc Citrate now and see if it helps.
    Have tried Zinpro and Zinc G.
    I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

    • Well 12 days on the Zinc Citrate fron Amazon and its not better, its getting worse. Spreading
      I will continue citrate but from what im seeing this is not going to work for my Husky.

      • What happened in our case is when it was first diagnosed and we started zinc supplements, it kept getting worse for almost a month, then it started healing. It healed about 90%, and now it’s getting so much worse again. It has been a total of 18 months. pics on cesarslife.com There’s nothing else on the website anyways. I’m just trying to gather info regarding other cases and share my dog’s case with the hope that it might help.

  31. Hello!

    Wonderful article with a lot of good information. I’m a little confused though- when it comes to calculating your dogs daily intake. With the formula, you said a 50 lb dog could safely take in about 25mg per day. However, with a sweet potato being 100mg per day, do we assume that due to the fact they only absorb between 15-40% that our dog is only taking in 15mg to 40mg from the potato? Is that enough to supplement their diet by adding a food high in Zinc to their diet daily? How do we be sure we don’t over due the Zinc dosage with food additions?

  32. I don’t know how many times I’ve read the three article zinc deficiency series, esp. this one, since my boy was diagnosed with ZRD. Thanks so much for all the effort you have been putting into this blog to share your experiences with us Margit.

  33. Deborah Rouse on

    We adopted a brother sister pair that the former owner had owned since they were puppies. She said they have “wolf” in them. They look to be a husky wolf mix. We’ve had them for about four years now, feeding them “Taste of the Wild” which has zinc proteate and zinc sulfate in it. Two weeks ago the female was lacking her usual sparkle, and wanted to lie around…. not at all usual for her. Upon examination at the vet her platelets were found to be dangerously low. She was pit on antibiotics in case the cause was tick bite induced, and also 30 mg of Prednisone every 12 hours. At week 1 her platelet level had risen, but at week 2, the 23rd of November, the level had dropped again. Another immunosuppressant has been added which we’ll begin today after the prescription is filled. I found your information while looking up illnesses inherent to wolf/husky mix dogs.
    If possible, can you tell me what you think of “Taste of the Wild” dog food in general? And if it is an acceptable food, is the zinc in it enough? From your article we know the zinc sulfate isn’t absorbed but is the zinc protein ate? And if so, is it enough? We are praying that lack of zinc may be the problem in achieving and maintaining remission.

  34. Ok so after a couple weeks on Citrate it was looking to be working some. It was not the easiest to get my Husky to take them tho and he was a little lethargic as if they might be bothering him.
    I have since switched to NutriVed Zinpro for Dogs. They are small beef flavored chewable pills. Can be found on Amazon, reasonable price. My pup is 75lbs I am giving him 4 pills per day. It’s helping pretty well. I’d say he’s 80% healed and not scratching it any longer. As well he has no problem taking them.
    I’m praying I have this sorted as it’s been very frustrating.
    I hope you all the best with dealing with this issue as I know how sad this can be for your Husky pup.
    I’ll check back in if any changes.

  35. Also, I need some clarification please. You stated that zinc toxicity starts at about 220mgs to 400 something if given in one dose. My Sibe receives roughly 250 – 300 mgs twice a day naturally from her raw meals (K9 Natural) following the logic that 100 grams of meat equates to 100 mgs of zinc. (My AUSSIE more since he eats more) Is there something I am not understanding? It would sound dangerous to up her levels any more with added food or supplements but she does show some minor signs of deficiency now. Please help and clarify what I can do or am doing right/ wrong. Thank you.

  36. Margit, I was just at the vet with our 13.5 year old neutered male. His miniscreen came back with ALT of 288. This is indicative of liver function problems. She suggested an antibiotic and Hills prescription l/d. We feed iams healthy naturals chicken barley… No soy. The Hills has soybean meal as the fourth ingredient. I’m unsure what to do. The vet is a close friend but probably doesn’t know about the zinc stuff. He has had ongoing issues with one eye that has been injured in the past being constantly goopy and his lower lip being crusty and sore by his incisors. Other than that his skin and fur seem fine. Any suggestions would be welcome.

  37. Well unfortunately the NutriVed Zinpro is no longer working or I have had a couple of bad batches. Zinc issue is back and getting worse, spreading. Bummed I thought I finally had this sorted out. 🙁
    Going to go back to Citrate or might try Picolinate as I read it helped in some cases.

    I’ll report back findings.

    • *Update
      2 weeks on Picolinate and not getting any better but not getting much worse. Going to finish out this week, if not getting better going back to Citrate.

  38. *Update
    Picolinate did work ok after a while but after 3 weeks only 70% cleared so I went back to Citrate which was having decent results before I switched
    Been on Citrate now for a good 3 weeks and I would say it’s 85% cleared up 🙂
    Giving my Husky who is 75lbs 3 pills/day. They are the Solgar Zinc Citrate Vegetable Capsules, 30 Mg, 100 Count found on Amazon. My pup is not having any issues digestively with them.

    @Mitchell I give my Husky Milk Bones every now and then and do not seem to be a problem but if you even suspect it switch those out. Many other choices out there. Best of luck to you sorting this out.

  39. Hello Margit, we own a Canadian Inuit (Eskimo) dog, that we got from Alberta almost 6 years ago. Since when she was a puppy she had vomit and soft feces. When se grew up the situation got worse and she started vomiting almost every day and she kept having the same problems, especially flatulence, colitis, gastritis, etc. After many test and endless trips to several vets she has been diagnosed with IBD. They cured the acute phase with cortisone, antibiotics and immunosuppressants, the situation got better but never completely resolved. She keeps having diarrhoea, soft feces, flatulence, sometimes vomit, plus she manifested several apparently unrelated symptoms like: bursitis, vaginitis, perianal fistula, eye inflammation. We tested her for giardia and other parasites but all the tests were negative. We also tried different raw diets but we never quite get to a good point. Reading your articles, especially the first one where you describe the zinc malabsorption and deficiency problems was like reading our story. Do you know this breed? Do you know if they have a higher level of zinc need depending on their very primitive genetic structure? These dogs live mostly in the arctic area of Canada, some in England, ours in Italy and some in Switzerland. Globally there is a small number of them and many line breedings are known to have been made, probably causing also a genetic predisposition towards some kinds of illness. Do you have any scientific articles that we may forward to our vets? They don’t have a direct experience with nordic dogs and they are struggling to find a solution, probably focusing on the effects rather than the real cause. Moreover the weather here is getting warmer and warmer. We (in Italy) rarely go below -3/-4° in the winter and most of the times in the summer we are above 33/34°. At the present moment she is on a diet of 600 grams of ground chicken, 400 grams of ground bones (chicken carcass), 3 spoons of sunflower oil, 6 grams of fish oil and a tea spoon of psyllium. This is a website we create about this breed a couple of years ago: http://www.canadianinuitdogs.com. Thanks a lot. Fabrizio.

  40. Hi!
    I was wondering if there was some sort of topical cream/lotion I can use on my husky to help relieve some of his itching? I have been supplementing him on a Zinpro formula and I have seen improvements!!! Every now and then he gets a flare up, so Im guessing the dosage isnt quite right yet. But just hoping to find a topical to help during these flareups. Thank you!

  41. Carrie,

    I have tried different topical creams from lotion to prescribed creams from the Vet, none of them helped, might have made it worse.
    Have you tired Zinc Citrate?
    It is working wonders for my Husky, 95% cleared up now. I have dropped the dosage to 2 pills/day. 60mg.
    Solgar Zinc Citrate Vegetable Capsules

  42. I have him on a mix on the Zinpro and Zinc Gluconate (from the article) due to trying to find something cheaper then buying Zinpro all the time, but just as effective. It seem to be working the Zinc Gluconate they are 50 mg pills. The vet said I can put him on at least 60-90 mg per day. I have him around the 90 mg mark. Perhaps I should up it?? He weighs 71 pounds. He just still itches his ears where I can see and feel the rash.

  43. Carrie,

    I have tried both those, Zinpro and Gluconate as well as Picolinate and nothing has worked as well as Solgar Zinc Citrate. We have struggled with this for almost 2 years now and so glad to have found something that so far has worked very well.
    I really encourage you to give 90mg of Solgar Zinc Citrate a try for 3-4 weeks.

  44. Awesome!! Thank you for this advice Jake. I will definitely give that version a try. Like you, I have been trying everything, even diet changes, etc…to help this go away. Just when it seemed to be clearing up it would come back. I hope the Solgar Zinc Citrate is the winner!! 🙂

  45. Hi there! So many good comments and a very informative article. I have a purebred male husky (Niko) who is about 15 months old… he’s had off and on diarrhea but more and more I’m wondering if there is an underlying issue, now wondering if it could be related to zinc. He’s had full rounds of bloodwork and everything seems ok. My vet started to think of Addison’s Disease but then additional bloodwork seems to eliminate that. I feed Niko a 5-star food, Salmon Tunalini from Fromm, so I wouldn’t have thought this would be the issue. But, I was wondering if you could elaborate a bit about the sensitive stomachs of husky’s and what you may recommend. I was recently approached on a walk with my dog by an individual who was a rep for BilJac and asked if he had a sensitive stomach, that she has had many snow dog breeds being switched to their food and seemingly eliminating this. However, BilJac doesn’t have as good of ratings, etc, so I’m hesitant to try that. Any words of wisdom or recommendations would be appreciated! Thanks

  46. Hi there,

    I am wondering where you have sourced your information for the total amounts of ZINC in particular foods.
    Currently from my own research i have (100grams):

    BEEF: 12.3mg/100g (at best)
    CHICKEN: 5mg/100g (up to 7mg, but as low as 1.3mg – again dependent on cut of meat)
    DUCK: 1.9-2.6mg/100g
    PORK: 5mg/100g
    SALMON: 0.4mg/100g
    TURKEY: 4.53mg/100g
    LAMB: 12.3mg/100g
    LIVER: 12mg/100g (veal) 4.2.8.8mg/100 (lamb)

    Currently i don’t even want to go on as your quantities are so unreasonably high that i am scared of what i will fins when i get down to the lower valued foods… From you values, i can only assume that you have mistaken calories /100g for zinc/100g

    Could you please correct me if i am wrong with this

    Thanks,

    Kate

  47. Hi my husky has sores around his eyes and it was one at first but now its both i clean them with saline water and it helps a little bit but it does not heal fast and he’s been in a cone of so long what can i do for him?

  48. Shauna, take the pup to the Vet. Mention about Husky Zinc Deficiency, see if they know of it. To be 100% sure that’s the issue you would need a biopsy and make sure they check for Zinc Deficiency in the biopsy.
    That being said it would not hurt the dog at all to start giving it a Zinc supplement. Again, I have tried many different Zinc supplements and the one that fixed up my pup and still does to this day is Solgar Zinc Citrate found on Amazon. My Husky weighs 75lbs and I give him 3 pills/day, 90mg.
    if you do not have access to Amazon or need it right away you may go to a Vitamin shop near you and look for any Zinc Citrate.

  49. Same problem with my dog. Took her to the vet and the first time I went there I asked about zinc deficiency. They said “no, I’m sure it’s not that, we’ve never had a case of that before.” (My guess is that they probably have had cases of it but never diagnosed it correctly.) They then prescribed antibiotics which didn’t help. Next, they prescribed antifungal medication. The antifungal med was something that could be damaging to the liver so she had to have her liver screened first.

    After a couple weeks on this stuff with no improvement, I stopped it and started trying the different zinc types listed here. This was also around the time when the crusty areas started and got really bad around her eyes, which made me more and more sure that it was zinc deficiency. In the beginning, it was only around the nose, then spread to the mouth, later the eyes and the inside of one ear. Also during this time, we had samples of her bad areas checked by a dermatologist, who confirmed there was no fungal infection.

    I started with Zinpro, but no improvement after a few weeks. Next tried the Solgar zinc citrate (30mg morning, 30mg midday and 30mg at night, total 90mg per day) but still no improvement after a few weeks. Then tried zinc gluconate, which is what is in Nutrazinc but I just bought regular zinc gluconate at the store. 50mg in the morning and 50mg at night. This finally worked and she started having a lot of improvement, much faster than with the other types, and is almost all better now. The sores/crusty areas around the eyes is the main giveaway to this problem, but I don’t think many vets have experience with this. I wasted about $350 at the vet, and they never even looked into or considered zinc deficiency even though I asked them about it at the very first visit. My dog was also put on medication that can be damaging to the liver, for nothing.

    It is also frustrating because it can take weeks to see real improvement after starting zinc supplementation, and you may have to experiment with different types and amounts, as what works for one dog might not work for another. We struggled with this altogether for about 4 months.

  50. PS… neither the vet nor the dermatologist really knew anything about zinc deficiency, I referred my vet to this website to read up on it 🙂 (which she did, and ended up agreeing with me that it was the problem) This is a vet I have gone to for years and they are normally extremely competent and knowledgeable, but not with this.

  51. Kim Baldwin on

    My son has a wolf hybrid mixed with husky that has been having a seizure about every 6 months for 2 years. It seems to coincide with when her heat would come he’s noticed. She is spayed. But I have a question. Since copper is a zinc antagonist in people, do you think it could be from the copper piping in the home he lives in now. It didn’t start until he moved into a home with copper piping and I’ve read in people, an overload of copper will deplete your zinc. He is going to start supplementing with zinc, but I thought that may be making things worse. I appreciate your reply. Thanks!

  52. Hi, I have a 21/2 year old male Siberian Husky. He has had diarrhea since my son got him from a pet store at 4 months. Everything seems to bother his stomach. We have tried everything and have been to numerous specialists. We’ve had ultra sounds blood work x-rays etc. we’ve tried every kind of food and we get bad diarrhea. The only thing that seems to work for now is Science Diet WD. We did try a fish oil supplement from the eye specialists for the cataracts but it was making him throw up. When he does get a bad bout of diarrhea he get metronidazole. He constantly wants to eat grass… He doesn’t get table food, bones etc as I don’t want to upset him. I would appreciate any suggestions…
    Thanks!!

  53. My Husky also had diarrhea for a while when he was little and I found going to a grain free dry food helped a bunch. The one that worked the best for him was Wellness. They have probiotics in the food which really helps with diarrhea.
    We were using this:
    Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Turkey & Potato Natural Dry Dog Food, 26-Pound Bag https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007M0J462/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_aG4KxbXNDW9MC
    I have since switched to Wellness Core food, no issues.

  54. My Husky has a terrible case of ZRD (The worst her dermatologist has ever seen, and I haven’t been able to find any photos online to her degree). When it was at it’s worst, she had almost completely lost all of her hair. I created an instagram account, in the hopes of helping others, or being helped, by those who are dealing with the same issue.

    https://www.instagram.com/khaleesi_dog/

    For those interested, I updated progress/feeding/supplements/medicine with the comments.

    I hope all of your babies are healing, too!!

  55. Ashley Godfrey on

    Thank you for this article. I rescued a GSD almost 6 years ago, now. We have been through heck and back trying to get her healthy. Switched to a PMR diet, which helped a good bit. After discovering she had chicken allergies, grain allergies, environmental allergies, and seasonal allergies…on top of undiagnosed ehrlichiosis, we thought we had her skin issues well under control. Got all those issues addressed, and she still had recurrent yeast infections and hair loss. Turns out, it was a zinc deficiency. She even has the gnarly paw pads to go with it. Poor girl. I love my dog, and I have been doing all I can to get her well. We were adding oysters and salmon oil to her diet for the longest, but my vet recently recommended we just give her a pill. So, after googling, your article came up. Thank you for helping me find the best zinc supplement for my dog. I know she will miss the 4-5 oysters she got everyday, but this is cheaper and less smelly. 🙂 I am so thankful!

  56. Have 5 huskies never had any skin issues. They are 3 and 4 years old never ever had a bath outside of dip in kiddie pool i summer and snow roll in winter. Don,t get flea or tick treatments either occassional ticks are manually removed. Rabies vaccine is only vaccine they get. They eat a varied diet of people food mostly with good kibble for snack. People food of approximately 6-8oz daily of chicken thighs , lamb, meat mostly with good tablespoon of vegetables some beef and pork. Get cheese daily and yogurt. Also give them 2-3 inch raw marrow bone 3-4 times a week if its not absolutely fresh its dipped in boiling water for 2 minutes to kill surface bacteria.
    I believe skin issues arise from poor diets like dry kibble no creature wants to live on cereal for all its life. Change diet and you will change problems

    • That’s not always the case. My dog is on a balanced prey-model raw diet, and she still has a zinc deficiency.

  57. This is the best article I came across I know now for sure my husky 10 month old pup has a zinc problem I will be trying this. Thank you so much. Skye says thank you too

  58. I do not have a husky but my black lab border collie mix has been diagnosed with zinc deficiency about a month ago. She is on zinpro tablets and she currently is fed Acana.

  59. So my Husky’s Zinc is has returned a bit badly as it seems the 3 Solgar Zinc Citrate are no longer helping or he has become immune to them.
    Can anyone sure what exact Zinc they are using that has had positive effects?

    I have tried Zinc Methionine, Gluconate and Citrate so far. Going to to try Zinc Picolinate now.

    • Not getting very good results with Zinc Picolinate.
      Anyone have a certain type and/or brand that has helped?

  60. My 8 year old Malamute is losing hair in tail and hind end on both sides. He is on a no grain diet, Taste of the Wild. I supplement with salmon, tuna and he likes carrots. I just started 50Mg chelated zinc pill supplement. He is 100 pounds….Do you think this is OK…..Please advise

    • Michele Nimmo on

      That is more of a sign of Thyroid problems than ZRD. Thyroid issues is in the breed…have you had him checked? Dr Jean Dodds at Hemopet does the most reliable testing. Info available on her site

      • Yes, he has been on thyroid pills for three years. Every year his levels are checked…That is why I was thinking of zinc…Any other ideas?

  61. durga prasad nair on

    Excellent guidelines and guidance. Thank you. My 8 month old Husky, now I know, is suffering from Zinc deficiency and our local vet was treating it for fungal infection at the nose, paws and eyes, exactly as the snap shown in this article. Thank you. Will now take better care of our Alaska. Fortunately my other two dogs, a Bull Mastiff and a White Lab did not contract this.

  62. Great article! Just to let you know my experience with a Siberian that was diagnosed with ZRD a few years ago. It took me almost two years to get this condition under control with my dog. I tried a number of different types of zinc and nothing worked on him. I then found Thompson’s Organic Zinc Gluconate. I started him on 4x 105mg (total equiv. 60mg zinc) daily of these zinc tablets and he was also put on antibiotics for a month by my vet due to a secondary infection he had developed on his muzzle. I still give him 2x zinc tablets twice a day, 1x 1000mg fish oil tablet once a day, he is on a grain free diet and I also feed him zinc rich foods every day. Three years on and he has no issues with his ZRD, no scratching or lesions and his coat is beautifully healthy. Zinc Gluconate is also kind on the stomach and he has had no stomach upsets while taking it. You could try sourcing this zinc supplement online depending on where you live.

  63. Thank you. This article prepared me for my disappointing vet visit. My Malamute is almost 5 and shows signs or ZRD. He is also Hypothryoid and has been on thyroid medication for the last 3 years. The vet felt he had lupus and tried to prescribe steroids. I said NO.
    I insisted they test his zinc levels which they acted like was not necessary. The test came back at .55 with .7 being the low end of normal. They contacted a local dog dermatologist and he recommended zinpro. They want to do a base line red blood cell count and test again in 4 months. They want to re-test zinc in 2 months and want me to increase his thyroid dosage. His latest thyroid test was 2.1 which they originally told me was in a good range. Now they are saying it’s too low.

    I am feeling very unsure and uncomfortable with the vet care but don’t know what vet to go to for this issue.. I did start him on zinpro chewable tablets last night. It says 1 tablet per 20lbs of dog. My dog is 150lbs so that is a lot of tablets! I gave him 4 last night which I had to hide in pieces of hot dog since he is very picky. This morning he is sick to his stomach and lethargic. Won’t eat his breakfast and I had to force the thyroid pill down his throat. I’m so confused. Why do I need all these tests? Why do I need to increase his thyroid med and start him on zinc at the same time? shouldn’t I just start with the zinc and see how he responds? He has been on high quality chicken and pea or salmon and pea by Nutri source for a long time. I supplement his diet with salmon and sometimes beef or chicken.

    I’m kind of overwhelmed with all of this.
    Is there anything zinc supplement out there that doesn’t require 8 tablets a day and won’t upset his stomach? Should I increase the thyroid dosage? Does he really need all those tests?

  64. My 8 year old malamute thyroid doesn’t function and for three years has been on synthroid and it works, He was about 145 pounds when I noticed the problem and now is 105 and eats the same or even more. Every year I check his thyroid levels through my vet and blood tests. However, about a year ago he bagan to lose tail and but hair and so went to a specialist in animal dermatology. They tested for hormones and put him on some type of medication, noth8ig worked. So not satisfied, I put him on 50mg zinc daily, melatonin and fish oil besides his food. I use taste of the wild. After two months his hair is coming back quite well with no side affects. Hope this helps.

  65. Back to having issues again.
    Now on Zinc Picolinate, 150mg/day and taking a 1 inch piece of raw beef liver everyday as that has been mentioned to help.
    Very frustrating.

    • I’m switching to the only rec Zinc I have yet to try, Chelated. I will report back with my findings

    • Greg, TY. I’m hoping this works out. Is there a certain brand you found to be better? I’m giving Country Life Zinc 50 mg (amino Acid Chelate) a try as others have mentioned that brand did well with their Husky.

  66. I am using a similar brand KAL 50mg. You should be OK….I also give fish oil and melatonin tab every day…Also , once a week I mix two cap fulls of Nuetrogena body oil in a quart spray bottle and bath the effected areas which seems to soften the skin…

    • Greg, Thanks so much for the info. Really appreciate it.
      No improvement yet being on Chelated but It’s only been 3 days so far.

  67. Karen Morton on

    Thankyou for this article, is it better to add kelp to the food of purchase a good zinc supplement? Karen

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