Nutritional deficiencies in dogs are hindrances for our fur-babies to live a happier and longer life. Our dogs need a diet that will provide them with all the nutrients they need, but what if we aren't giving them everything they need?
Here, we've come up with a list of what nutrients your dog needs, what he lacks, and what you can do to manage nutritional deficiencies in dogs.
THE NUTRIENTS YOUR DOG NEEDS
The following are what your fur-baby's body needs for his day-to-day survival:
- Water. For hydration and rehydration.
- Vitamins. For healthy skin, strong teeth, healthy body organs, increased energy to perform body functions well, etc
- Minerals. For the proper development of bones, cartilage, and nerve functions, fluid balance regulation, proper transportation of the blood in the bloodstream, hormone production, etc
- Protein. For building and repairing muscles and body tissues, forming new skin cells, hair growth, energy production, and for boosting the immune system, etc.
- Fats. For proper absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K, for a shiny coat, for proper production of prostaglandin (a hormone that helps reduce inflammation), etc.
- Carbohydrates. For adequate energy, it can be a source of heat when metabolized, cab help control the blood's glucose level, can aid in weight management, etc.
These are all essential for your fur-baby's wellness. If your fur-baby is low in even one of these for quite a long time already (six months or so), it can prevent your dog's body from functioning well and this is where nutritional deficiency comes in.
Nutritional deficiencies are a bit hard to tell especially if your dog seems to look just fine and healthy. But long term deficiencies that have not been addressed can greatly affect your dog, leading to more serious health concerns.
DETECTING NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES IN DOGS
Nutritional deficiencies in dogs must be taken very seriously. The following are the types of deficiencies your dog may develop and its symptoms.
Vitamins are micronutrients. Meaning? Your dog needs them but must be given in small proportions. Vitamin deficiency will greatly depend on what kind of nutrients is lacking and on how it functions in the body. Some major signs of vitamin deficiency are the following:
- Sudden loss of appetite
- Discoloration of the tongue
- Negative changes in the skin and coat
- Blood clot problems
- Neurological problems
- A sudden decrease in body temperature
Protein plays an important role in your fur-baby's body. It builds, maintains, and repairs tissues in the body for it to function properly. It is also vital as the immune system's antibodies are developed by protein.
A dog with protein deficiency may have the following major symptoms:
- Inability to reproduce. Too low sperm count, absence of heat cycle, abnormal ovulation.
- Developmental disorders. Disorders from birth that may have been inherited or congenital like developmental orthopedic disease, skeletal abnormalities, etc.
- Recurring diseases due to immune deficiency.
- Muscle mass loss. Lack of protein leads to muscle loss; dogs that lose weight too much can make your dog appear weaker and can cause him to get easily affected by illnesses.
- Negative changes in the skin and coat. Skin and coat will appear dry, flaky, and dull.
Minerals, like vitamins, are also micronutrients. And the symptoms will also depend on what mineral is lacking. Main symptoms include:
- Anemia. Deficiency of red blood cells in the blood, resulting in tiredness, pale gums, fatigue, some bruising on the skin, dark stools
- Recurring infections. This can signify that your fur-baby's body lacks minerals to sustain and boost his imune system
- Weakness, lethargy
- Dry skin and abnormal shedding
- Growth disorders. These disorders include abnormal posture, severe obesity, painful joints, bowed legs, hip dysplasia, etc.
Carbohydrates are considered as macronutrients and their main role is to provide energy to your active and curious fur-baby. A dog who lacks carbohydrates will become tired and weak. If your fur-baby is not provided with enough carbohydrates he needs, his body will begin to use fats as the source of energy. It seems fine, but the downside? The fats that are used as an energy source create ketone bodies known as metabolic wastes and are harmful to the body.
How to know your dog has carbohydrate deficiency? His breath begins to smell like acetone.
WHAT TO DO IF MY DOG HAS A NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY?
Consult your vet. As mentioned, if you notice one or more of the major symptoms above, it is very important that you consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible for him to conduct tests, make a specific diagnosis and provide a proper treatment plan.
Provide supplements. With professional advice from your vet, you can provide your fur-baby with supplements that will fill in your dog's nutritional deficiency. But make sure you only provide the best dog supplement like Pet Parents® Dog Supplements that are specifically designed to be results-driven & optimal for your fur-baby’s health and nutrition. Pet Parents® also offers multivitamin supplements that give your fur-baby a grand blend of ingredients that help support daily health in one little tasty chew.
Each nutrient group has different key roles in a fur baby's body. Multivitamins offer all-around wellness for your customer’s dog. It promotes healthy skin & coat and at the same time supports hip and joint wellness, boosts the immune system, and improves appetite
Nutritional deficiency in dogs is a serious health problem when not given attention immediately. But the key to avoiding this is to make sure you are able to provide your dog enough nutrients to fuel him for a happier and healthier life.