When Allergies Aren’t Allergies: The Zinc Connection

Is your dog incessantly scratching and gnawing their skin? It’s easy to chalk it up to allergies but it could be something else entirely. One such common issue is zinc deficiency, and it’s often mistaken for allergies.

Zinc is the skin’s best friend. It’s essential for forming new skin cells and repairing damaged tissue. A deficiency can lead to a range of health issues for your dogs, especially affecting their skin. This condition is known as Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis. It’s a sneaky culprit that usually hides in plain sight.

Your pup’s scratching and itching might mean they’re low in zinc. Let’s decode what it means, its most common symptoms, and how to differentiate it from pesky allergies.

What is Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis?

Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis or Canine Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis (CZRD), is a skin problem that can affect dogs when they don’t get enough zinc in their diet. Sometimes it’s also because some have an impaired ability to absorb and utilise zinc from their food. This can manifest through an array of skin and coat problems, impacting their overall well-being.

There are 3 types of Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis. Type 1 usually happens in dogs when their guts struggle to soak up zinc. It’s common in certain breeds, like the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute.

Type 2 is caused by dietary issues and mostly affects gigantic breeds. Diets that are supplemented or high in phytates, phosphorus, or calcium inhibits the body’s ability to absorb zinc.

Type 3 or Generic Food Disease stems from your dog’s diet. When dogs eat food that’s low on zinc, not meeting the recommended minimum.

Zinc deficiency can be addressed through a nutritious diet, which not only provides essential nourishment but also serves as a defence against potential skin problems. A complete diet like boneve dry dog food and our latest freeze-dried raw are fortified with zinc to support the maintenance of healthy skin, and reduce the likelihood of allergies.

Common symptoms

Figuring out whether it’s allergies or Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis can be a bit tricky. They both share some similar symptoms, after all. But don’t worry, here’s how you can tell them apart.

Dry, flaky skin
Because zinc plays a huge role in keeping skin healthy, lack of it makes the skin dry, flaky, and itchy.

Scruffy, dull fur
No more soft and shiny fur. Your dog’s coat could turn coarse and thin, and they’ll shed more than usual.

Hair loss
Especially around the eyes, snout, and paws. This can result in patchy or uneven hair growth.

Crusty, scaly spots
Some dogs end up with these odd, crusty spots on their skin. They’re usually more noticeable on the face and paws.

Red, irritated skin
The skin can get all red and angry, with some areas being really uncomfortable. Sometimes, this can even cause infections from nasty bacteria or fungi.

Sores and Ulcers
In really bad cases, dogs might develop painful sores and ulcers on their skin, especially in places that rub or press against things a lot. Ouch!

Bumps (Pustules and papules)
It’s the little raised bumps on the skin. Some are filled with yucky pus, like doggy pimples, while others are just hard, like tiny skin speed bumps.

Thick paw pads
The paw pads can get all thick and grow bigger than they should. That’s not comfy for the dog at all!

In a nutshell, Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis usually presents with skin lesions and other symptoms, while allergies manifest as itching, redness, ear infections, sneezing, watery eyes, and gastrointestinal problems.

Ensuring your pets receive the appropriate levels of this vital mineral is paramount for their health and happiness. Whether it’s for strong immunity, a shiny coat, or overall vitality, zinc plays a crucial role.

Don’t forget to chat with your vet! They can figure out just how much zinc your pet’s need and make sure their diet is spot on. That way, you can keep skin worries at bay and have a happy, healthy furry pal.