December 14, 2017

Nutritional Deficiencies In Dogs

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Just like people, dogs can develop nutritional deficiencies due to specific ingredients missing from or added to their diet or because of some health condition or disease. Knowing what to watch out for can help you minimize the risk that this may occur with your pet and can also help you talk to your vet about the dog’s diet or health issues. In some cases not eating the right foods or missing out on some important elements in the diet can even result in significant behavioral changes in the dog that may be difficult to pinpoint if you don’t take the diet into consideration.

There are two different types of behavioral issues that can be caused by or made worse by nutritional deficiencies. One common behavior seen when there is something lacking in the diet is a condition known as pica. Pica involves the dog eating non edible items. This is not the same as problem chewing; the dog is actually chewing the items to eat them, not just to deal with boredom. Dogs that have behavioral changes that include pica often eat dirt, non food garbage items and small objects in the home. Not all pica is caused by dietary issues as some cases can be caused by stress, anxiety or disease.

Coprophagia is another horrible issue for dogs and their owners to deal with. This is the eating of feces, either their own, other dogs or other animals. Coprophagia can be caused by a deficiency in Vitamin B as well as worms or intestinal parasites or poor absorption of nutrients by the digestive system. It can also become a habit and is often seen when puppies are kept in dirty kennels or when dogs are kenneled for longer than reasonable to prevent them from eliminating in their crate or home area.

Dogs that have epilepsy often have more significant and more frequent seizures if they have nutritional deficiencies. Often dogs that are deficient in amino acids and proteins in the diet are more prone to seizures either on or off seizure medication. While simply changing the diet will not prevent seizures it is worth discussing with your vet to attempt to minimize or control the severity of the seizures in conjunction with treatment.

Anemia, a lack of red blood cells, can occur because of nutritional deficiencies. This is a slow developing condition that is often masked by other health issues and can easily be overlooked in a diagnosis if more obvious health issues are prominent. In general iron deficiencies are not the most common cause of anemia in dogs, rather it can develop from a loss of Vitamin B absorption, lack of folic acid or lack of appropriate protein in the diet.

Other dietary or nutritional deficiencies can also lead to dental problems, bone and joint problems as well as skin conditions and eye problems. Feeding a balanced diet and monitoring your dog for any significant changes in behavior or health is essential. Be sure to check in with your vet if you notice any changes and be sure to mention any changes, recent or more distant, in food type or even in brand, this can sometimes be the issue and a relatively simple fix.

Article provided by Karen Tate of, look for new specials on large dog beds online.

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