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Why is there zinc in my dog’s food?


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Dr. Lauren Brickman writes a pet health and care column for Read all the Q&As she’s shared with Petfinder here.

Q: In the American Profile insert for May 4-10, your “Ask the Vet” piece warns against “creams with zinc” because of “red blood cell problems.” Isn’t zinc is an essential nutrient for pets and added to pet foods to promote good health? Can you explain this?

A: The amount of zinc in your dog’s food is not enough to be toxic. In order for zinc, or many other ingredients, to be toxic, they must be ingested in high doses.

If a large-enough quantity of zinc is ingested, it can cause hemolytic
anemia. This means that the red blood cells burst open and cannot
function properly. For example, pennies made after 1983 are over 97%
zinc. If swallowed by an animal this can be enough to cause an anemia.
Certain creams can also be a problem if enough is ingested.

If you have questions about your pet’s health, you can submit them to
Dr. Lauren at

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