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Iron is essential for dogs too! Are you wondering if your buddy may need supplementation?
Here’s the deal:
Iron deficiency is not common though it’s certainly possible. Sometimes it is a sign of an underlying medical problem.
The vast majority of dogs will get enough of this key mineral from their food.
Giving extra, without a diagnosis, is not only questionable but also potentially dangerous.
Your Dog Should Only Receive Extra Iron For a Confirmed Deficiency
Involve your veterinarian if you are concerned.
If supplementation is required, a good vet will formulate a plan based on your dog’s particular needs.
According to the National Research Council (NRC), an adequate amount of iron is roughly between 2.0 to 2.5 milligrams per 10 pounds of your adult dog’s body weight.
Reasons For an Iron Deficiency
A poor diet is the most common reason an otherwise healthy dog would have insufficient iron.
Blood loss, internally or externally, is another scenario. This can occur, for example, if your dog has a bleeding ulcer.
Puppies are known to have low iron levels if the mother lacks this mineral.
A parasite infestation or a urinary tract infection can cause a deficiency as well.
One thing is absolutely certain:
Too little iron will eventually take it’s toll. Have your dog checked out if you suspect something is wrong!
Low Iron Levels And Anemia
Anemia can develop due to an iron or vitamin B12 deficiency.
You want to identify such a problem early on. The thing is anemia, or low levels of red blood cells, may be a sign of something more serious.
It cannot be stressed enough:
Your vet should be involved!
A treatment plan usually involves more than iron supplementation. Either injectable iron dextran or ferrous sulfate, taken orally, may be prescribed.
The Symptoms To Watch For
Vitamin deficiencies should not be left to linger on.
Here are some signs to lookout for if you suspect that your dog is iron deficient:
- Poor appetite
- Change in stool coloration
- General weakness
Do not delay in getting an evaluation if you observe these.
Blood and/or urine testing can be carried out to determine if additional iron is necessary.
Do not give your dog a supplement based on guesswork. Thankfully, iron toxicity is rare.
Do This Very Basic Check
Examine the inside of your dog’s mouth. Do parts of the tongue or gums appear to be light pink or a whitish color?
If so, that is another indication of iron deficiency. Point out such observations to your vet.
And be sure to carefully evaluate the dog food you are feeding (never a bad idea)!
Iron is Almost Automatic
A quality diet, at least under normal circumstances, will cover your dog’s iron requirements.
Then, you simply need to stick to it and you won’t have to worry.
The Bottom Line
Your dog won’t typically need additional iron beyond the amount in their diet.
An exception would be if there is a medical reason. Something could cause their iron levels to dip.
The best course of action:
Get a diagnosis. When it comes to your dog’s well-being, avoid a hit or miss approach with vitamin supplementation.