Trace Elements For Dogs: Everything You Need To Know

Nutrients are essential for the body to function. Among the most needed (but least known) are trace elements.
Trace elements for dogs: everything you need to know

Trace elements for dogs are among the different components of a balanced diet, necessary for the animal’s physiological and psychological well-being. Therefore, its lack or excess can lead to the emergence of long-term diseases.

Would you know what trace elements are and why they are important in the dog’s body? If you want to know the answer to this and other questions that may arise in relation to this topic, read on.

What are trace elements?

Trace elements are defined as mineral substances that act in numerous metabolic reactions. Despite its importance, the concentrations of these elements required by the organism for its functioning stand out for being very small.

Trace elements for dogs are essential for their survival.

How are trace elements ingested?

The body receives the necessary trace elements mainly through food. However, the amount of trace elements ingested is different from the proportion that are available to the body. This is mainly due to the degree of absorption of each of them, as well as several factors, including:

  • The chemical form in which they were ingested.
  • Food conditions.
  • Interactions between different trace elements. Two or more compete with each other, which makes certain processes in the organism difficult. For example, calcium absorption is influenced by the presence of zinc.

Trace elements for dogs

Among the various trace elements that the body must incorporate in the diet, some stand out for their functions. For example, three specific trace elements are related to hair or skin disorders in animals. We’ll talk about them below.


Copper deficiency is seen mainly in dogs, more than in adult individuals. More specifically in animals that are fed homemade rations and without fortified supplements.

This imbalance can also be caused by eating foods that are excessively rich in calcium, iron, or zinc. Regarding the effects perceived on the animal, the changes in the coat stand out, which are manifested as follows:

  • Hair discoloration. This loss of color starts in the face and can spread to the rest of the body.
  • Decrease in coat density.
  • Dry, lifeless fur.


Zinc deficiency in dogs can be caused by poor quality foods, specifically foods rich in whole grains and high in bran, which contain large amounts of antioxidant compounds, which retain zinc. They act as sequestering agents for the metal and prevent the body from taking advantage of it.

Foods rich in minerals also influence their deficiency in the body, although it may be related to the fact that the dog has problems assimilating zinc. Regardless of the case, zinc participates in several metabolic processes. Therefore, its lack in the body leads to immune and skin problems.


In addition to zinc and copper, another trace element to be considered is iron. This mineral is essential in many biological processes and is present in all body cells, as well as in specific molecules.

In particular, most of the iron is found in the proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin, which have several functions in the body. The first is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, while the second transports it to muscle cells.

Only 5-10% of the iron ingested with food is used by the animal’s metabolism. On the other hand, its excess in the blood is toxic to the organism and its absence causes the appearance of anemia.

In dogs, anemia rarely results from a dietary deficit of this trace element. Its appearance is related to chronic blood loss, presence of parasites or hemorrhages.

Other trace elements for dogs

In addition to the trace elements mentioned above, the body requires the presence of others. The following stand out:

  • Cobalt.
  • Chrome.
  • Fluorine.
  • Manganese.
  • Selenium.
  • Iodine.

Lack of trace elements

Nutritional deficiencies of specific nutrients can lead to different types of pathologies. Furthermore, they are divided into two categories: specific and non-specific.

Nutritional deficiencies are classified as specific when they affect a specific nutrient or group of specific nutrients. On the other hand, nutritional deficiencies are non-specific when they are linked to 3 different factors:

  • Malnutrition.
  • Incomplete or insufficient digestion of food.
  • Typical animal absorption problems.

Furthermore, it is known that nutritional problems negatively influence the state of the animal’s coat and skin. For this reason, if the dog’s diet lacks trace elements, the animal may have several skin disorders.

A dog eating a carrot.

In conclusion, trace elements for dogs are essential for the correct functioning of the body. However, the amounts needed are minimal and both dietary deficiency and excess should be avoided.

If you think your pet needs dietary supplements, you should always consult your veterinarian before routinely administering them. Only the specialist can make a diagnosis of the dog and indicate an effective treatment.

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