Zinc deficiency in the dog most commonly occurs as a skin condition that is called ‘zinc responsive dermatosis.’ The disease is divided into two different syndromes. One affects huskies and malamutes and the other affects puppies on zinc-deficient diets or diets that are over-supplemented with calcium. Malamutes and huskies have a difficult time absorbing zinc, and if they are stressed or fed a diet high in plant sources or high in calcium they may develop this condition. The usual symptoms are hair loss, and scaling and crusting of the skin around the face, head, and legs. Lesions often encircle the mouth, chin, eyes, and ears. The foot pads may be scaly and the haircoat is dull and dry. Puppies fed a deficient diet may also show these symptoms but may also be lethargic, anorexic, and be prone to secondary infections. Diagnosis is usually made by history, physical exam, and response to zinc supplementation. Treatment with a zinc supplement usually resolves these symptoms within several weeks.
There should no side effects from zinc supplementation.