Treatment and Diet
High doses of a bioavailable zinc are needed during a breakout. Those include zinc gluconate, zinc picolinate, zinc citrate and zinc methionine. Once the condition is under control, maintenance doses of zinc should be supplemented for life. In severe cases, an infection can set in and a course of antibiotics is needed. Topical zinc-based creams are often beneficial during the healing process.
IMPORTANT! Zinc sulfate and zinc oxide are not bioavailable and are not properly absorbed during the digestive process in dogs. These two zinc forms will not treat ZRD. Zinc contained in zinc sulfate and zinc oxide (both inorganic zinc sources) is rendered unavailable by the dog’s gut. Extra supplementation of these inorganic sources tends to cause digestive upsets such as diarrhea. Also, inorganic chemicals (sulfates and oxides) have a shorter shelf life than organic chemicals, therefore preservatives must be added.
The optimal maintenance dose of zinc is 50 mg based on an average dog weight of 50 lbs (22.5 kg). During a breakout, the dose needs to be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled depending on the severity of the condition. Here are more precise supplementing directions: For dogs suffering from ZRD, supplement 1 to 4 mg/lb body weight or more.
ZINC TOXICITY: Higher doses of bioavailable zinc can be supplemented without the fear of toxicity. Toxicities due to over supplementation are very rare. If animals are fed large amounts of zinc supplements, they may be prone to developing copper and iron deficiencies. However, this condition can usually only be created experimentally.
The dog’s leaky gut must be repaired; therefore, a grain-free diet is a must for dogs suffering from ZRD.
IMPORTANT! Calcium interferes with the absorption of zinc (do not feed bones or dairy to a dog suffering from ZRD).