The old dog

It has been brought to my attention lately that a number of aging Inuit sled dogs were lacking energy on and off, that they were having goop in the eyes, not just a waking up goop, but a real yellowish abundant matter, that some were having loss of hair with consequent skin irritation. Vets, who on the whole know very little about the Inuit dog, didn’t recognize a simple problem: lack of zinc.

While the dogs are young a 10 mg supplement is enough to boost whatever they get in their food. As they age – and the time varies with their location – they require more zinc.

By the time my dogs reach 9 years I double the dose, 20 mg daily, later 25 mg . Manitoba climate has temperatures of -30° C (-22°F), or below in winter, and up to 32° C (85° F) in summer. Quite a range. This might give you an idea where you’re in that range and decide whether your dogs will age slower or quicker.

If your old dogs have yellowish matter in the eyes, or have coat (like not shedding properly), skin troubles, or lack energy off and on, give each dog 50 mg of zinc daily – I expect you would be cleaning the eyes already, so continue. Improvements will be seen within a week if the zinc deficiency is not too advanced. It’ll take longer if the deficiency has lasted some time. When everything is back in order and the old dog is perky again, 25 mg will be sufficient to maintain his good condition.

Last word: do NOT rely on kibble (even the best quality) to give the Inuit dog all that he needs.