Seafood often comes up in discussion when talking about dog food. If you are a raw feeder, you surely want to know which fish contain the highest levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids while also having the lowest Mercury content. If you feed commercial food, your primary concern is whether the fish is Ethoxyquin free. You might know that most commonly fed seafood is high in Selenium and Vitamin B12. However, if this is where your search begins and ends, you are overlooking the single greatest source of dietary Zinc available – the Oyster.
The Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets nutritional guidelines for the minimum daily requirements for dogs and puppies. The recommended minimum daily dietary requirement of Zinc is 120mg/kg, not to exceed 1000mg. The demands of sled dogs have been recognized to be higher, with optimum being 150mg/kg of food consumed.
If you’re feeding a commercial diet formulated for All Life Stages, in theory you will have nothing to worry about. Now for our raw feeders and home cooks, it is important to be aware of the difficulty in sourcing Zinc from commonly available foods, without resorting to supplements. For example, 1 pound of raw beef (just under half a kilogram) contains approximately 15-30mg of Zinc. Just 1 ounce of oysters (28 grams – equal to just 3 or 4 oysters) contain roughly 25mg of Zinc. If you’re not feeding oysters, you need to be supplementing! Instead, add those oysters in and you can provide adequate Zinc while also getting the benefit of roughly 150mg of Omega-3 Fatty Acids per 28 grams of oysters fed.
For those of you that comb through all the ingredients on a bag of dog food or carefully select foods according to a home cooked diet, prey model raw, or BARF, it is crucial that you consider whether you are truly meeting the needs of your dog. Hopefully today I have challenged you to dig deeper and I hope you will come to appreciate the often overlooked oyster.