Zinc is an essential trace element, required for enzymatic, structural, and regulatory functions. As body reserves are scarce, an adequate zinc status relies on proper dietary supply and efficient homeostasis. Several biomarkers have been proposed that enable the detection of poor zinc status, but more sensitive and specific ones are needed to detect marginal deficiencies. The zinc content of commercial dry dog foods has great variability, with a more frequent non-compliance with the maximum authorized limit than with the nutritional requirement. The bioavailability of dietary zinc also plays a crucial role in ensuring an adequate zinc status. Despite controversial results, organic zinc sources have been considered more bioavailable than inorganic sources, albeit the zinc source effect is more evident after a restriction period of dietary zinc. Many disorders have been associated with inadequate zinc status, not being clear whether the occurrence of the disease is the consequence or the cause. This review presents data on zinc requirements and biomarkers for zinc status, that can be applied for the development of supplementation strategies of zinc in complete pet foods. Moreover, it provides an understanding of the role zinc plays in the health of dogs, and how altered zinc status affects diseases in dogs.
Keywords: bioavailability; biomarkers; dog; requirements; zinc; zinc status-disorders.