What is anemia? It is a serious condition caused by red blood cell loss. Lack of iron in the diet is usually the culprit. However with animals, anemia is usually caused by parasitic worms or fleas that feed on blood and tissues. On occasion, it can also be caused by a toxicity from exposure to certain drugs.
Find The Cause First
Is it possible that your dog has anemia? Symptoms to watch for are pale or white gums, signs of weakness and a fast pulse.
The first step in reversing this condition is to remove the cause. If your dog has fleas or intestinal parasites, start on a program to rid your pet of these pests as soon as possible.
Is your dog on any medications? Just like people, certain drugs can cause side-effects, such as anemia. If you suspect that this may be the cause of your dog's anemia, you will need to consult your veterinarian about switching your pet to a new medication.
Treatment For Canine Anemia
The good news is that anemia is a condition that can easily be treated by providing your dog with a diet rich in iron, protein and vitamin B12. Here are some especially iron-rich foods and supplements that should boost the growth of his red blood cells:
- Beef liver is rich in iron, protein, B complex, and B12. It's one of the best ways of supplementing your pet's diet with iron.
- Kelp powder is another good choice to add to your dog's food, as it contains iodine and other trace minerals.
- Dark green vegetables contain a good source of iron as well. Just be careful about feeding too much gassy vegetables such as broccoli.
- Vitamin B12 along with nutritional yeast can offer many of the same benefits as liver, although a natural food source is always a better pick. However, if you just can't stand the thought of cutting up liver chunks for your pet, this is a good alternative.
- Providing Vitamin C (between 500 mgs to 2000 mgs per day, depending on your dog's size) along with 200 mg to 400 mg of Vitamin E helps with the absorption of iron within the intestinal tract. This combination is also a very good antioxidant. Give one Vitamin E a day, but divide up the dosage of Vitamin C to 3 times a day. Vitamin C is water soluble which means that it is quickly absorbed by the body. It needs to be replenished throughout the day to be most effective.
Be sure to check with your veterinarian if you believe your pooch has the signs of anemia. Get proper blood tests done to rule out any other possible problems or causes as well. Following the above dietary recommendations should help get your dog back to replenishing and increasing his or her red blood cells once more.