The Benefits of Selenium in Pet Health and Nutrition

Selenium is a chemical element needed in the diet, but what exactly are the benefits of selenium and what happens if our pets don’t get enough?

Selenium is not something we should be adding to our pet’s diet unless we know they are deficient, but a deficiency can cause health problems. Be sure to seek professional veterinary or nutritional advice on an individual basis before taking steps to increase your dog or cat’s selenium intake.

Read on for some of the benefits of selenium…

The Beneficial Properties of Selenium

Selenium has many beneficial functions including:

  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Aiding joint health
  • Improved skin condition
  • Improved coat health
  • Strengthening immune resistance
  • Antioxidant properties

We think you’ll agree that the benefits of selenium are quite impressive!

Selenium Deficiencies

The body needs selenium and if it doesn’t get enough, this can cause serious health problems, such as the weakening of joint cartilage. This is true for both ourselves and our pets.

A deficiency of selenium may also result in premature ageing, heart disease and dry flaky skin.

Other problems caused by a deficiency in selenium include a reduction in the number of white blood cells, a problem that becomes worse if suffering from a vitamin E deficiency as well, and diseases of the muscle tissue.

The Benefits of Selenium

Selenium protects body cells, it can help:

  • Prevent free radical generation
  • Preserves tissue elasticity
  • Slow down the ageing process of tissues
  • Treat and prevent dry, flaky skin

Selenium is especially beneficial to animals being treated with steroids as they are known to deplete the natural levels of selenium in the body.
Animals that are stressed are known to lose large amounts of selenium, making less selenium available in the blood and increasing the likelihood of deficiency.

The Benefits of Selenium on Skin Health

Some pets are more prone to dry, flaky skin than others. Poor skin health can lead to hair loss, dandruff, itchy or flaky skin and depression. As the skin becomes sore, pets are more likely to scratch or bite the affected area, making the condition worse!

Selenium can increase the health of the skin and potentially reduce the dryness associated with sore skin. Selenium also plays an important role in hair growth, allowing hair to grow back healthy and strong. Coat quality will also improve, making the coat softer and shiny. Healthy skin ultimately means less shedding and hair loss.

Natural Sources of Selenium

Selenium is a natural element found in many foods, but it is found in some natural pet foods more than others. The best natural dietary sources of selenium in the diet include cereals and grains, fish, meat and poultry.

High quality pet food brands will contain all the selenium your pet needs to stay healthy. Fortunately, because of this, selenium deficiency these days is quite rare.

Selenium can be toxic in high doses and there is a narrow gap between a safe dose of selenium and a toxic dose. As such, selenium shouldn’t be added to a pet’s diet unless specifically recommended by a nutritionist or vet.

About James Watts

BSc Bioveterinary Science. Editor of PetSci. When I'm not writing, learning, discussing, or reading about animals, you know it's the weekend! Currently developing PetSci HealthTrak, the fast and easy way to monitor your pet's weight and calorie intake. HealthTrak offers a simple way to track your pet's progress, helping them achieve a healthy weight and a long, happy life.

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One comment

  1. Arno Oberholster

    How safe is it to get a Scottish terrier pup into a situation where the previous Scotty pup died of Cat flu. The previous pup went in for his second injection, but died about an week and a half later. the second pup has had his first inoculation, will have his second inoculation on the 16th of Oct and will be travelling to the property on the 20th of Oct.

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