Iron supplements for an anaemic dog

Updated February 21, 2017

Canine anaemia usually occurs when a dog has lost too much blood. Severe flea infestations and bleeding ulcers are common causes of anaemia, which is a condition characterised by the red blood cells' inability to carry enough oxygen to the blood. It is important to restore blood iron levels in anaemic dogs, because iron is a building block of haemoglobin, which is, in turn, a source of red blood cells. However, the website Vet Info recommends making sure your dog is not suffering from a more severe underlying condition causing the anaemia before supplementing.

Quality dog food

Dogs need around 35 mg of iron for each 450 g (roughly a pound) of dry dog food consumed per day. Finding an appropriate dog food for an anaemic dog is important for completing his overall diet. The website Vet Info recommends avoiding store brand or generic dog foods, as their nutrients tend to be harder to absorb. For example, a given dog food may have 35 mg of iron in each serving, but your dog may not be able to absorb all of that if it is not packaged within a quality food product. If you cannot always afford high-quality dog food, one option is to supplement your dog's regular food with a high-quality, high-iron food. Mix half of his regular food with half of the higher quality food.

Other foods

Owners can add other foods to their dog's regular regimen of packaged food. Liver, for example, is high in iron. Serve 114 g (4 ounces) of cooked liver for a large dog or 57 g (2 ounces) for a smaller dog as appropriate portions for anaemic canines, according to the website Vet Info. Lean meats, such as minced meat and lamb offer quality sources of iron, as do fish, salmon and sardines. Lima beans, whole grains, chicken and treats made of liver are also excellent choices.


The website Vet Info recommends giving anaemic dogs Geritol tablets with iron and B vitamins. Adding 500 mg of crushed Vitamin C daily to dry food also will help iron absorption.


Red clover, burdock root and nettle are iron-rich herbs recommended by Vet Info. Kelp powder is also helpful, as well as yellow dock and raspberry.

Other natural products helpful for canine anaemia are kelp powder with iodine and trace minerals, nutritional yeast, B12 vitamins, phosphorus tablets, sulphur tablets and milk thistle, which enhances healthy haemoglobin production.

The importance of B vitamins and protein

B vitamins and protein help the production of red blood cells, so making sure your dog has a good source of these is also important. B vitamins, in particular, strengthen a dog's bone marrow, where red blood cells are created. Vitamin supplements given to anaemic dogs should have B vitamins. Other sources of B vitamins include enriched whole grains, carrots, egg yolks, rye and pumpkin.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Jennings began publishing creative works in 1988 and has been a professional editor and writer since 2002. She holds a dual Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and philosophy.