Obtaining correct amounts of essential elements, and avoiding toxic metals are key factors in dog health. Through analyzing major and trace elements in hair and blood of 50 healthy companion dogs using ICP-MS, we study their associations with dog characteristics and diet, hypothesizing that eating the same diet long-term results in strong correlations between hair and blood element concentrations, and that dog characteristics and diet affect element status. The correlation between hair and blood was significant for Hg (R = 0.601, p = 0.000) and Pb (R = 0.384, p = 0.010). The following associations were significant (p < 0.05): Dark hair had higher Ca and Mg compared to light hair. Females had higher hair Zn, blood Mn, and blood As compared to males. Blood Mn and Se increased, while blood Pb decreased with age. Raw diet fed dogs had higher hair Zn and Se compared to dry or mixed diet fed dogs, and lower blood Mn compared to dry diet fed dogs. Dry and mixed diet fed dogs had higher blood Cd compared to raw diet fed dogs. Mixed diet fed dogs had higher hair Ca and Mg compared to raw or dry diet fed dogs, and higher hair Pb compared to dry diet fed dogs. Wild game consumption was associated with higher blood Pb, and rice consumption with higher blood As. In conclusion, hair provides an alternative for assessing Hg and Pb exposure, and major and trace elements status is affected by hair color, sex, age, and diet.
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