Many pet owners think the best way to handle common skin and coat issues is external solutions, like sprays or shampoos. While many skin and coat issues can benefit from external products or help alleviate symptoms; proper skin and coat health first start on the inside with a proper diet and evaluation of potential medical issues.
Common Skin & Coat Issues:
• Itchy Skin
• Lack-luster or Dull Fur
• Excessive Shedding
• Hot Spots or Rashes
• Dermatitis and/ or Dander
• Hair Loss
An overall low-quality diet that contains primarily plant-based protein fillers can contribute to skin and coat issues. Fillers like corn, beet pulp, etc., or large amounts of processed grains and starches are less desirable than more nutritionally dense ingredients that are present in higher quality foods.
TIPS: Ingredients are listed from highest weight in the food to lowest. Look for a dog food that is primarily meat-based with antioxidants, chelated vitamins, and digestive enzymes. Additionally, there are many veterinary formulated recipe books on the market for making your dog a balanced diet at home. Such recipes can be time-consuming but rival modern commercial diets when used correctly and can also be used alongside a commercial diet to introduce fresh foods.
Skin & Coat Supplements
Adding Omega 3 and 6 to your dog’s diet can do wonders for itchy or dry skin. It is not often found in commercial pet food, especially in lower quality foods. Omega 3 and 6 together offer anti-inflammatory properties and fatty acids that are beneficial for overall skin health, regardless of the underlining cause of the skin or coat issue.
TIPS: Wild-caught fish oil formulated for pets is the best sources of Omega 3 and 6. While olive oil and vegetable do offer some beneficial fats, they are not as nutritionally dense as fish oil and are much higher in calorie content, making them a poor choice.
To the shock and disbelief of many pet parents, it is not uncommon for a dog to eventually develop allergies or an intolerance to their current food. Many ingredients in the pet food industry are overused, such ingredients when consistently fed with little variety frequently become the culprit for skin issues and allergies.
TIPS: Rotate your dog’s protein to help avoid building an intolerance. Feed a novel protein such as Fish/Salmon, Rabbit, Venison or Duck paired with few other ingredients and keep a running list of pet foods that did not agree with your pet.