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Dog Nutrition for Healthy Skin and Coat

Small dog

We all want our dogs to be happy and healthy. One of the ways you can monitor your dog's health is by looking at their skin and fur. Itchy, patchy, red skin can be an indicator of allergies. Dull, dry coats can be an indicator of nutritional deficiencies.
Regular grooming, baths, and skincare can help promote healthy skin and smooth, shiny fur, but good health also starts from the inside of what your dog eats matters to its skin. Fortunately, most high-quality dry dog foods provide the necessary nutritional dogs needed for beautiful fur. However, some low-quality foods may not have all the balanced nutrients that a dog needs.

Here are the ingredients that are important for healthy skin and coat:

Dogs need a well-balanced diet. They need an easily digestible mix of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. And just like people, they need the right blend of vitamins and minerals for optimal health. Dogs with poor nutrition can exhibit signs like dry, dull fur. They may also shed that fur excessively. They can have patchy, red, and flaky skin, which may cause uncomfortable itching.

Dogs and Essential Fatty Acids

You may not know this, but humans and dogs require essential fatty acids for long term health. Essential Fatty Acids are a requirement for health, but both our furry companions and we have to get them through foods. Our bodies do not produce them naturally, which is why low-fat diets can be a risk. If your pup is low on omega-6 or omega-3, their coat may appear dry or dull, and their skin may have a flakey dandruff appearance.

Dog food

Fatty acids play a couple of roles in creating a beautiful coat and healthy skin. For one, they help moisturize your pet's skin from the inside out. They also act as a potential barrier against allergens.

Fortunately, you don't usually need to worry about supplements if you are using premium food. Most well balanced dry dog foods have plenty of essential fatty acids.

One thing to note, just as oils in our cupboards can go rancid in time, so can the fats in your dog's food, which is why it isn't right to keep open dog food bags around for months and months. While dog food has a reasonably long shelf life, you will want to check expiration dates.

Protein for Dogs

Another macronutrient that is important for dogs and humans alike is protein. Fur, like human hair, is almost entirely made up of protein. Dogs shed and replace hair regularly, so they need protein to make new hairs. Likewise, it also makes up nails and skin. So, protein is vital for replacing damaged or shedding cells.

Beagle puppy

Protein is also essential for growing bones and your dog's immune system, which explains why puppies need more protein while increasing because protein is one of necessary nutrients that your dog needs.They use amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to build their growing bodies.

Of course, not all protein is created equal. Just like for humans, some proteins are of higher quality than others. Dogs can eat lower quality proteins, but higher quality ones have a better combination of nutrients and can be more digestible.

Vitamins and Minerals Your Dog Needs

Yorkie

There are also some essential vitamins and minerals your dog needs for healthy skin and coat.

  • Vitamin E is an antioxidant, and it tempers inflammation.
  • Vitamin A helps with healthy cell growth. It also assists with the hardening and thickening of skin cells - which helps prevent injury.
  • Vitamin C helps repair wounds.
The minerals selenium, copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, and zinc are essential to the healthy growth and replacement of skin cells and fur. A portion of well-balanced dry dog food will include all of these critical nutrients.

Fur, Skin, and Stress

Dog in mask

Chronic illness or stress can also show in a dog's coat. When a dog is stressed, it might shed excessively or bite and chew their paws or tail. These can happen for many reasons, including a nutrient deficiency. If your dog is suffering a health problem, your vet will have the best treatment options. The good news is that usually when these underlying conditions are taken care of, your pet's skin and fur recover and look beautiful again very quickly.

Dogs and Food Allergies

Some dogs also have food allergies. These allergies can cause itchy skin and skin and ear infections. The most common allergies pet owners report are chicken, beef, dairy, and egg. Do you suspect your pup has a food allergy? One way you can diagnose it is with an elimination diet.

An elimination diet means choosing a food type that the dog is not allergic to or is unlikely to have had (kangaroo or salmon, for example). Then making sure that is the only food your dog is allowed to eat for at least 30 days. (Yes, this means in treats too.) If the allergies go away, you can slowly start reintroducing proteins at a time and see how your pet reacts. If you need help with an elimination diet for your pet, a vet can help you.

The best way to help your dog have a beautiful coat and healthy skin is to make sure they have the right food. It means proper balanced dry food takes into account their weight, life stage, and any allergies. A proper diet will help your dog have beautiful fur and healthy skin long into old age.

About the Author

Viktoria S is a professional expert in writing articles in the pet industry. She creates informational and helpful materials that help pet owners live in harmony with their pets. Victoria is passionate about creating well-researched reviews for pet products on sites like ThePets.net. Also, Viktoria specializes in writing articles on dog health, dog food, and puppy care topics. She likes to enjoy time with pets and take care of her cat Brenda.


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