Treating skin and coat problems through diet

May 14, 2020 3 min read

Treating skin and coat problems through diet

The skin is the largest organ in the body, for dogs as well as for humans.  Like any organ, the food your dog eats has a direct impact on how healthy their skin is, on the strength and durability of the fur they grow, and on their ability to heal injuries and cope with external irritants.

Many skin and coat problems stem from three possible issues: nutritional deficiency, allergies, or recurring bacterial infection.  Nutrition can play a role in both identifying and solving these problems.

Dogs whose diets do not contain enough of certain vitamins and minerals may suffer from poor skin and coat health, as their body lacks the nutrients it needs to regrow healthy fur and skin as your dog sheds.  If you suspect that your dog's skin and coat health is suffering from a lack of nutrients, try changing up their diet, either by switching to a higher quality food, rotating their food among different brands, ingredients, and flavors, or bolstering their diet with fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables (or with a good, natural supplement that contains lots of vitamins and minerals, such as Radiant Canine).  Broadening your dog's nutritional intake will improve their overall nutrition, and within a couple of weeks, you should start seeing a change in their coat health.

Allergies are commonly associated with excessive scratching and hot spots.  If this occurs seasonally, or only in certain locations, your dog may be allergic to something in their environment.  Alternately, if this is a chronic issue, they may be allergic to something within their food.  If you suspect a food allergy, try switching to a limited ingredient diet which uses a different type of meat than your dog's regular food, as protein source is the most common type of dietary allergen, and the limited number of other ingredients are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.  When you've found the right food to work around your dog's dietary limitations, you should see improvements within just a few days, once any remaining allergens have worked their way out of your dog's system.

Finally, some dogs are especially prone to yeast-type skin infections which can cause itching and discomfort.  Diet can play a big role in the growth of these infections, as these types of bacteria tend to feed on starches, which are present in much higher volume in commercial dry dog foods.  Switching to a food which contains few carbohydrate ingredients can greatly reduce the recurrence of these infections, as fewer carbs means less for them to eat.

In any of these cases, your dog may also benefit from supplementing their diet with foods or supplements rich in omega fatty acids, like fish-based dog foods, fish oil, flaxseed, and brewer's yeast.  Omega fatty acids help the body fight inflammation and itching caused by allergic reactions and infection.  Boosting your dog's intake of biotin - a common ingredient in many skin and coat supplements, also found in abundance in certain foods like eggs, kelp, and sweet potato - will also provide their body with the building blocks they need to replace shed skin and fur with healthy, strong growth.



This post was brought to you by Canine Sciences, your partner in dog health through good nutrition.

Click here to learn more about Canine Sciences' mission, and how they can help you to identify and address the effects of bad nutrition in your dog.

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