Many infectious and non-infectious diseases can contribute to skin and coat issues in dogs.
"If your dog is experiencing dermatological symptoms it is always wise to consult your veterinarian" says Dr. Simon Starkey, PetSmart vet expert. "Age and poor nutrition can contribute to itchy skin, dull coat and other dermatological issues in dogs".
While there's little you can do to stop the aging process, you can feed a premium dog food rich in quality protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.
"Protein is an essential building block for developing healthy new hair and skin," says Starkey.
How can skin and coat dog foods help?
In addition to high quality protein, several other key nutrients found in dog foods for sensitive skin help keep your pet's skin and coat healthy:
Dog food containing adequate amounts of copper can help maintain normal hair color, prevent loss of hair and keep coats soft and shiny.
Zinc deficiencies have been associated with several skin conditions such as itchy/inflamed skin and even secondary bacterial and fungal skin infections. High-quality dog foods contain adequate amounts of zinc and minimize the chance of this deficiency.
Vitamin A is critical to rapidly dividing cell population, like skin cells and fur follicles. This fat soluble vitamin promotes healthy hair and tissue growth by regulating the action of several important genes.
Vitamin E is a potent natural antioxidant and helps protect skin cells from free radicals which are formed routinely during normal metabolism as well as being present in the air and external environment. While vitamin E deficiency has not been reported in dogs, veterinary dermatologists have recommended the use of this vitamin as part of a treatment regimen for several types of skin disease.
B-complex vitamins like biotin help the body utilize energy to promote healthy tissue growth. Biotin deficiency is more likely in young, rapidly growing puppies. Symptoms of biotin and B-vitamin deficiencies in general include brittle hair, crusts and a loss of normal hair color.
Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids
Both omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are classified as essential fatty acids. These acids support skin flexibility and general health. Rich sources of omega 6 fatty acids include poultry fat as well as corn, canola or other vegetable oil. Rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids include canola oil, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, fish meal and fish oil. High quality, premium dog foods are often supplemented with these fatty acids to enhance skin and coat health and appearance.
The information used in this report is approved by PetSmart nutritionists and vet experts.
Information from "Small Animal Clinical Nutrition," 5th Edition, Hand, Thatcher, Remillard, Roudebush, Novotny, Copyright 2010 by Mark Morris Institute was used in this report.