Environment, age and poor nutrition are among the top causes of itchy skin, dull coat and dandruff in cats. Cat fur loss can also be a result. Many infectious and non-infectious diseases can contribute to skin and coat issues in cats.
"If your cat is experiencing dermatological symptoms it is always wise to consult your veterinarian" says Dr. Simon Starkey, PetSmart veterinary expert.
To help reduce cat dandruff and support skin and coat health, feeding a premium cat food rich in quality protein, fat, vitamins and minerals is recommended.
"Protein is an essential building block for developing healthy new hair and skin," says Dr. Starkey.
How can skin and coat cat foods help?
In addition to a high quality protein, several other key nutrients found in premium cat foods for sensitive skin help keep your pet's skin and coat healthy:
Foods rich in copper can help maintain normal hair color, prevent loss of hair and keep coats soft and shiny. Look for foods with copper-rich ingredients like poultry by-product meals and chicken, turkey, beef, and sheep liver.
Zinc deficiencies have been associated with several skin conditions in cats, such as itchy/inflamed skin and even secondary bacterial and fungal skin infections. Feeding high-quality cat foods minimizes the chance of zinc deficiency as these foods contain adequate amounts of this mineral in a digestible form.
Vitamin A is important for 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. Vitamin E deficiency is known to occur in cats. In addition to treating vitamin E deficiencies, veterinary dermatologists have recommended the use of this vitamin as part of a treatment regimen for several other 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 kittens. Symptoms of biotin and B-vitamin deficiencies in general include brittle hair, generalized crusts and a loss of normal hair color.
Omega 3 and 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 cat 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.
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