Has your doggo been suffering from skin conditions or allergies lately? Or has suffered at some point?
You are not alone, as skin problems are quite common among furry families. Plus, with monsoon in full swing, one has to be extra careful about allergies and infections. According to Dr. Jaspreet Singh, a veterinarian based in Ludhiana, itchy and scratchy dogs, often with patches of missing hair, make up for a large percentage of veterinarian visits during monsoons.
Some of the most common skin problems in dogs include allergies (like flea bites and atopic dermatitis, for instance), skin cancers, bacterial skin infections, seborrhoea, parasites (e.g., demodectic mange), food hypersensitivity/intolerance, immune-mediated skin disease, and hormone-related skin diseases.
Understanding what your dog needs
While it is essential to treat serious conditions such as cancers through proper treatment channels, a good and balanced diet is often the key to avoid seasonal skin problems.
For starters, let’s try to understand what the basic nutritional needs of a dog are for you to be able to make informed decisions.
According to Robin Downing of VCA Hospitals in the US, an average dog’s nutrient profile should include 25-30% dry-matter protein and 10-15% dry-matter fat. Meanwhile, a puppy’s ideal nutrient profile should include 30-35% dry-matter protein and 15-30% dry-matter fat. While these numbers might seem intimidating, all you need to do to ensure that your doggo’s nutritional needs are met with, is to always include the following items in their diet:
Essential fatty acids
Healthy fats play a very important role in maintaining the overall health of your dog’s coat. In fact, puppies that are fed low-fat diets often tend to develop dry and coarse hair that become prone to infections.
An important fatty acid is the Omega-3 fatty acid, which not just helps regulate the skin’s oil production, but has anti-inflammatory properties as well. Popular sources of Omega-3 include fish oil and flaxseed oil. However, it is essential to not feed these to your dog in excess, as over-supplementation often runs the risk of oily seborrhoea.
Getting the right vitamins is another essential formula for healthy dog skin. To get you started, here is a list of the essential vitamins and the issues they tackle:
- Vitamin A: facilitates sebum production and epidermal differentiation
- Vitamin B: prevents skin lesions and keeps skin moist
- Vitamin C: enables collagen synthesis
- Vitamin E: provides antioxidants that prevent alopecia and other skin infections
Most commercial foods and treats mention how much of a dog’s daily recommended intake is included per serving.
It is, however, important to not supplement vitamins without the guidance of a vet, as too much of any of these can cause side-effects.
Minerals are naturally occurring elements in our environment that a dog’s body needs to stay happy and healthy. This includes a healthy coat and skin.
They often enable your dog to process other nutrients as well. For example, zinc helps with the metabolization of fat and proteins. In addition, it also helps prevent parakeratosis. Copper, on the other hand, helps in balancing skin pigmentation.
When it comes to minerals, it is generally hard to get information on them through nutritional labels. Talk to veterinary doctor, if you do suspect your pup to be suffering from mineral deficiencies.
Food, treats, toppers abound
A healthy diet does not mean having to ignore those taste buds! There are quite a few commercially available options you can choose from, that will take care of both nutrition and taste. These include kibble, freeze-dried, and cold-pressed foods; and commercially produced raw and ready-made foods. Many of the commercially available treats are good for your dog’s skin as well.
If your doggo is a picky eater, food toppers are a great way to make them eat that meal!
Having a furry baby often means tackling their tantrums, while also ensuring that their health is not compromised. Fortunately, most of the commercially available products take care of both these needs.
In addition to the nutritional tips, it is helpful to keep these in mind for your dog’s skin health:
- Don’t overdo those supplements
- Don’t bathe them too often, as it makes them lose essential oils
All you have to do as a pet parent is ensure that all the nutritional needs of your pup are taken care of in the meals you serve them and your floof will soon be flaunting that shiny coat!