Thursday, July 28, 2011

Healthy Skin & Coat

Wow, your dog’s fur is so soft and healthy!  What kind of shampoo do you use?  We hear this question frequently.   We are quick to explain that the health of his coat is the result of good nutrition rather than a particular grooming product.  Healthy fats and high quality food is the key.  Dogs can develop dull coats due to nutritional deficiencies associated with low quality commercial dog foods.

 Most quality dog foods are high in omega-6.  These fatty acids help replace the oils in the skin and give some shine to the coat.  Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and flax seed oil can be beneficial for skin problems.  They have anti-inflammatory effects and can relieve itchy or inflamed skin.  Make sure not to give too many fatty acid supplements.  Excessive amounts can cause upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea.  Expect to see improvement in your dogs coat in 6-8 weeks after starting omega-3 supplementation.  It is important to discuss any supplements with your vet before giving them to your dog. 

Of course, diet isn’t the only reason a dog might develop a dull coat.  Dogs that are bathed too often can lose oil from their skin leading to irritation and scratching.  Again, be sure to discuss any concerns about your dog’s health with your vet before starting a supplement.

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