Our dogs' skin is their largest organ, comprising 12% of their body weight with their coat. Good nutrition impacts the health of your dog's skin and coat. Our Vancouver vets explain the relationship between your pup's skin, coat and diet
How does nutrition affect my dog's skin and coat?
Your dog's skin is its largest organ, utilizing vast amounts of bodily resources to sustain its health, particularly in regards to growing and maintaining a healthy coat. Therefore, the daily quality and nutritional value of your dog's diet significantly impacts the availability of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats necessary to maintain skin health.
Adequate nutritional intake results in a lustrous, full coat and healthy skin free from dryness and irritation. However, insufficient dietary needs can result in a lackluster coat and dry, irritated skin, causing excessive scratching and grooming. Ensure your dog's nutritional needs are met to provide their skin with the proper nourishment it needs to thrive. This will result in a happy, healthy pup with a beautiful coat and radiant skin.
How does poor nutrition affect my dog's skin?
A balanced diet is crucial to maintaining the health of your dog's skin. Any deficiencies in their nutrition, be it from not eating enough or not getting enough essential nutrients, can have serious consequences for their skin.
The skin of a healthy dog is protected by a natural barrier known as a 'biofilm' that helps keep harmful bacteria at bay. This biofilm is created by the secretion of sebum, a substance similar to the oil produced by human skin. Sebum provides moisture, protects against irritants, and acts as a barrier against harmful bacteria.
However, suppose your dog's diet lacks the necessary nutrients to maintain their biofilm. In that case, the skin can become vulnerable to bacterial infections, leading to irritation, discomfort, and even danger to their overall health.
Breeds with folds in their skin, such as bulldogs or pugs, are particularly susceptible to skin infections and require a diet that supports their skin's natural defenses. Providing your dog with a well-rounded diet can help ensure their skin stays healthy and protected.
What are the symptoms of skin and coat conditions caused by my dog's diet?
Our dogs may exhibit a range of signs when it comes to skin conditions. However, insufficient nutrition in their diets can often lead to the manifestation of the following common symptoms:
- Sparse, dry, dull hair with "split ends"
- Slow growth or no growth of hair from spots that have been clipped or shaved
- Accumulation of dry skin scales
- Pressure sores
- Change in or loss of hair color
What other skin problems may be associated with my dog's diet?
While inadequate nutrition can directly harm your dog's skin and coat, skin problems can also arise from dietary allergies. Instead of being caused by a lack of nutrients, these symptoms stem from specific ingredients in your dog's food.
If you think your dog is receiving adequate nutrition but still experiencing skin issues, reach out to our Mountain View Veterinary Hospital Nutrition Counseling. Our vets can perform allergy tests and guide you through the process of finding the right food to support your furry friend's health and happiness.