Skin And Coat

Solutions To The Problems

The health of a dog's skin and coat is based on the general health status of that dog. While a healthy diet addresses general nutritional needs, some supplements are geared specifically to address the extra boost that a particular dog may need.

There are many reasons that may lie behind poor skin and coat conditions. Once your veterinarian has diagnosed the problem, a good diet combined with appropriate supplements can show improvement in a short period of time.

The Impact of Proper Diet

Many skin problems can be attributed to nutrient deficiencies. A diet low in zinc content will eventually create dry, flaky or itchy skin that is prone to infection and/or slow healing. B-Complex vitamins are critical for all cells including the skin. Essential fatty acids also play critical roles including health of all cells. The first step is to see your veterinarian to rule out more serious issues. Once a diagnosis has been made, ensuring that the dog's diet provides proper vitamin and mineral content should be the first priority. With that under control, there are benefits to adding some supplements that can directly support the health of the skin.

Supplements That Can Help

Some skin problems are due to allergies. In these cases, ellagitannins (as found in Antioxidant Booster) can be helpful. Vitamin E works as a powerful antioxidant that supports the immune system. B-Complex vitamins are key to healthy skin. Acidophilus, perhaps one of the best studied probiotics for dogs, helps to improve the immune system as a whole and especially in the case of digestive sensitivity. When there is a greater need for omega 3 fatty acids, Wild Salmon Oil can be very helpful. A diet that does not provide enough zinc can cause skin problems. Never add minerals without knowing the diet is deficient, but be sure that sufficient zinc is being fed.

For Further Reading

The Allergy Problem eBooklet offers solutions for dogs that suffer from food-related allergies.

 Optimal Nutrition:  This book includes discussions, explantions and sample diets.

 Canine Atopic Dermatitis PubMed abstract PMID: 15284402 

Monica's Comments:  A common allergic reaction among dogs (and humans), Atopic Dermatitis is better understood these days. Major causes include: Environmental factors · Genetic factors · Changes in the skin itself · Sometimes, the presence of autoimmunity issues.

The course of the disease is also strongly influenced by the presence of yeast or Staph organisms. Since Atopic Dermatitis arises from so many sources, no single solution fixes all dogs with this condition. Therefore, the modern approach, as Dr. DeBoer states, is to develop a specific therapy based on the dog's individual profile.

The full study is posted at the for a two-day reading fee of $8 per computer.

The Abstract

Atopic dermatitis is a common allergic skin disease of complex etiopathogenesis in both humans and dogs. Immediate-type hypersensitivity to environmental allergens that arises as a result of environmental and genetic factors is a major part of the pathogenesis in most but not all patients. Alterations in epidermal barrier function, priming of cutaneous antigen-presenting cells with IgE, intrinsic keratinocyte defects, and even development of autoimmunity are also factors that contribute to the primary disease. Secondary factors, especially infections with Staphylococcus and yeast organisms, strongly influence the course of this skin disease. The relatively recent understanding of the complexities of atopic dermatitis has resulted in changes in diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for the disease. We now know that the best therapeutic approach is to use combinations of multiple modalities individualized for each patient over the course of his or her lifetime.

Study Authors: DeBoer DJ. Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

Coat Maintenance


A diet provides vitamins and minerals but not necessarily in the amounts that a certain dog may need. Together, Vitamin E and the B-Complex vitamins play important roles for every cell and almost all body functions including healthy skin.

Green foods

Kelp feeds the thyroid which, in turn, plays a critical role for many body functions.

Essential Fatty Acids

Omega 3 (found in Wild Salmon Oils and Flaxseed Oils) and Omega 6 (found in plant based oils like Primrose Oil are two essential fatty acids that together:

1) Form the membrane of every cell

2) Make up a large part of the structural and functional tissue in the brain

3) Control the way cholesterol works,

4) Play key roles in regulating the digestive, cardiovascular, immune and reproductive functions

5) Have vital roles in functions of the brain, inflammation, healing and body heat.

For Further Reading:  K9 Kitchen

The health of the dog and nutrients in the dog's diet has an impact on the condition of the skin and coat. Many feeding regimes exist, and this book reviews each of the strategies.

Optimal Nutrition: This book discusses lifestages and specific health conditions, including the possible links between diet and healthy skin and coat.

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Disclaimer: Statements made or products sold have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.