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Nutrition, Skin & Dogs

Is your dog shedding excessively and starting to develop sores from chewing on its skin? In this blog, our veterinarians in Goleta discuss how your dog's diet could affect its skin health.

Veterinarians have long known that the food your dog consumes daily can significantly impact its skin and coat health. In fact, almost 25% of all dogs suffer from some skin or coat issue that could be related to their diet.

How can a dog's diet affect its skin and haircoat?

The skin is the largest organ of a dog's body and is responsible for growing and maintaining their coat. The quality and nutritional content of each day's diet will impact the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats available to support their skin's health.

If your dog has all its dietary needs met and does not suffer from unrelated skin conditions, it will likely have a healthy, glossy coat free from dryness and irritation. Conversely, dogs that are not getting all of their nutritional needs met cannot supply their skin with the essential building blocks it needs to maintain its health and the condition of their coat. In such cases, the coat may look dull, the skin may be dry or irritated, and the dog may scratch or groom more than usual, which is unhealthy for its body.

How can a poor diet affect the health of a dog's skin?

Ensuring your dog receives proper nutrition is crucial, as any nutritional deficits, including inadequate intake or insufficient levels of specific nutrients, can negatively impact the health of the skin and the body overall. One way a food diet can affect a dog's skin health is by degrading or destroying the biofilm that naturally sits on the surface of the skin.

A healthy dog's skin produces a substance called sebum, which forms a protective layer over its skin. This layer helps keep its skin moisturized, protects it from external irritants, and creates a barrier against harmful bacteria that may accumulate. If a dog's skin doesn't receive the necessary nutrients to maintain the biofilm, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. This can cause irritation, infection, and discomfort. Left untreated, it can negatively impact the dog's overall health.

Certain breeds of dogs, such as bulldogs and pugs, are more prone to skin infections due to folds in their skin that can house bacteria. Maintaining a proper diet for these dogs is even more critical to help them naturally defend against these microscopic invaders.

What are the symptoms of skin and coat conditions caused by my dog's diet?

While skin conditions in dogs can cause several symptoms, the following are some of the most common signs that our canine companions aren't getting enough nutrition in their diets:

  • 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?

Nutritional deficiencies in a dog’s diet can contribute to poor skin and coat health. However, some dogs have may have allergies to specific ingredients in their food. In such cases, your dog’s response is caused by what is in the food rather than what is missing. Also known as a dermatological dietary allergy, this may cause symptoms of skin problems similar to those mentioned above.

If you suspect your dog is not getting all the necessary nutrients from their diet, it's best to contact your vet. They will conduct a physical examination and some in-house diagnostic tests to determine if your dog has any allergies and guide you in identifying the best ingredients for your dog's health and well-being.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Have you noticed the condition of your dog’s coat or skin is declining? Bring them to see the vets at Goleta Airport Pet Hospital today for a consultation.

New Patients Welcome

At Goleta Airport Pet Hospital, we are always accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health and well-being of all Goleta pet companions. Contact us to book your pet's first appointment today!

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(805) 968-4300