When your dog’s skin doesn’t appear healthy

Diet is often seen as a factor when pet guardians notice changes in their dog’s skin and coat condition. However, the most common causes of these changes are allergies, the season and your dog’s changing physiological needs based on life stage. If your dog shows symptoms such as itchiness, flea or environmental allergies are often to blame. Talk to your veterinarian if you suspect that your pup has fleas or allergies to fabrics, pollen or even medications.

When your dog’s skin changes naturally

In cold weather, most dogs grow a thick coat to help keep heat in and cold air out. As the weather begins to warm up, they shed their thick coat. Most dogs have cycles of hair growth and loss.  Even dogs in Miami will have a thicker coat at times – despite the fact that it is not cold!  Many puppies are born with soft hair, but as they age, a coarser coat grows. Pregnant or lactating dogs are susceptible to a change in coat condition or hair loss. As the dog ages, hair may also thin out and become white. You should also know that the main purpose of skin and hair is to block water or heat from leaving the body and to block viruses or bacteria entering the body.

What your dog should eat for a healthy skin

Skin is made up of squamous cells, they are flat cells tightly packed together. These cells have tough membranes that are composed of proteins and fats. Your dog needs enough of these nutrients, in order to prevent cell membranes from weakening, which would allow water and body heat to escape and bacteria and viruses to enter the body more easily. Pet guardians should keep in mind that if the dog’s diet doesn't contain enough high-quality protein, hair may fall out or become dry and weak. Proteins are found in both animal-based and plant-based ingredients, a properly balanced diet that is appropriate for the life stage of your pet should contain the right amount of protein for your pet.  Fats are incorporated into your pup’s skin cells as fatty acids. One of them, linoleic acid, maintains skin and coat condition for your best friend. Without enough linoleic acid dogs often show dull or dry coat, hair loss, greasy skin and increased risk to skin inflammation. Vitamins and minerals are also essential for the development of a dog’s healthy skin and hair coat. Vitamin A, for example, is necessary for the growth and repair of skin, while Vitamin E protects skin cells from issues such as oxidant damage. The best way to provide these nutrients is through a complete and balanced diet rather than through supplements. Talk to a veterinarian if your pet is on an appropriate diet and their skin does not look as healthy as it should.