Even if you regularly schedule grooming appointments, your dog can still exhibit dry, flaky skin and a dull or patchy coat. You might doubt your groomer's efforts, but think again. Your dog's unhealthy skin and coat are almost assuredly linked to an underlying health condition. Many of these conditions can be attributed to food and nutritional habits.
If you and your groomer are concerned about your dog's skin and coat, consider these three food-related issues. You just might discover the cause of your dog's lackluster--or absent--coat.
Like people, dogs can be allergic to certain foods. If your dog is allergic to a certain ingredient in your chosen pet food, ingesting that ingredient can cause your pet to itch incessantly, especially around the face, ears, paws, legs, armpits, and anus. Persistent itching can lead to hair loss and skin infections. The most common ingredients that trigger allergic reactions in dogs are dairy products, soy, wheat, corn, eggs, fish, and meats.
About 20% of dogs with incessant itching have food allergies to blame. Unfortunately, few owners make the connection between itching and their pet's food. Furthermore, since most dog food brands sell products consisting of at least some of these ingredients, switching your pet's food can yield no results.
Fatty Acid Deficit
Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids are saturated with health benefits. This is also true for your dog. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are primarily found in seafood, are known for improving cardiovascular, neurological, and immune system health.
Omega-3 fatty acids also have a positive impact on your dog's skin and coat. These healthy fats help your pet's immune system restore itself, thus allowing your dog to better combat allergies and disorders like mange. Omega-3 fats also slow down the production of yeast, something that is particularly problematic in certain breeds, like the English Bulldog.
Omega-3 fatty acids have very finicky storage requirements. Thus, even if you buy a dog food that is high in this essential nutrient, temperature and storage conditions likely destroyed most its benefits. As a result, your dog might be suffering from an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency. The biggest side effects of this deficiency include a poor, lackluster coat and flaky skin.
Some of America's most popular dog breeds, including Pugs, English Bulldogs, and Boxers, are known and loved for their wrinkles. Yet, these wrinkles serve as booby traps that catch and store wayward food crumbs and particles.
Even though this is not in and of itself a nutritional problem, it is absolutely rooted in your dog's eating habits. Your dog's wrinkles lock crumbs into wrinkle folds, causing itching and discomfort. This incessant itching can lead to skin sores, infection, odor, and oozing pus.
Whether or not your dog's skin and coat issues are caused by nutritional problems, don't neglect the importance of regular dog grooming.