How feeding affects the dog’s hair and skin

dog-with-long-groomed-hair

The good condition of the hair and skin of our dog will depend, to a large extent, on the food that we offer. The contribution and quality of proteins, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals is especially important.

On the other hand, a damaged cloak is indicative of some health problem or nutritional deficiency that we must solve. Let’s see in detail how to improve the hair and skin of our dog with a correct diet.

Index of contents

  • 1 Skin and nutrition
  • 2 Symptoms of skin problems
  • 3 Protein deficiency
  • 4 Fatty acid deficiency
  • 5 Vitamin and mineral deficiency
  • 6 How to prevent hair and skin problems
  • 7 Nutritional supplements

Skin and nutrition

Diet-Related Skin Diseases they may be due to an excess, a lack or an imbalance in the composition of the diet. Deficiencies are more common, although, as an example of problems due to excess, we can mention hypervitaminosis A.

It causes itching, causing the dog scratches insistently. It is normal for these diseases to manifest with different symptoms that should make us consult with the vet. The appearance of hair and skin is not just an aesthetic issue.

Both fulfill important functions for the well-being of the organism. It is the first barrier against external aggressions, it protects from solar radiation and maintains body temperature.

Symptoms of skin problems

Knowing if our dog has a skin problem is very simple, since the symptoms are noticeable with the naked eye. They stand out from them:

  • Peeling.
  • Scabs.
  • Alopecia.
  • Oily skin.
  • Itchiness
  • Matte or coarse hair.

Protein deficiency

The hair is composed, above all, of proteins, hence the importance of its consumption. Further, proteins are necessary for the skin, since they intervene in the healing and regeneration processes when a wound occurs.

There are essential amino acids for hair development, such as lysine, cysteine, methionine, arginine or phenylalanine. It is rare that this deficiency occurs with the dog food available today. It could occur in dogs fed with proteins of plant origin.

shepherd-dog-with-rough-hair

Fatty acid deficiency

Fatty acids provide energy and participate in the absorption of some vitamins. Linoleic and arachidonic acid stand out. The first is part of the epidermis. Its absence is related to water loss and environmental allergies. Arachidonic acid is responsible for the proliferation of cells in the epidermis.

Linoleic acid is better known as omega-3, while arachidonic is omega-6. In recent years they have been recommended as a supplement for healthy hair and skin. If we want to add them to our dog’s diet, we must first consult with the vet.

An imbalance between both fatty acids can result in inflammation and arteriosclerosis. There may be a deficiency of fatty acids in dogs fed with feed, as these are degraded during storage or with poor quality preservatives. It takes months of consumption for a dog to show symptoms of this deficiency.

Vitamin and mineral deficiency

At this point vitamin A stands out, with an important role in maturation and physiological cell turnover of the skin. Other essential vitamins are E, B8 or biotin, B2 or riboflavin, B3 or niacin, B6 or pyridoxine, B5 or pantothenic acid and vitamin C.

As for minerals, zinc stands out, the lack of which triggers serious symptoms such as anorexia, weight loss, difficulties in wound healing, conjunctivitis, skin inflammation and hair loss. It is in charge of maintaining the good condition of the skin and mucosa.

Selenium, which preserves the elasticity of the skin, and copper are also important. As an example, riboflavin deficiency causes dry and reddened skin, niacin deficiency triggers itching, biotin deficiency alopecia and seborrhea, phosphorus deficiency makes hair dull and dull, and copper depigmentation.

How to prevent hair and skin problems

In addition to the hygienic care adapted to the characteristics of each dog, it is essential to continue a balanced and quality diet. First, it must cover all the nutritional requirements of the dog, adapting to the vital stage in which it is.

In addition, it must be palatable, that is, of good flavor, and digestible so you can take advantage of all the nutrients it includes. In summary, the well-fed dog is on its weight, neither fat nor thin, it eliminates compact feces and it has shiny hair and fur.

Nutritional supplements

If we offer our dog a quality diet, all the nutrients that are essential for its health will be integrated into it. Therefore, we do not have to add any food supplement.

In fact, it might even be counterproductive to do so. Also, only the vet can prescribe this type of product. Supplementation is only indicated, in general, in cases of inattentive, weakened, recently operated or stressed dogs.