Top 5: Tips For Improving Your Pets Skin & Coat Through Diet

Does your pet suffer from dry itchy skin?  Does their coat lack the luster and shine it once had?  There is a good chance you can fix that just by making a few changes to your pet’s diet.  The nutritional content of your pet’s food can make or break the condition of their skin and coat.  Here is what you should look for (or avoid) to help get your pet’s coat back on the right track.

***Note: It is always best to consult your veterinarian if your pet is having skin or coat issues, as diet may not be the root cause of their issue.  Many underlying health conditions can also cause coat or skin issues and should be ruled out to avoid any other complications.***

1.  Look For Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s

These nutrients are called essential body acids.  “Essential” meaning that they are not produced by your pet’s body on its own; they are nutrients that must be ingested by your pet, typically through their pet food.  The correct proportion of omega acids can help restore a dull & brittle coat, and help alleviate some skin conditions.  Purchasing a pet food that is high in Omega 6’s is usually not a problem as most commercial brands now make it a key ingredient.  However, Omega 3’s  are a nutrient that may need supplementing as most packaged pet foods do not seem to contain as much.  Fish oil is a tasty way of supplementing those Omega 3’s into the diet.  Together, the Omega 3’s and 6’s will work simultaneously to improve your pet’s overall coat appearance and skin condition.

2.  Be Weary Of Low Fat Diets 

Pets need fat. The good type of fat, that is.  As we discussed earlier, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are key ingredients in promoting a healthy skin and coat.  A low fat diet may seem optimal to help with weight loss for your pet, but be careful to not sacrifice the nutrients needed to maintain that shiny coat and healthy skin.  Using a supplement may be needed if the food lacks the appropriate amount of fats.

3.  Opt For A High Quality Protein Diet 

Protein plays an important role in building new cells, tissue, and hair.  Look for a pet food that contains high quality proteins such as actual chicken, lamb and fish.  Don’t buy foods with animal byproducts, corn or wheat.  Many pet skin allergies are related to corn, wheat and other fillers used by commercial pet food companies to keep their costs low.  By providing your pet with a food that contains higher quality ingredients you will improve your pet’s skin and coat with better nutrients that will show in their physical appearance.  

4.  Biotin Is Beneficial

An important B vitamin, biotin is critical in supporting your pet’s healthy skin and coat. Look for biotin listed in your pet’s food ingredients list.  Biotin can help alleviate many skin conditions that may be caused from biotin deficiencies. Biotin helps to maintain hydration in skin cells, allows for the manufacturing of new healthy strong hair, promotes growth, and can even help alleviate skin allergies.

5.  Access To Fresh Water

Were you surprised to see water on this list?  Making sure your pet is hydrated  will decrease your pet’s chance of having dry skin.  Hydrated skin is important for healthy skin.  Water also helps aid with digestion by allowing the body to properly and effectively break down the food so that all those vital and important nutrients can be properly used.  Make sure to have a fresh source of water available for your pet at all times.

There are many other contributing factors that help to establish a healthy skin and coat in your pet.  Always discuss with your veterinarian if you suspect any skin or coat issues as they may be the result of an underlying health condition.  Also discuss supplementation to ensure it is necessary and to discuss dosage amounts.  You are what you eat… and so is your pet!

Photo credit: laffy4k / Source / CC BY

Including Your Pet(s) In Your Estate Planning

If you are a pet owner, one of your biggest fears may be not not knowing what would happen to your pet(s) if something was to happen to you.  Would any family member take your pet in as their own?  Would they have the financial means to support your pet?

There are ways that you can secure your pet’s well being if you are no longer around to do so yourself.  My sister-in-law, Aiden Kramer, is a lawyer based out of Denver, Colorado.  She specializes in estate planning and has a very informative (and pet filled) YouTube video about the basics of some of the most popular ways to include your pet(s) in your estate.

Note:  The information in this video is generally applicable but the specifics of planning for your pets may vary state to state.  Contact an attorney licensed in your state who is familiar with including pet(s) in estate plans.