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Nutrition, Skin, and Dogs

Many dog owners are unaware of the significant role that their pet's diet plays in maintaining the quality of their skin and coat. In this post, our veterinarians in Los Angeles County aim to enlighten you about the correlation between your dog's nutrition and the overall health of their skin and coat.

How does nutrition affect my dog's skin and coat?

A dog's skin is its largest organ, and along with its coat, it makes up 12% of its average body weight. This is why its skin and coat require a significant amount of energy and nutrient intake to maintain its health.

Therefore, the quality of your dog's diet will directly impact the quality of their skin and coat.

Dogs that do not receive enough nutrients cannot provide their skin with the necessary building blocks to maintain its health. This deficiency may cause the coat to appear dull or patchy, and the skin may suffer from dryness or irritation.

How does poor nutrition affect my dog's skin?

One of the most common ways your dog's diet can negatively affect its skin health is by degrading or destroying a biofilm that naturally sits on the outside of its skin called sebum. Like humans, a healthy dog's skin naturally secretes this substance, which creates a protective layer over its skin, protecting it from debris and bacteria and keeping it moisturized.

When your dog's skin doesn't get the nutritional ingredients it needs to maintain its biofilm, it can become home to bacteria and become irritated, infected, uncomfortable, and dangerous to its overall health if it goes long enough.

Some breeds, such as bulldogs and pugs, are more susceptible to skin infections because their skin has folds that aren't as exposed to air and can harbor more bacteria. Maintaining a proper diet to allow these dogs to defend themselves naturally against these microscopic invaders is even more important than in other dogs.

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

Poor skin condition can reveal itself in a number of ways. The most common symptoms are:

  • 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 are the main way a dog's diet can negatively affect their skin and coat. However, if your dog has a dermatological allergy, they may also display symptoms of skin issues.

In such cases, the body's response is caused by what is in your dog's food, rather than what is not (due to the dietary allergen). 

Some dogs may have specific ingredient allergies in their food; if you suspect this, they may exhibit similar symptoms to those listed above. If you think that your dog is getting all the necessary nutrition from their daily diet, contact your veterinarian immediately.

They can test your pup for allergies and guide you through the process of narrowing down the ingredients until you find the best food 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.

If you're concerned about the state of your dog's skin or coat, contact our veterinarians at Animal Hospital of Redondo Beach in Los Angeles County today for an examination.

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Animal Hospital of Redondo Beach is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Los Angeles County companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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