Improving a dog's coat and skin using diet
How natural food can help in improving your dog's coat and skin
(from the inside out)
A dog’s coat and skin condition is usually a pretty good indicator of its general well being and health.
Nutritional imbalance can manifest itself in digestive disorders, allergy-type symptoms, itching, dry or greasy skin, hives, dandruff and a thin, dull, dry, or brittle coat.
The important word here is IMBALANCE. Most reputable dog foods contain enough nutrients and fatty acids to prevent things going badly wrong, and such natural, holistic foods are widely available. But are they enough? What is becoming increasingly acknowledged in human and canine nutrition is the science of nutrigenomics, which balances the DNA with the composition of the food, and so gives a total approach to overall body health which results in a healthy skin and an attractive, glossy coat.
The skin explained
So what is needed? Let’s start with the skin, which is the body’s largest organ and is composed of two cell layers – the inner layer which is primarily connective tissue, and the outer layer (epidermis) which is the body’s major barrier against infection. These cells are made of protein and fats.
An imbalance in the food weakens the cell structure thus allowing infection and bacteria to penetrate, irritating the skin, resulting in skin lesions – an itch which must be scratched.
Animal based proteins, such as lamb, chicken, duck and salmon, are rich in amino acids and are a major influence on your dog’s skin and coat health. “Vegetarian” or plant based proteins may contain only some of these vital amino acids. A diet which contains insufficient protein will thus starve the body of its essential building blocks – resulting in skin problems. A high grain content usually means an excess of Omega-6, but not enough Omega-3’s – in other words, an out-of-balance diet which plays havoc with the skin.
Fatty acids are found in ingredients such as high quality chicken fat, and Omega 3 oils from salmon and linseed which are particularly high in EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) thus helping to lower the risk of inflammation. Omega 6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) help the skin cell membrane and are essential in skin and coat development.
Omega 6 must be introduced to the dog by diet – the dog does not “make” it.
The correct balance of vitamins and minerals are absolutely essential to a healthy skin, and it is obviously better if these are contained within the food rather than through supplements, as supplements can easily upset the all important balance. The key vitamins are A , D, B6, H (Biotin) and E; the important minerals are zinc and copper. Zinc helps to reduce infection and copper helps in tissue development. As always, the balance of these ingredients has to be nutrigenomically correct to avoid the onset or aggravation of problems.
Improvement of the coat.
So what makes a good coat? A good coat is not possible without an underlying healthy skin. The coat itself is composed almost exclusively of protein, so low protein foods have an obvious danger. Again, the protein must be of good quality and animal based – salmon, lamb, duck, or chicken. If the protein source is of this high standard, then it should not form less than 22% of the food – with special need food going as high as 28 – 30%. The protein amount in dog food is very topical, but it is not wise just to look at the percentage figures (18% so it must be OK) but at the quality of the protein source. Protein is much maligned, but as it forms the building blocks of the whole body, its quality is integral to your dog’s health. Protein of insufficient quantity or quality is, without doubt, detrimental to coat condition and general health.
It can be tempting to treat a skin or coat condition with shampoos or supplements (which only add to the food cost), but this can just treat the symptoms rather than getting to the root of the problem. This is done by diet. This is done by treating the problem from the inside out – nutrigenomically.
A complete nutrigenomic, natural and holistic food range is available in the UK from Golden Eagle. It is a food which includes no artificial preservatives, synthetic chemicals, colours or additives – just 100% natural goodness – nothing more – nothing less.
If the condition of the coat or skin is extreme, then it will be best to start on the Sensitive Hypo Allergenic range – particularly the salmon which is so rich in everything that is good for the skin and coat..
After a couple of weeks or so, or if the condition is not acute, change to the Salmon and Oatmeal formula from the nutrigenomic holistic range.
When the improvements are seen – as they will be – then either continue with the Salmon, or change to the Chicken formula which also contains salmon and pork. As Golden Eagle is completely natural and perfectly balanced, it is usually possible to change feeds immediately rather than over a period of time.
Try this for 60 days and you will see the difference!