Hair and skin are two of the main external indicators of health in a dog. In most cases, when the coat does not shine it is because the dog ihas poor nutrition or is unwell.
A dog’s coat and skin are its main external health markers. In most cases, if a dog’s coat isn’t shiny, it’s because its diet is poor or because it is unwell.
Symptoms of unhealthy skin and fur: The main symptoms of unhealthy skin or fur in dogs are:
- Dry or flaky skin
- Scabs and/or wounds on the skin
- Reddening of sensitive areas (groin, belly, neck)
- Symptoms of skin sensitivity Dry coat
- Hot spots
- Dull coat
- Brittle, breakable fur
- Unusual and unpleasant odour
If you notice any of these symptoms on your dog’s coat, go and see your vet for advice. Remember that some of the symptoms listed above are linked to what are known as dietary allergies, which can be prevented with the right diet.
Specific nutrients can prevent or resolve specific problems:
- High-quality protein: A dog’s coat is composed almost entirely of protein. That’s why 30–35% of the protein they eat is used for maintaining healthy skin and fur. A lack of high-quality protein can cause the colour in your dog’s coat to fade, or may be the cause of thin, poor-quality, dull fur
- Essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6: Essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 play a key role in the hydration and growth of the skin barrier. They help to encourage a soft, shiny coat.
- Specific vitamins and minerals: A lack of certain minerals, such as zinc, can cause crusted areas on pressure points and fur which is dry, dull and faded in colour. Biotin and zinc help to make your dog’s coat shinier, reduce flaking and improve the skin barrier. Vitamins A, B-complex, C and E are also essential for a healthy coat and skin.
Skin and fur are the natural barriers that protect your dog from external hazards. But that’s not all! These are the main functions of your dog’s skin and fur:
- Protection against fluctuations in temperature: fur acts as insulation against extremes of temperature, both hot and cold.
- A barrier against insect bites and parasites
- Protection against grazes, bumps and attacks by other dogs or animals
- Dog language: dogs use their fur as a means of visual communication. For example, when they want to show that they are on the alert, they raise their hackles.
- Sense of touch: dogs have mechanoreceptors at the base of their hairs, to detect movement. This means that their coats also act as a source of tactile sensations.