A dull, itchy skin and coat is a common ailment among pets, particularly in cats and dogs. If untreated, it can lead to a lifetime of discomfort for your beloved furry friend. Thankfully, a dull and dry coat is often easy to treat with the right care.
If your pet suffers from dry skin and a lackluster coat, consider the following:
There is the old saying: you are what you eat. Your pet’s diet plays the most significant role in their overall health and well-being, and is the most common reason for the development of skin and coat issues, including dry, flaky skin, itchiness, profuse shedding, and more.
Low quality pet foods only address the absolute bare minimum nutritional needs of an animal, and often lack the nutrient-dense ingredients to help them really thrive. Instead of focusing on the quality of their products, many pet food manufacturers rely on the addition of synthetic vitamins and minerals to make up for substandard ingredients.
Contrary to popular belief, the pet industry is self-regulating, meaning there is no governing body policing the quality of pet consumables in North America. As a result, many pet food manufacturers get away with using the lowest quality ingredients they can find and still be considered a “complete and balanced diet” for pets, thanks in large part to the synthetic additives.
Consider this. If you think eating fast food is unhealthy for people (and it is), remember these foods still meet standards for human consumption. Because pet foods are intended for pets, and not meant for the human food chain, pet food ingredients do not need to meet any standard for quality. This is a very scary thought, especially when you understand that euthanized dogs and cats can be used as a source of meat in certain commercial pet food brands. These ingredients are also extremely highly processed, so any naturally-occurring nutrition is often destroyed during processing, reinforcing the need for synthetic additives in pet foods.
The result of feeding our pets inadequate nutrition will ultimately manifest into dull coats, excessive shedding, itchiness, and much more.
Improving your pet’s diet is your first step towards a better quality of life. It is easy to do, and comes with a massive payoff. High quality pet foods made by reputable manufacturers will include more nourishing human-grade ingredients, nutrient-dense wholefoods, and a higher concentration of quality Omega fatty acids. Consider speaking with a pet professional certified in pet nutrition, as they will help you find the diet best suited for your pet’s unique needs.
After upgrading your pet’s diet, you will begin to see noticeable improvements in their skin and coat health within a matter of weeks.
Even with a high quality diet, some pets may still have difficulty getting the nutrients they need for optimal coat health. In this case, proper supplementation can go a long way to providing a boost in those much-needed areas.
Hemp oil and fish oil (among others) are the most popular supplements for improving skin and coat health, as they are exceedingly high in essential fatty acids. Plus, they’re very easy to serve; simply add the correct suggested amount as a topper on your pet’s food. Alternatively, zinc supplements are another popular skin and coat booster, as zinc deficiencies are a leading cause of skin and coat problems in pets.
These supplements are to be fed every day, and in combination with a well-balanced diet, will give your pet the kind of coat that will make all the neighbourhood pets envious.
For many pets, grooming is an important component to their care. Infrequent or insufficient grooming can contribute to skin and coat issues, and make existing issues worse. Regular grooming removes dead fur, thins out thick undercoats, cleanses away dirt and debris, and can also help to identify developing skin and coat related issues early.
Naturally, the amount of grooming required depends on the pet. Some dogs, like a black lab, may only need a simple bath and a brush out every so often, whereas a doodle may need more frequent professional care because of their tendencies towards matting of the coat.
Anyone can groom their pets at home, however, to look their absolute best it is wise to seek the help of a qualified pet groomer. They will know exactly what care is required for your specific pet, and will have all the tools and supplies needed to do the job correctly and safely.
Not all pets are created equal, and some may need more help than others. By sheer luck, some pets may have gorgeous looking coats their whole life without needing any special attention. Alternatively, some pets get the short end of the stick and need lots of support in certain areas. Either way, by following these simple steps, your pet will be looking their best and feeling their best, too.
Brandon Forder, known as The Pet Expert, is vice-president of Canadian Pet Connection, an industry leader in healthy pet lifestyles. Brandon is certified in pet nutrition, and has more than twenty-five years’ experience specializing in pet health and behaviour. He has written hundreds of informative pet-related articles for newspapers, magazines, radio, and the popular Ask the Pet Expert Blog. Brandon is highly skilled in pet problem solving, and enjoys teaching others about smart and responsible pet ownership. To learn more, visit www.CanadianPetConnection.ca.