Dietary Causes of Dog Skin Conditions

When dog skin conditions arise, look to your dog’s diet as a contributing factor. While fleas, ticks and other parasites can cause skin problems, a diet that is inappropriate for your dog can cause problems that are more difficult and take longer to resolve. Providing a well balanced diet for your dog, which contains the appropriate vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins, is key to keeping his skin and coat healthy.

Dietary Causes of Dog Skin Conditions

If your dog’s diet lacks essential fatty acids, both omega-6 and omega-3, his skin and coat can suffer. Without these essential fatty acids, your dog’s skin can become dry, he can lose hair, his skin can become greasy feeling and skin inflammation (red and irritated skin) can occur. Essential fatty acids also help your dog’s skin to heal effectively when scratched or irritated.

Insufficient protein in the diet can also cause problems with your dog’s skin and coat. Protein is an important component to the condition of his skin and coat. Protein helps to keep the cells strong and able to withstand the environmental irritants the skin battles. Your dog’s coat is comprised almost completely of protein. Without sufficient protein, the coat becomes dry and brittle and falls out, leaving your dog’s skin exposed and prone to damage.

A food rich in vitamins and minerals is also important to your dog’s skin health. Foods whose composition is primarily fillers or “junk foods” do not contain the optimum amount of vitamins and minerals essential to his skin health or overall health. The following nutrients are important to the health and resilience of your dog’s skin.

  • Vitamin A is essential for skin growth and repair.
  • Biotin allows your dog’s body to utilize protein. Without biotin, the protein in your dog’s diet will go unused and can’t help to build healthy cell structures.
  • Vitamin C helps the skin to be able to efficiently heal itself.
  • Copper is an essential mineral in your dog’s diet and skin health, as it provides for the proper synthesis of protein, pigment and skin tissue.
  • Vitamin E is an important antioxidant. It not only helps to prevent inflammation of the skin, it also protects the skin from a variety of irritants and damaging internal and external sources.
  • Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, is necessary in your dog’s diet for his body to properly metabolize fats and proteins.
  • Zinc is necessary for the metabolism of both fats and proteins. Without it, your dog will be unable to effectively process the fats and proteins in his diet, putting his skin health at risk.

Skin conditions are most frequently caused by dietary issues. Whether the issue is improper balance or allergic reaction to a certain food substance, feeding a good quality, well balanced food will help your dog to achieve and maintain healthy skin.