Top tips for healthy skin and coat in pets

Managing a pet’s skin and coat is one of the most common reasons a pet owner will take their dog or cat to visit the vet. In dogs in particular, there are some breeds where skin problems are more common, such as Terriers, Setters, Retrievers, Spaniels and Dalmatians.

Often pet owners want to help calm their pet’s sensitive, dry flaky skin and require a product that will soothe and reduce the itching to help make their pet more comfortable. The causes and irritation fall into several categories and to complicate matters, some pets are affected by more than one cause. These can include fleas, food allergies and an acute fatty balance.

Common signs that your pet may need support for their skin and coat could include:

  • If your pet is moulting a lot
  • Your pet may develop thin or balding patches
  • They could have developed dry or flaky skin
  • If their coat appears dull or greasy

If your pet has all round symptoms, they could be allergic to something in your home, however there are allergic reactions that are season specific. Outdoor allergens can include, ragweed, grasses and pollens.

What should healthy skin and coat look like?

A healthy coat should be shiny but not greasy and will be soft and quite smooth. An unhealthy coat on a dog will be dry and brittle and could also be greasy with a dusty appearance. There could also be a few bald spots and an unpleasant smell.

Persistent itching is not only stressful for their pet, but can also cause distress to the pet owner. To help to maintain the health of your pet’s skin and coat, here are some positive things that you can do:

Regular grooming
This helps to remove loose hairs keeps your pet’s coat free from dirt and distributes natural skin oils that help make their coat shiny. Try not to groom them more than once a week, as this could lead to irritation on the skin.

Do not over bath
Don’t bathe your pet too much as this may cause dry skin and irritation. When doing so, only use animal specific shampoos.

Protect your pet from the sun
Like humans, overexposure to the sun is bad for your pet’s skin. Try to limit the amount of time your pet spends in the sun, especially short haired and light coloured dogs and cats and watch out for signs of burning. Sunscreens for pets are available to use.

Feed your pet a good quality diet, foods rich in fatty acids, oils and vitamins are essential for healthy skin. Pets often unwittingly gain an unnatural diet, which is too high in omega-6 fatty acids derived from high levels of cereals and vegetable proteins.

Parasite control
One of the most common causes of skin complaints is parasites and fleas. Prevention is always the best treatment for flea control. Be sure to treat all pets, as outdoor pets can carry fleas to indoor pets. Also be sure to treat areas your pet may venture, such as bedding.

A constant supply of water is important to keep your pet cool and hydrated, like us, pets require water to maintain healthy skin.

Reduce stress
This is important, as stress can lead to over grooming, which can cause irritation. If your pet is anxious, ask your vet about nutracalm, which naturally calms anxious pets.

Keep home and bed clean
Regularly clean, provide fresh bedding and reduce dust in your home. vacuuming on a regular basis, at least twice a week will help to remove any excess dust that might irritate your pet’s skin.

Naturally supplement
Use a natural supplement like nutramega, which contains high quality omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E that naturally calms sensitive skin, soothe dry, flaky skin and reduces itching and scratching. Counteracting the Omega-6 imbalance with omega-3s can help your pet’s skin health by reducing inflammation.

If you are concerned about your pet’s skin and coat health, speak to your vet. They are best placed to offer advice to ensure the health and wellbeing of your pet.