Skin issues are among the most common reasons cats and dogs visit the vet’s office. More than being a nuisance, it can be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Healthy pets have a shiny coat, not greasy or flakey, with minimal shedding (besides Spring and Fall). And although our dog may not smell bad to us, ask a friend to do the sniff test to be sure there isn’t a bad body odour.
Early signs of skin disease include a dull coat, flaky skin with dandruff, excessive shedding, and a musty odour. Some examples of underlying issues manifesting in the skin are hormonal imbalances, metabolic problems, digestive disturbances, chronic diarrhea (leading to mineral deficiencies), parasites, and even cancer. Many conditions will effect both the shininess and appearance.
If the suggestions below don’t seem to resolve the problem, seek the guidance of your vet. If your dog or cat is also extremely itchy and scratching (and doesn’t have fleas) click here for information regarding allergies. Or if your dog has a powerful corn chip smell and possibly suffers from constant ear infections, then yeast maybe the problem.
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Help from the outside
Brushing/combing regularly will help keep the coat healthier by removing loose hair and dead skin cells and distributing natural oils to the hair shafts. Long-haired pets may require daily brushing in order to avoid mats which can become painful and pull the skin. A shedding rake will be beneficial for dogs that have an undercoat such as huskies and golden retrievers.
Regardless of your pet’s fur type, regular grooming allows you to examine the skin and observe changes or discover lesions, lumps, or pesky bugs like fleas and ticks early on. Bathing frequency is a personal choice but you should always use a dog (or cat) specific shampoo since their pH balance is very different than ours and even baby shampoo can be too harsh.
Regular grooming can help.
Help from the Inside
Often cats and dogs with poor skin & coat simply need a change in diet. Try a more natural one without preservatives, additives, colouring, synthetic vitamins & minerals added. Switch to a whole food, unprocessed diet and avoid starches and carbs. Consider detoxifying the liver and kidneys. When these important filtering organs are overburdened, we often see signs that show up through the skin. Build up their immune system by strengthening the gut, which is the building block of overall health. Probiotics along with probiotics can help balance the bacteria in the gut and medicinal mushrooms blends are great at boosting the immune system. A great first step to healthy skin and coat is to add Omega-3’s found in fish oils or even better, phytoplankton. Even if your pet’s food has omega’s added, the processing and exposure to oxygen depletes them rapidly, especially omega-3’s which leads to an imbalance of the 6’s to 3’s causing inflammation in the body. Hemp oil and coconut oil are also beneficial for skin health (however they do not balance the 6’s to 3’s in kibble fed pets).
Hopefully you have discovered a few ideas to help improve your pet’s skin & coat here by working with the outside and inside. Excessive shedding, flaky skin, dandruff, and body odour shouldn’t be considered the norm for our pets. A healthy diet, regular grooming and perhaps a few supplements will make a difference, but if it doesn’t, consider visiting the vet to rule out any underlying illnesses.
A change of diet can make a
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