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Nutrition & Diet for Dogs: How it Affects Skin Health

While it is not the most obvious, your dog's appearance can be impacted by the foods you choose to feed them. Our Springfield vet specialists discuss the effects of poor diet and nutrition on your dog's skin and fur and what you can do if you see the signs.

The Effect of Diet & Nutrition on Your Dog's Skin

A dog's skin, along with its coat, makes up 12% of its body weight. This is why they need a lot of nutrients to keep their skin and coat healthy. If a dog doesn't get enough nutrients, their skin and coat won't be healthy. This can cause dryness, irritation, and a dull or patchy coat. So, it's important to give your dog a good diet to keep their skin and coat healthy.

How does my dog's poor diet and food intake affect their skin?

When your dog is experiencing a condition affecting their health, there is a good chance that there will be some impact that is noticeable from the outside, such as in the appearance of their skin and fur.

The most common skin problems in dogs are:

  • Allergy (including flea bites and atopic dermatitis)
  • Skin cancers
  • Bacterial skin infection
  • Seborrhea (greasy skin or dry, flaky skin)
  • Parasites (e.g., demodectic mange)
  • Food hypersensitivity / intolerance
  • Immune-medicated skin disease
  • Hormone-related skin diseases

In cases where a food allergy is not present, your dog may still experience skin issues related to their diet.

When it comes to people, you are what you eat is a common phrase indicating the relationship between food and your general health and appearance. This saying could be extended to dogs and other animals as well. 

A nutritional deficiency can greatly impact both your dog's skin and coat.  This can happen both with homemade dog foods that aren't professionally formulated and with low-quality commercial dog foods.

What symptoms might a dog with a poor diet experience?

Poor skin conditions can show up in various ways, with some of the most common symptoms being:

  • Dry, dull hair with 'split ends'
  • Slow growth or no growth of hair from spots that have been clipped or shaved
  • Accumulation of dry skin scales
  • Pressure sores
  • Change in or loss of hair color

What other dog skin problems occur with poor nutrition?

A dog's skin and coat may suffer if they lack essential nutrients in their diet or if they have a dermatological allergy caused by certain ingredients in their food. If your dog shows symptoms of skin issues, it could be due to an allergic reaction to something in their diet rather than a lack of nutrition.

Some dogs are allergic to specific food ingredients and may have similar symptoms. If you think your dog is getting enough nutrition, but still has skin problems, talk to your vet. They can test for allergies and help you find the best food for your dog's health.

Treating Dog Skin Conditions

The dermatology department at The Regional Veterinary Referral Center and our dermatologist, offer expert diagnosis and treatment for skin conditions affecting dogs and cats.

There are a variety of skin conditions that can affect dogs and cats, but some are more common than others. These include allergies, bacterial or fungal infections, chronic scratching, skin parasites and hair loss.

With years of training and experience in veterinary dermatology, our Springfield specialist can differentiate between the various conditions associated with pet skin conditions. This allows for a more accurate diagnosis and the most effective treatment.

Learn more about our dermatology services

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is itching and scratching or you are otherwise concerned about skin-related symptoms they may be experiencing, please contact our team of specialists in Springfield to ask about a referral to our hospital.

New Patients & Referrals Welcome

The Regional Veterinary Referral Center is accepting new patients in emergency situations or by referral! Our experienced specialists are passionate about the health of Springfield pets. Contact us today to learn more.

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Contact (703) 451-8900