Growing a Healthy Coat
There are many factors that can affect a dog’s coat health and overall condition. These are the dog’s overall health, parasites, allergies, disease, and nutrition. Protein is the major component of a dog’s skin and coat; hair alone is 95% protein. Oils are also of major importance in maintaining a dog’s coat health. First, all cell membranes are composed of both proteins and oils. The complex linkages between these two chemicals regulate the passage of water, minerals, and nutrients in and out of cells. The oils help retain body moisture, maintain suppleness in the skin surface, and contribute to the sheen of the dog’s coat. Yet, protein remains the foundation of a dog’s skin and coat health just as it is for muscle. All skin cells are replaced every 3-4 weeks in a normal dog.
Pet Nutrition The best coat begins from within. A complete diet rich in essential amino acids and other key nutrients is the basis for good health and a beautiful coat. In a normal, healthy dog, balance is the key. Deprivation, as well as excess levels of specific nutrients, can be detrimental to a dog’s coat health. A deficiency of certain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or fatty acids can result in canine skin problems. Your dog itches and scratches and the coat damaging itch/scratch cycle begins. Hair becomes lackluster, breaks, and thins.
Canine Skin/Coat Problems Parasites Internal and external parasites can play a damaging role in your dog’s skin and coat health. Worms can deplete your pet’s nutritional supply from within. Hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms, which suck the blood from the lining of the intestines, can quickly deteriorate a dog’s coat health. Protein loss would be similar symptoms to inadequate protein intake.
Dog Allergies Dog Allergies can also play a part in canine skin problems and dog coat health. There are three main types of allergens: contact (such as flea saliva); inhaled (such as pollen, mold, dust); and food (ingredients). Dogs do not react to allergies in the same way humans do. They are not likely to sneeze or have runny noses. Instead, you will see your dog itching and scratching, biting at their hind region, and licking or chewing at the pads of their feet. If you see your dog scratching ears, tail, or anyplace they can reach, it may be signs of pet allergies. If left untreated, it is likely that this will result in an inflammation of the pet’s skin, resulting in infection. Dog allergy symptoms can also masquerade as, and perhaps lead to, ear infections, causing excessive wax build up and or your dog itching
Contact Dog Allergies The most common dog allergy is the result of fleabites. This is due to the dog becoming allergic to the saliva of the flea. this reaction can occur after only one flea bite (once the dog has been previously exposed). Many times, no fleas will be on the dog when the dog is examined, but intense biting and itching occurring near the tail is a dead giveaway. There also may, or may not, be bumps on the dog’s skin causing the hair to have a raised appearance
Inhalant Dog Allergies Allergic reactions to inhaled substances begin to appear at 6-24 months of age. Usually, the first experience coincides with pollination time. However, seasonal patterns may change if the dog has become sensitive to dust or other materials.
The most overlooked cause of dog allergies are food allergies. Food allergic dogs develop sensitivity to a substance in their diet. The most common allergens in dog food are: corn, whey, milk and beef.
Alex Brown is the Vice President of ALC Inovators, Inc. ALC Inovators has been producing supplements to promote the health of dogs and cats for over twenty-five years. Along with the IN® Diet Supplement, ALC Inovators manufactures INhancerTM for dogs with hip and joint pain. They can be found at www.inpetsupplements.com