What’s up with your dog’s skin?
Did you know the skin is the biggest organ of your dog’s body? Unlike other organs that are hidden from view, your dog’s skin is on full display, so its appearance can be a great indicator of general health.
Skin issues are a major reason for a trip to the vet – complaints like dry skin and a dull coat indicate something may be up with your pup, and their diet may actually be a contributing factor.
What can cause dry skin and a dull coat?
If your dog suffers from dry skin, it could be due to one or more factors, including:
- The weather! Dry skin and dullness in our pups’ coats tend to be worse in winter
- Persistently flaky skin can be a symptom of a low functioning thyroid (or ‘hypothyroidism’) – other symptoms include thinning fur and a dull coat
- Fungal, bacterial or parasitic infections can result in flaky skin that won’t clear easily too
- Lack of omega-3 fatty acids and other dietary deficiencies can affect the health of your dog’s skin which can become dry and flaky
- Mineral deficiencies in the diet, such as zinc and copper in particular can cause skin symptoms like hair loss, cracking and even ulcers
- Inadequate protein or fat can result in hair loss or loss of coat colour – nutritional scientists and vets are currently debating on about how much protein pups need for optimal health, with many natural feeding vets supporting higher quality protein levels
- Allergies (both food and environmental) in dogs can cause very itchy skin
- A lack of regular grooming can contribute to poor skin and coat health, but so can too much bathing which can dry your pupper’s skin!
How can your dog’s diet help their skin?
It’s important to make sure your dog’s food is complete and balanced, so that nutritional deficiencies don’t cause skin problems. Soft, smooth skin and a glossy coat could be within reach – with a fresh food diet that contains all the nutrients for your pup’s best health.
Nutrient quality and quantity are important. We’re talking bioavailability – that’s how easily nutrients are absorbed and are available to do what they’re intended for. Nutrients in minimally processed fresh food may be more bioavailable than in highly processed food, such as kibble.
While more research is needed, antioxidants and phytonutrients derived from minimally processed foods are being revealed as key nutrients for a complete and balanced diet. Take polyphenols, for example, which can impact the function of the microbiome. At Lyka we’re avid followers of the latest research and are here ahead of pet food regulator recommendations (such as AAFCO or FEDIAF) when it comes to new evidence.
Omega 3 fatty acids are great for keeping skin healthy, but they’re sensitive to heat and light so they’re usually inert by the time they reach the end of a lengthy manufacturing process – which is the case in highly processed foods. The balance of Omega 6: Omega 3 is also important, as a balance that’s too heavy on omega 6 can cause skin inflammation.
Keeping your pup to a healthy weight is also important when it comes to their skin. Obesity is linked to a range of skin conditions with chronic inflammation at their cause – fresh healthy food in the correct portion sizes can help beat the bulge and keep your pup lean!
Trust the food you give your pupper. Studies have shown that many pet foods, when tested, contain different ingredients to those listed on the label – either missing some or containing more than are listed. This makes it impossible to identify ingredients that might be causing an allergy for example, especially if you’re doing an elimination diet. That’s where ingredients are eliminated and then slowly re-introduced one at a time to see if they cause a reaction. An unregulated Australian pet food industry also doesn’t help, so take care when choosing the food you give your pup.
How else can I take care of my dog’s skin?
Follow our top 5 tips to help keep your pupper’s skin healthy.
- Groom your pup regularly – it helps remove dead skin and hair, and make sure you use products specially formulated for dogs when bathing them
- Try using a humidifier in the home – air conditioning in summer or heating in winter can dry skin out
- Check your pupper’s skin (do it every time you groom) to see if changing to a healthy, fresh diet is improving their condition – if there’s no improvement, check with your vet
- Could it be stress related? Fears, phobias and anxieties, even boredom through lack of physical exercise or mental enrichment can result stress. The result of stress hormone imbalance can show in the skin
- Watch your pup’s weight – keeping your pupper at a healthy weight can help avoid allergy related skin issues linked to obesity
Lyka is great for skin
Health shows in the skin – it’s one way you tell how good Lyka is for your pup. Our food is minimally processed to preserve nutritional content as much as possible and contains key skin enriching nutrients, including:
Omega 3s for their anti-inflammatory effect, plus an Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio that we keep between 2:1 and 3:1 – that’s much lower than the 30:1 ratio recommended by the AAFCO dog food standards in order to avoid the pro-inflammatory risks associated with high levels of Omega 6 relative to Omega 3. We boost Vitamin E too which is recommended with increased Omega 3 levels.
Zinc and copper – Lyka recipes meet or exceed all minimums set by AAFCO and FEDIAF.
Antioxidant-rich, bioactive ingredients that go above and beyond recommended standards – all food sources are carefully selected and known to be safe for dogs, for example, spirulina and shiitake mushrooms.
Custom portion sizes based on your dog’s weight, body shape, activity levels and age, to help your pupper stay at a healthy weight.
Lyka tastes great too!
You know exactly what you’re getting with Lyka. We only use human-grade ingredients and you get exactly what’s on our ingredient list. Lyka offers a custom plan of nutritious, freshly cooked dog food delivered to your front door, to give your pupper the best start – every day!