The importance of looking after your pet's skin and coat
The general condition of your pet’s skin and coat is a good indicator of their overall health.
One of the main ways a vet will assess the health of your pet is by looking at the condition of the coat and skin first.
A healthy coat is shiny and smooth, not brittle or coarse, and healthy skin should be supple and clear, not greasy, flaky, or bumpy.
Health and nutrition play a huge role in the appearance and texture of your pet’s coat from the inside.
Whereas regular grooming and skin care on the outside will help keep your pet’s coat clean and tangle free, no matter what type of fur they have.
If your cat or dog has a dry, flaky, or dull unkempt coat, they may be suffering from a condition such as thyroid disease, kidney or liver disease, or a nutritional disorder.
But there are also a number of things out of your control that could affect your pet’s skin as well. From flea allergy dermatitis to seasonal allergies and other environmental factors.
Keep reading to see why it’s wise to be proactive about your pet’s skin health and discover our vet experts best-kept secrets.
The prevention of parasites, especially fleas is much better and cheaper than cure.
Fleas can cause issues such as flea allergy dermatitis, which can result in painful, inflamed and infected skin complaints.
This can be avoided with flea and tick prevention treatments on a regular basis. There are a number of medications to choose from.
Buddycare offers an affordable monthly parasite treatment which is available as a single purchase or a super convenient subscription.
FleaScreen is a UK licensed veterinary product which just means its safe and effective at keeping fleas and ticks at bay.
A good quality complete diet (a blend of all the nutrients your pet needs) is the key to good skin health.
As a comparison it would be like us eating a junk food diet every day alongside lots of sugar and sweets. In time this would have a bad impact on everything!
Our general health, our weight, our skin, and our behaviour. The same can be said for our pets.
Not only for the skin, but for good general health, a well-balanced nutritionally complete great quality diet, is needed.
Nothing affects the condition of your pet's coat more than diet.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, minerals and vitamins play an essential part in caring for your pet's coat and skin.
Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish and algal oils and flaxseed and certain supplements.
Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found in soy, flaxseed, corn and other nuts, is a key nutrient in maintaining a healthy coat.
Many pets with flaky, dry skin are often deficient in linoleic acid. Dandruff, thin hair, discoloured hair, poor healing and increased shedding are all associated with low linoleic acid levels in the skin and diet.
Zinc is especially important in the skin because of the high cellular turnover rate caused by constant shedding. What's more, zinc helps reduce water loss through the skin.
Pets who have low levels of zinc in their diet develop hair loss, skin infections, and a dull appearance.
Biotin and B vitamins play important roles as cofactors in many of the body's metabolic processes, including fat metabolism.
This is important in the skin because B vitamins and biotin are involved in aiding linoleic acid function in the epidermis and dermis.
If you need support with your pet’s diet, you can get expert advice from a registered vet nurse at Buddycare.
Their vet nurses are available to discuss types of diet, life-stage feeding and answer any questions relating to feeding pets.
Our qualified nurses can even help with nutritional support and create personalised nutrition plans to ensure that your pet is getting the very best diet to benefit them.
You can book your free online consultation here.
Adding an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to your pet’s diet can help improve moisture retention and reduce any itchiness.
Omega 3’s can also have an anti-inflammatory effect and help calm angry skin.
Buddy Omega Care is clinically proven to support joint comfort and mobility and helps support skin and coat health.
All pet’s benefit from regular grooming. Regular grooming, whether done by a professional or yourself at home, is fantastic for keeping the fur and skin in good condition.
Brushing the fur regularly helps to remove dead skin cells and evenly spreads the skins natural oils which is necessary for good coat health.
Matted fur can lead to damaged and inflamed skin which can be very painful. Matts in the hair can pull the skin causing discomfort. They will also harbour dirt and bacteria which can irritate the skin.
Grooming is also the best time to check the coat and skin for any new lumps and bumps, rashes or issues early, reducing costs for vet treatment.
We always recommend keeping a good quality shampoo at home to keep your pet’s hair and coat clean.
Shampoo reduces odours, and in certain instances can help reduce bacteria, yeasts and soothe itchy skin.
There are plenty available on the market, you just have to find which one suits your pet’s skin type.
If you need help picking a product, speak to a Buddycare vet nurse here.
If you find that you are doing all of the above and your pet’s skin is still suffering, they may have allergies.
Irritated or itchy skin is officially referred to as ‘pruritus’ and It is one of the most common problems vets see. It can be caused by a variety of factors.
Some pets suffer all year round, whilst others have more seasonal allergies and struggle at certain times of the year. Similar to how us humans suffer from hayfever.
Typical allergens include pollens, trees, grasses, flea saliva (from flea bites), house dust mites, mould spores, bacteria, food and medication.
Atopy/atopic dermatitis is the name for allergies caused by environmental allergens.
If you believe your pet may have allergies it’s important to identify the cause of itchy skin.
However, this can take some time so you should ask your vet about itch relief whilst investigations take place.
In the case of skin allergies, treatment is likely to be more about long-term management and prevention rather than finding a cure.
Most pets will need long-term anti-itch medication.
The key to a healthy coat begins with your pet's diet and taking a proactive approach to pet care.
By taking into the account all of the above and incorporating some changes into your regular routine, you can stay ahead of any skin issues.
If you are concerned about how your cat or dogs skin, consult with your vet to see if an underlying nutritional or medical condition could be the cause.