Dog Nutrition for a Healthy Coat
Experts offer diet tips to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
Omega-3 for Dog Coat Care
Omega-3 fatty acids can also help dogs with skin disorders.
“Omega-3’s have other beneficial effects for skin problems,” Logas says.
“They have very good anti-inflammatory effects, so we use them for dogs that
have allergies or other inflammatory
Flaxseed oil and fish oil are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. To
relieve itching or inflamed skin,
owners should look for supplements that contain EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Supplements come in liquid or capsule form. Brooks says that she prefers the
liquid form, because it gives more flexibility in dosing. Logas likes capsules,
because they protect oils from oxidation that happens during exposure to
But if dogs refuse to take capsules, some brands have snip tops that allow
owners to cut the capsule and pour the oil onto food.
Be careful not to give too many fatty acid supplements, Logas says.
Excessive amounts can be “too rich,” she says, and dogs may have upset stomachs
A dog’s skin and coat should improve about six weeks after starting omega-3
supplementation, Brooks says.
Other Supplements for Healthy Skin and Coat
Pet stores stock a variety of other supplements that claim to improve skin
and coat health. Brewer’s yeast and garlic were once believed to be natural
flea repellents, Logas says. But "it really doesn’t have any effect," she
In fact, she cautions against overdoing the supplements. Perhaps as a
reflection of human interest in consuming vitamins, “people want to add in a
lot of other vitamins” for their pets, too, Logas says. “Really, there’s not a
lot of evidence that it does much to help just a dog who has more or less a
But, if dogs have certain skin diseases, supplements can help. For example,
zinc deficiency can cause crusting on the skin. Also, some dogs with seborrhea, or scaly skin, may
require extra vitamin A.
But it’s best to seek veterinary help before starting your dog on
supplements, say Brooks and Logas. For instance, too much zinc or vitamin
A can cause problems if given for long periods.