Fatty acids like omega-3, which comprise of are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are needed for brain and vision development in puppies and also help with management of inflammation in joints and skin. Supplementation of omega 3 must be done via the diet as dogs cannot produce these themselves. 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. Omega-6 which includes linoleic acid is also an essential fatty acid, which is commonly found in vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn, safflower, canola/rapeseed, and soybean oils. Chicken and animal fats are also a good source.

It is responsible for normal reproductive, growth and immune function. It also has a nourishing and protective effect on skin and fur of dogs. These helps replace oils back into the skin and fur. If you are administering oils containing omega-3 and 6 fatty acids ensure that these are new and within shelf life as they have a tendency to go rancid and become ineffective.

Deficiency of vitamins especially that of Vit A, C and E may result in poor skin and coat conditions. Vit A or Retinol helps maintain nearly every organ system in the body. A very common symptom of dogs with Vit A deficiency is alopecia and dry, flaky skin (dandruff) with bumps or erosions. Dogs with low vit A levels have a tendency to suffer from ear irritation or frequent ear infections. Since vit A is also an important component in development of vision and skeletal system, puppies with deficiencies may show growth and developmental abnormalities with deafness and blindness. Experts recommend 3,333 IU of Vitamin A per kilogram of body weight for dogs of all life stages and breeds (Merck Veterinary Manual).  Sources include green leafy vegetables, milk, liver, carrots, broccoli, and watermelon. 

Vitamin E has two common forms- γ-tocopherol and α-tocopherol and is present commonly in Eggs Salmon, Avocado, Trout, Spinach, Safflower Oil, Sunflower Oil, Soybean Oil. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and hence plays an important role in protecting all the cells from free radical damage. Vitamin E promotes healthy skin and coats and helps reduce flakiness resulting in a healthy, glossy coat. Administration of Vitamin A and E must be done under proper supervision as these are fat soluble vitamins and excess administration may lead to life threatening toxicity.

Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen synthesis and development and hence is responsible for elasticity and repair of the skin in dogs.

Biotin is also known as vitamin H. Is an important nutrient as it helps metabolize amino acids, carbs, and fat. Biotin is one of the best supplements to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy. Biotin helps in protein utilization. Dog supplements containing biotin help with issues such as hair loss, dermatitis, and dull coat. Eggs are a rich source of Biotin

Zinc plays an important role in supporting the metabolism, immune system, and even important functions like wound healing. Zinc contributes to them having a healthy skin and fur, good thyroid function, and a healthy immune system. Ideal sources of Zinc are fresh meats- beef, beef liver, pork, turkey, and lamb. Zinc-responsive dermatosis is caused by zinc deficiency. Its symptoms include lesions, hair loss, crusting, and scaling of the epidermis.

Food for your Dog's Skin and Coat

Eggs:  are nutritional powerhouses, containing the most bioavailable protein, biotin, Vit A, Omega 3 and Omega 6. They also contain high concentrations of  lutein, which helps keep skin well hydrated and plays an important role in tissue repair.

Liver helps enhance skin health, it contains nutrients such as  calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D and E, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid and biotin. 

Cranberries have been used historically to treat a variety of ailments, from rheumatoid disorders, scurvy and fever, to skin wounds and eczema. Cranberries contain a variety of bioactive components, including antioxidant proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid. Anthocyanins have been found to have the strongest antioxidant power, even more than that of vitamin E. Anthocyanins have an anti-inflammatory action, and can even help lessen allergic reactions in dogs.

Sweet Potatoes are a super food for skin. They contain a high level of vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Sweet potatoes also contain calcium, iron, folate, potassium, copper and thiamine. The vitamin C in sweet potatoes helps accelerate healing and support collagen production.

Coconut oil and Coconut contain medium-chain saturated fats, which are transformed into energy and contain special properties that act as anti-inflammatory agents to decrease bacterial growth, irritation and inflammation in the body.

Fish Oil is known to help relieve dry, itchy skin and boost the immunity, resulting in a shiny coat. It is a rich source of Vit A and Omega 3 fatty acids. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and may have a protective effect of several organs besides the skin.