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Why Does My Dog or Cat Have Skin and Coat Problems?

Why Does My Dog or Cat Have Skin and Coat Problems

Herbal nutrition to help promote healthy skin and coat and to help relieve common skin conditions for dogs.

The immune system is a complex army of cells found throughout your pet’s body that provides a fortified defense against unwanted invaders. It is an intricate system that keeps your pet healthy and protects them against allergens, viruses, bacteria, microbes, parasites, toxins, foreign fells and cellular mutations (healthy cells which have mutated into irregular cells). The immune system is tasked with protecting EVERY cell in the animal body. With so many pet parents wondering why and how to best support immunity in their dogs and cats, this article will highlight its role and provide practical suggestions. 

Aside from quality food and filtered water, immunity is the single most important thing you can support in your pet. A healthy immune system is resilient and powerful and up to the task of supporting normal, balanced function. The immune system is not intended to be suppressed or stimulated.  But even an animal with a highly developed immune system can experience dysfunction or failure. In cases of dysfunction, an animal body requires whole body systemic support. If your pet’s immune system is weakened, every bodily system is at risk for disease. 

Your pet’s skin and coat are some of the most visible signs of health and wellness. An animal’s skin is sensitive and requires specific nutrients to produce natural oils which help keep the skin and hair follicles hydrated and protected. Although your pet secretes natural oil to keep skin and coat moisturized, an animal’s skin is vulnerable to anything in its environment, and as a result, is susceptible to a variety of foreign invaders, including fleas, ticks, allergies, parasites, toxins, infections and more. 

While some animals may have genetic or metabolic differences that can predispose them to skin and coat problems, poor quality food and treats are the most common factors that contribute to skin problems and may result in an unhealthy, uneven coat.

Good nutrition is essential in helping support healthy skin and coat for your dog and cat. Your pet needs to receive an adequate supply of protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, macro and micro minerals, digestive enzymes and more to achieve balanced health but they may also be critical for disease prevention. Many popular commercial diets are deficient in vital nutrients your dogs and cats need to maintain proper skin and coat health.

Without proper nutrition, your pet's coat may become dry, flaky, brittle, lack vibrancy and shine, and your pet may experience severe hair loss, known as alopecia. Poor nutrition can also undermine immunity, increase susceptibility to not only future disease, but nutritional deficiencies can make it easier for fleas, ticks and flies can wreak havoc on your dog’s coat, creating a vicious itch and scratch cycle. Worms and internal parasites can also sap vital nutrients from your dog or cat’s system, depleting the coat and creating more serious health problems. 

Common skin conditions include: 



Food allergies

Contact allergies

Toxin exposure



Bacterial skin infection

Fungal skin infection

Parasitic skin infection

Hormonal skin disease

Helpful suggestions:

If you are feeding a holistic, premium, all-natural dog and cat food-congratulations! Your pets likely not only have vibrant, healthy coats, their immune system is also likely thriving and robust.

Add in a nutritional preventative. Add an immune balancing herb, like Cat’s Claw (not from cats) or Turmeric. These plant based herbs contain a variety of immune boosting, inflammation fighting and disease preventative anti-oxidants which may help fight disease and reduce common problems such as allergies from presenting. As a bonus, nutritional herbs have also been studied for their potential benefits in promoting longevity.

Don’t feed-or limit-table scraps. Much of our human foods contain spices and other ingredients that may be harmful for your dog and cat.

Ensure your pet is getting exercise and has interactive play time with you. Those feel-good endorphins you get from exercise and interacting with your pet positively affect your dog and cat similarly.

Limit toxin exposure for your pets inside and outside your home. Scented detergent, dryer sheets, candles, room fresheners and cigarette smoke can undermine immunity inside your home just as lawn fertilizer and weed killers can affect your pets outside your home.

Some pets need regular bathing while others may need it only periodically. Check with your vet on which routine is best, and pay attention to how your pet’s coat reacts to washing. Customize your bathing routine to suit your animal. Use specific pet formulated shampoos, conditioners and detanglers, which are different for dogs vs. cats, since they have different coat needs. Do not use human shampoos, conditioners, detanglers or skin products on your pets since they may contain many components that may irritate or damage your pet’s skin and coat.  

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal nutrition can help deliver a host of vitamins, minerals, essential oils, and healthy natural plant chemicals which may provide layers of health supports for your dogs and cats.

Herbs may help support balanced immunity, disease resistance and may help limit common health problems such as allergies; may help soothe inflamed, itchy, irritated skin and may help heal and soothe skin infections; may help promote healthy and strong skin, bones, claws, fur and hair follicle health and shiny, glossy coats; may help support healthy cellular response and build up the skin matrix, including skin, coat, connective tissues and blood cleansing; may help keep levels of dermal fungus in the normal range to maintain skin health; may help provide symptomatic relief for itchiness, scratching, redness and burning of the skin; may help relieve skin allergies and irritations; provide first aid antiseptics for cleaning wounds, cuts, bites and bee stings in cats and dogs and may help promote nutrient assimilation for the benefit of healthy skin and coat.



Bionic Body – (learn more) is used holistically for its adaptogenic immune boosting and anti-inflammatory support; as an antioxidant and for its free radical scavenging (disease preventing) actions; for its nutritive content which may help to nourish the body and strengthen and revitalize bones, eye, teeth, skin and coat; works to stimulate collagen production, a primary building material of bones; may  help prevent dental disease; for its plant actions to help strengthen bones, cartilage, joints, muscles, connective tissues & blood vessels & helps to reduce joint inflammation, while activating a cartilage-protective biochemical, potentially helping to preserve healthy cartilage in aging joint; for its prebiotic and probiotic content to help support native gut flora and healthy digestion; may help to fight off allergies and infections.

The Daily Paws  (learn more) is used as a multi-vitamin, multi-mineral, multi-system nutritive for daily maintenance of all body systems, with emphasis on a healthy endocrine system, promotes healthy skin and shiny, glossy coats due to its high mineral and vitamin content, and is used to maintain body temperature, (important in immuno-compromised animals), and for a multiplicity of conditions and diseases including for allergies, arthritis, cognitive disorder and cancer, for urinary disorders to alkalinize (higher Ph) acidic urine and for blood purification.

Let's Get This Party Started! – (learn more) may help provide critical vitamins and minerals often missing in commercial diets as well as home cooked diets; may help promote luxurious skin, coat, hair shaft and follicle strength by helping improve blood circulation and oxygen flow; may help improve nutrient assimilation and digestion; may help soothe the belly and balance digestion; may be used as a topical healing agent to help promote rapid relief from pesky mosquito, fly and tick bites, rashes, hot spots, allergic reactions, wounds, and all types of skin irritations; may help promote healthy colon cleansing; aided by a nontoxic assortment of anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal natural plant-based essential oils.

Yelp for Kelp - (learn more) provides critical vitamins, amino and fatty acids and trace macro and micronutrient support for the endocrine system, to energize the body, for building and toning enzymes, tissues, hormones and bones, for enhancing natural cleansing and detoxification, to help nutritionally support a balanced immune system; to help support healthy skin and coat;  as an osteoporosis preventative, to promote immunity and for metabolic disorders, including the thyroid gland and other glands and tissues that affect the thyroid, for thyroid disorders, to cleanse the lymphatic system, to maintain healthy levels of TSH, T3 and T4, and for metabolic disorders.

Conventional Remedies:

The diagnosis of skin problems are based on the symptoms and a thorough physical examination. Samples of your pet’s skin may be taken to determine the type of infection and a biopsy may also be required to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment depends on the type of skin problem and its cause. For bacterial skin infections (superficial pyoderma), antibiotics, and antibacterial shampoos containing benzoyl peroxide may be prescribed. In order for the treatment to be effective, the full course of treatment should be completed.








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