What foods can contribute to dry coats?
While a dry coat can be the result of poor grooming, stress or illness, allergies are often the cause.
An allergy is simply an over-reaction of the immune system, when it reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. It can be caused by:
• Unbalanced diet: Make sure the food has the proper ratio of nutrients, especially if you’re feeding your dog a homemade or raw food diet.
• Highly processed commercial foods: Many dogs are allergic to preservatives and additives.
• Protein components: Sometimes a dog can be allergic to beef, chicken, dairy, lamb, fish. The only way to tell for sure is through an elimination test (see our article explaining this.)
• Raw eggs: Raw eggs are often used to make the healthy hair shiny, but a much better choice for your dog is a cooked egg. You would think it’s healthy for your dog because it’s rich in protein, minerals and biotin—but raw egg yolk also contains avidin, which damages a dog’s metabolism and creates a biotin deficiency. What happens is the avidin binds to the biotin, thus interfering with absorption, and biotin plays an important role in the skin and coat of both dogs and cats. Biotin is used frequently (along with fatty acids) to treat a dog who has allergies and it is also an important part of growth, digestion and muscle formation in dogs.
• Carbohydrates: Dogs are often allergic to corn, wheat and soy and most dog food diets contain corn, because it’s used as filler. Be mindful of ingredient splitting: What that means is that “fragments” from one ingredient on the dog food label can be a way to hide a large amount of a low-value ingredient, since those “fragments” will appear far down on the ingredient list. But all them add up and it results in a whopping amount of one ingredient; corn seems to be the most prevalent when it comes to “splitting.”
• Sweeteners: Even foods that claim to be all natural can contain sugar, fructose, glucose, cane molasses, propylene glycol and corn syrup.
NOTE: Sometimes you’ll need to supplement, because the dog might not be getting enough omega 3 fatty acids or may just have poor digestion that causes her not to absorb nutrients properly.