Is a shiny coat a sign of a healthy animal?
A nice, shiny and healthy coat is taken as a sign of a healthy animal, an animal which is happy and content. Like humans, several factors are relevant when it comes to a cat’s or dog’s health and a shiny and full coat. To prevent hair loss in our pets, we have collated some information on coat condition and tips on how to achieve a nice shiny coat.
Coat care is crucial
The skin is the animal’s largest organ and, depending on age, accounts for 12 to 24 % of the total body weight. The skin presents a barrier between the outside and the internal body and its task is to shield and protect the body. In order to do so, the skin must grow many metres of hair, callous, claws and new skin layers. This makes the skin not only one of the largest and most important organs, but also one of the most productive. This is why good external and internal coat care is so important. External coat care includes regular brushing, for dogs a bath if the dog is very dirty, and prevention of parasite infestations by suitable means. Inner health depends on several factors. Genetic predisposition is an important factor for healthy skin and shiny coat. Of course, the general state of health of a pet is also important for a nice coat – any skin problems are always indicative of diseases (such as hormonal imbalances, allergies, metabolic disturbances, etc.). Therefore you should always consult your vet if your pet has any skin or coat problems.
Your doggy’s diet
Apart from the general health of the animal, the skin also needs important substances provided by the metabolism to enable it to produce new cells and transform others. As these building blocks are ingested daily with the food, the correct food composition is of utmost importance for a healthy skin and coat. The major skin building block is protein, as skin is made up of 95 % protein. Depending on the season, up to 30 % of the daily protein requirements are used to supply skin and coat. This is why a supply of high quality animal protein containing the crucial amino acids is of such importance for a healthy skin. Fatty acids are also skin building blocks. Here, not only the amount of fat but also its quality, the supply of the correct fatty acids in the food, is essential. The omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids fulfil special functions and are added to premium pet foods (such as Select Gold, Royal Canin or Iams/Eukanuba). They act as inflammation modulators and promote quicker healing of smaller inflammations which are frequently present. Apart from these major building blocks, vitamins (in particular vitamin A, some B complex vitamins and vitamin E), copper and zinc play a major role in skin metabolism and should be taken daily as part of the food in a balanced amount.
You cannot affect genetic factors. But you can aid your pet’s health by feeding a balanced diet containing high quality protein, the correct fatty acids, vitamins and minerals and thus ensuring a healthy skin and a thick, shiny coat.