As you may or may not know, I love to add Dr. Becker's wisdom to my website whenever I can. The topic of dry flaky skin is particularly important during the winter months but care should be given year round so your dog or cat enjoys a healthy coat every day. So let's gain a little wisdom from the doctor;
Without This, Your Pet's Skin and Coat Can Suffer
By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker
Winter is here in most parts of the U.S., and just as cold temperatures and indoor heating tend to make your own hair and skin feel dry and flaky, the same thing can happen to furry family members. But keeping your dog's or cat's coat in healthy condition year-round, including this time of year, is probably easier than you think. More often than not, a pet's flaky skin and dry coat are due to one or more factors, including:
- Dietary deficiencies
- An underlying medical condition
- Lack of regular grooming
- Infrequent baths (or in rare cases, too frequent baths)
If your dog's or kitty's coat is in bad shape due to one or more of these causes, winter's cold temperatures and low humidity will exacerbate the problem. Your goal should be to consistently maintain your pet's skin and coat in optimum condition year-round to help avoid seasonal problems.
Insuring Your Pet's Diet Is Rich in Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Lack of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is a common cause of excessively flaky skin in pets. Dogs and cats need an abundance of omega-3s to be healthy from the inside out. Processed pet food is manufactured at very high temperatures, and since omega-3 fatty acids are sensitive to heat and light, they are inert by the time they are packaged.
Even if you feed your pet homemade raw meals, if you're not following a balanced recipe that calls for extra essential fatty acids (omega-3s from seafood), your dog's or cat's diet is probably unbalanced for fatty acids. In my experience, dietary deficiency of omega-3s is the number one cause of excessively flaky skin in pets.
Whether you feed a commercial or homemade diet, you may need to supplement with essential fatty acids. My favorite omega 3 is krill oil, but I also see good improvement in flaky coats when coconut oil (which does not contain measurable omega 3s or 6s) is supplemented.
Not only are omega-3s important for your dog or cat, so is the dietary ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. Most pet foods, whether commercial or homemade, are rich in omega-6 fatty acids.
Because the average pet diet is heavy in omega-6s, supplementing with additional omega-6s in the form of corn, olive, safflower or even flax oil (which contains some vegetable sources of omega 3s, but also omega-6s) can create an imbalance serious enough to cause skin problems.
If dry flakey skin can be helped or eliminated with a simple supplement, there's no reason not to give it. Our four legged friends are worth it!