How Food And Nutrients Positively Affect Your Dog’s Skin

by Cate Burnette, RVT

Just as in our human diets, the nutrients in your dog’s food can affect how her skin does its job – protecting and covering the muscles, bones, and internal organs in the canine body while providing a transport system for blood cells, oxygen, and water. A malnourished and dehydrated animal will show the effects of a lack of water and nutrients first in the skin by exhibiting dry and flaky skin cells, a decrease in skin pliability, and an inability of the skin to heal itself.

Re-introducing those particular nutrients – Vitamins A, C, E, and B3 – that nourish and promote skin health can be as simple as looking in your pantry or refrigerator and adding particular foods to your pet’s menu.

Using the list below, you can find safe, canine-friendly foods that your dog will love as a treat or special supplement, and that are easily added to her regular meal plan.


Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for great skin health. It promotes new cell growth, boosts the immune system, and works to allow your dog’s cells to transcribe energy from one to the other – the prime component in healing.

Foods rich in Vitamin A include:

· Liver

· Sweet potatoes

· Carrots

· Dark, leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, collards, and turnip greens

· Butternut squash

· Dried parsley, basil, and oregano

· Cantaloupe

· Green peas

· Milk, both whole and non-fat

· Oatmeal

Vitamin C – ascorbic acid – works on your dog’s skin by developing and maintaining healthy blood vessels and scar tissue. A powerful anti-oxidant, this nutrient is known to combat the effects of aging and strengthen your pet’s immune system. A major component of cartilage, Vitamin C helps lubricate your pet’s joints and keep her skin soft and supple. Because vitamin C is one of the vitamins your pooch doesn’t manufacture in her own body, daily supplementation of foods rich in this nutrient are essential for her healthy skin.

Foods rich in Vitamin C include:

· Fresh thyme and parsley

· Dark, leafy greens, including kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and watercress

· Broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts

· Kiwi fruit

· Oranges and tangerines

· Strawberries

· Cantaloupes

· Mangoes

Vitamin E is a group of 8 fat-soluble compounds – meaning it stays in your dog’s body – geared toward boosting your dog’s immune system and preventing the effects of aging. This nutrient functions at the cellular level by boosting the healing power of skin cells and promoting the destruction of cells that are already damaged. Vitamin E eases skin inflammation and facilitates the production of the collagen and elastin skin fibers that keep your pet’s skin soft and pliable.

Foods rich in Vitamin E include:

· Chopped almonds

· Shelled sunflower seeds

· Peanuts and organic peanut butter

· Cooked spinach

· Wheat germ

· Flaxseed, corn, and canola oil

· Broccoli

· Kiwi fruit

· Asparagus

· Butternut squash

Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, is known to promote water retention in skin cells, effectively hydrating and moisturizing your dog’s skin. It also has been shown to help in the removal of dead skin cells that thicken and stiffen the upper layers of skin associated with such health conditions as dermatitis and hypothyroidism.

Foods rich in Niacin include:

· Wheat bran

· Fish, mainly anchovies, sardines, and tuna

· Liver

· Peanuts and organic peanut butter

· White-meat chicken

· Bacon

DOG for DOG is an all natural dog food and treat company with a mission to help dogs in need. You buy one we give one! 52,000 pounds were donated in 2013

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