How Nutrition Can Help Your Pet To Have Healthy Skin

Why Nutrition Can Affect Your Pet's Skin Health

Importance of Your Pet's Skin Health

The skin - this is vitally important to all mammals, including your pet. Because:
  • it protects against the elements
  • retains moisture
  • helps regulate temperature
  • it's very resilient,

But the skin does need to be taken care of. Or it's easy to become cracked, dry, sore or have other signs of poor condition.

Good skin health is considered to reflect the overall health of a body, for our animals, having a good quality coat and skin shining with health is usually associated with good condition.

Did you know there's 3 layers to the skin?

(1) epidermis (outer layer);
(2) dermis (helps regulate temperature and is mostly made of collagen); and
(3) subcutis (fatty tissue that provides insulation and support to the skin).

Why Good Pet Nutrition?

Grooming is a popular way to help our animals skin & coats to look good. But grooming is only partly helpful. While it's of course important, good health - including that of the skin, starts from within.
& nutrition makes an enormous difference to overall health. So where to start to help the skin?

Unless we keep wild animals, then our animals are domesticated. There can be the presumption that the dietary needs are fully met through manufactured pet food given to us through the plethora of brands on sale in the supermarkets.

After all most (if not all!) animal feed brands say that they're good quality and offer balanced diets for our furry pals. But sometimes these foods are very different to what our animals would naturally eat.

So to think about a holistic diet, it's best to think about what our pets equivalent wild species would eat. As given the ability to roam and choose from a variety of food sources, many wild animals have naturally good skin health.

As you know differing foods have different types of vitamins and minerals, as well as being either fibrous, protein or carbohydrates. Ensuring our animals have a balanced diet with the vitamins and minerals needed to promote good health, including that of the skin is important.

Animal feed packaging will say what the ingredients and composition is of the food, but it may not be immediately obvious if what it says it has, is actually what your animal needs. Nor will it be often obvious if the ingredients are going to be easily digestible for your animal.

The increase in organic food for humans has not been equalled in the pet feed industry, although it is possible to find some organic pet food brands. But why organic, does it really make any difference? Some research has come out that says yes it does!

Early in 2016, some research in the British Journal of Nutrition was published that showed that there is a nutritional difference in organic foods. See here for more information.

But what if you can't get organic feed for your animal?

Raw, fresh and/or whole food is definitely preferable to processed food. By the very definition "processed" means that the food has undergone some change from its original state. Foods are usually processed for convenience or safety, but will often contain added salt, fat or sugars.

It's important to make the distinction between food processed for safety (e.g. milk that's pasteurised to eliminate bacteria) and food processed for convenience.....Ever wondered why some foods have really long best-before-dates? Sometimes they can only have these because they've got various additives to enable this to happen.

In the wild, animals would usually eat fresh foods - they wouldn't store it up for weeks or even months to return to, (squirrels being a notable exception of course with their nuts!).

Look out for feed for your animal which contains fresh ingredients. Look also at the other ingredients listed - the addition of unnecessary fats, carbohydrates or additives to an animal's diet, can lead to various health issues - including skin conditions.

An imbalance of vitamins and minerals in the body easily occurs if the diet is not varied and truly nutritious. Food allergies can also develop and manifest themselves as skin complaints.

Good nutrition can help improve your pet's skin health.

A diet with the necessary balance of essential fatty acids, proteins and anti-oxidants can be useful.

Before changing your animal's diet, do speak to your Veterinary Surgeon for advice (especially if your animal has got an illness or ailment!). Also many horse or dog feed companies have nutritionists you can call on a helpline for advice.

There are many Vets throughout the UK and worldwide who specialise in holistic approaches. For help finding a holistic vet near you, please email

So before you reach for a skin lotion or supplement, first review what your animal is eating. Although some skin care products and supplements are wonderfully helpful, and indeed can be necessary to help keep skin in tip-top condition.

If you don't help keep your pet healthy from the inside, the skin on the outside will always be compromised.

I hope you've found this article helpful for your pet. To get more information on dozens of other complementary therapies for your animal, please have a look through the rest of this website.

Or read other articles in this Natural Pet Health Blog. Take a look at the sitemap here.

About the Author

Suzanne Harris is founder of this Taranet website at, and also provides business coaching to horse and dog care and veterinary professionals.