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What Food Is Good for a Dog’s Skin & Coat? Vet-Verified Facts & FAQ

Written by: Genevieve Dugal

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

English cocker spaniel dog eating in the kitchen

What Food Is Good for a Dog’s Skin & Coat? Vet-Verified Facts & FAQ


Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo


Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

A shiny, glossy, and smooth coat not only makes your dog the most stunning pup around, but it is also quite indicative of their health. Indeed, canines can have skin and coat problems for many reasons, including what they eat, where they live, or their genes. That’s why giving them the right food is so important.

Here’s a guide on what foods can help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy, along with answers to common questions on the subject.

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A Dog’s Food and Their Skin and Coat Health

While some dog parents prioritize the high-fat content in their pet’s food to promote a gleaming coat, it’s important to ensure a balanced mix of vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbohydrates.

Hand brushing labrador retriever
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Here’s a peek at the key nutrients that are vital for canine skin and coat health:

  • Omega-6. This fatty acid works wonders in imparting a glossy sheen to your dog’s coat while replenishing the essential oils in their skin.
  • Omega-3. Typically sourced from fish oil, omega-3 can alleviate itchy or inflamed skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a common inclusion in pet foods designed for allergy-prone dogs.
  • Biotin. A B-complex vitamin, biotin facilitates healthy tissue growth, contributing to vibrant skin and coat.
  • Copper. Essential for maintaining hair color and ensuring a soft, lustrous coat, copper is a crucial nutrient for your pet’s skin and coat health.
  • Vitamin E. As a natural antioxidant, vitamin E shields your pet’s skin from harmful free radicals, safeguarding against potential damage to skin cells.

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The 5 Foods That Are Good for a Dog’s Skin and Coat

1. Chicken

Shredded chicken breast bowl
Image Credit: stephyleyva, Shutterstock

Chicken is a lean source of protein that is easily digestible for dogs. It also contains essential amino acids that are necessary for maintaining healthy skin and coat. When feeding chicken to your pup, remove any bones and skin, and cook it thoroughly to avoid any potential bacterial contamination.

2. Salmon

raw salmon fillet with skin intact
Image Credit: Viktor1, Shutterstock

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can be a good choice for supporting skin health and giving your dog’s coat a glossy appearance. It also contains protein, which is essential for maintaining muscle mass.

3. Blueberries

Image Credit: Jeremy Ricketts, Pixabay

These tiny fruits are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, which support skin health and protect against oxidative damage. Also, most pups love the sweet taste!

4. Eggs

hard boiled eggs
Image Credit: Mustafa Bashari, Unsplash

Eggs are packed with biotin and are safe for dogs without pre-existing health conditions (such as pancreatitis) to eat occasionally. They also provide high-quality protein, making them valuable additions to your dog’s diet.

5. Sweet Potatoes

cooked sweet potatoes
Image Credit: K321, Shutterstock

Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, which is crucial for skin cell growth and repair. They also contain antioxidants that help combat inflammation and keep the skin healthy.

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What to Look For When Selecting Your Dog’s Food

When selecting commercial dog food, make sure to look for the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Biotin
  • Riboflavin
  • Zinc
  • Copper
Fatty Acids
  • Omega-3
  • Omega-6

Fatty acids are particularly important for maintaining skin health and promoting a lustrous coat by helping produce natural oils, which moisturize the skin and prevent dryness, flakiness, and dull-looking fur.

young man shopping reading Pet food label
Image Credit: LADO, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I Give Supplements to My Dog for Their Skin and Coat?

You should provide your dog with essential nutrients through their diet, so supplements should only be given under the guidance of your vet, as excessive amounts of certain vitamins and minerals can actually be harmful to your dog’s health.

How Often Should I Bathe My Dog to Maintain Their Skin and Coat Health?

The frequency of baths depends largely on your dog’s breed, coat type, and lifestyle. However, most dogs benefit from a bath every 4–6 weeks. Overbathing can strip the skin of its natural oils, so use a gentle shampoo specifically formulated for dogs.

If you are looking for the perfect, pet-friendly shampoo and conditioner combo, we highly recommend the products by Hepper. With a soothing oatmeal shampoo, free of soaps and other harsh chemicals, and a cucumber and aloe scented conditioner, your pet's skin and coat will be smooth, hydrated, and irritation-free. 

Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates

At Dogster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool pet company!

Are There Any Foods That I Should Avoid Giving to My Dog If I Want to Prevent Skin Issues?

Some foods can trigger allergic reactions in canines, leading to skin issues. Common culprits include certain protein sources, soy, egg, and dairy products. If you suspect that your dog has a food allergy, consult with your veterinarian for guidance on doing an elimination diet.

Can Environmental Factors Affect My Dog’s Skin and Coat?

Yes, environmental factors like dry air, humidity, sun exposure, and contact with allergens or irritants can impact your dog’s skin and coat health. That said, proper grooming, regular baths, and protection from harsh weather conditions can help mitigate these effects.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Has a Skin Problem That Requires Veterinary Attention?

Signs of skin issues in dogs include excessive itching, redness, flakiness, hot spots, hair loss, odor, or changes in coat texture. If you notice any concerning symptoms, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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If you provide your beloved pup with a quality food boasting a balanced nutrient profile and still notice persistent issues like dry skin, dandruff, or lackluster fur, it’s advisable to consult your veterinarian. Your dog might require a brand tweak or ingredient change, but always seek professional advice before making any alterations to their diet. After all, your pet’s well-being is a top priority!

Featured Image Credit: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock

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