Which Food Makes Dog Fur Shiny?

by Rob Hainer
    No amount of brushing can shine her coat if she's not getting the right nutrition.

    No amount of brushing can shine her coat if she's not getting the right nutrition.

    Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    A shiny coat is a sign that your pup is healthy and getting the right nutrition. A balanced dog food, either dry or canned, is likely to give your dog what she needs to keep her fur sleek. However, every dog has slightly different needs. If her fur isn't shiny enough to suit you, try a food with a bit more protein and fatty acids.

    Balanced Nutrition

    Most high-quality dog food contains a proper balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates along with essential vitamins and minerals for your pup's overall health. When she's healthy on the inside, her coat usually reflects that. Check the label to make sure the first ingredient in the food is meat, such as lamb, chicken or fish. Your dog's fur is mostly made up of protein, so that should be the main ingredient in her food. The protein should contain the fats needed to keep her skin moisturized and supple.

    The Best Fats

    Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the best types for your pooch's skin and coat. Most animal fat contains some amount of these fatty acids, although fish and chicken tend to have more. Check for fish or chicken as one of the top five ingredients on your dog food label if your goal is a shiny coat. Your vet can help you discover whether your pup needs more fat than is found in standard dog food. If so, adding a teaspoon of oil such as olive, sunflower or flaxseed to her food can give her coat the boost it needs.

    Vitamins and Minerals

    Your canine companion needs a bit of help metabolizing the protein and fat so her coat can reap the benefits. Biotin, riboflavin and niacin help keep her skin moist and promote skin and hair cell development. Vitamin A helps the skin repair itself to keep your pup's coat looking its best, and vitamin E strengthens the skin cells. Zinc and copper help your pooch turn protein and fat into healthy boosters for her skin and coat. The vitamins and minerals should be listed on the dog food label, so make sure her food includes them.

    Supplements

    There are a multitude of nutrition supplements available for dogs. Some focus on one element, such as omega-3 fatty acids or zinc, while others are more like a multivitamin you might take. Check with your vet before giving your dog these supplements. Too much of certain nutrients can be a bad thing. For example, a lack of zinc in your pup's diet can lead to crusty or flaky skin. Giving her too much zinc to compensate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, anemia and eventually kidney failure. Too much vitamin A can damage her blood vessels instead of repairing them. If your pup is on a special diet, such as a vegetarian diet or if you make all her food at home, vet-ordered supplements can help round out her diet. Otherwise, buying a high-quality, balanced dog food is likely all she needs to keep her coat shiny.

    Photo Credits

    • Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Rob Hainer began writing and editing for newspapers in 1992. He began his career as a photojournalist in the Army, and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He worked as a copy editor and reporter at "The Marietta Daily Journal," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal" and the "New Haven Register."

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