If you want to improve the look, feel and health of your dog's skin and coat, keep in mind his nutritional needs when choosing or cooking his food. You can feed your dog a raw food diet, homemade food, or a commercial dog food diet. As long as the diet is nutritionally balanced, your dog's coat condition will improve.
A Dog's Coat
The health of your dog's coat relies on the fats he consumes through his food source. You can usually determine the health of your dog's coat by the condition of their skin and how shiny the fur is. Dandruff and a dull coat are signs that your dog is missing out on some essential fats, especially omega-6 fatty acids. You may need to change your dog's diet or add fatty acids to his food to improve his skin's moisture and the coat's sheen.
Commercial Dog Food
There are tons of well-balanced commercial dog foods available at most any pet store. The most important part of choosing a commercial dog food is reading the list of ingredients on the back of the bag. Most dogs who are already on a high quality commercial dog food diet are getting the proper amount of omega-6 fatty acids required for a healthy coat. Make sure the dog food you are serving is not close to the expiration date. The fatty acids are no longer effective in dog food that is beyond its expiration date.
Homemade or Raw Food Diet
Homemade and raw food diets are popular among dog owners who don't trust that commercial dog foods provide enough nutrients. The raw food diet consists of raw meats and organs as well as raw produce, eggs and yogurts. It is meant to recreate the dog's diet as if he was in the wild. If you choose this diet and notice that your dog's coat is dull or dry, you'll need to add more fatty foods to the diet. For instance, if you make your dog homemade meals and include only chicken products and vegetables, your dog's coat will suffer because chicken doesn't provide enough fat to be the only meat source in the diet.
Fatty Acid Supplements
Pet stores sell plenty of omega-6 supplements to aid the health of your dog's skin and coat, but you probably have products that are equally as effective in your pantry at home. Vegetable oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil will all work fine when added to your pet's food. Add a tablespoon of any of these three oils to your dog's food if he's a medium or large dog. A small dog should only get one third of that per meal.
Courtney McCaffrey graduated from the College of Charleston in 2008 with a B.A. in media studies. She has served as an editor for Blooming Twig Books and the MADA Writing Services publishing company. She is now a writer on various outdoor sports such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing and bodysurfing.