Regular brushing and grooming, paired with a high-quality dog food and plenty of water, can help you lay the foundation for the good overall health and well-being of your pup. Adding in additional nutrients through vitamin supplements can help keep your dog’s coat and skin in good condition as well. This is especially important for outside dogs who face the elements every day. For best results, consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.
Vitamins A, B, C and E
Vitamin A helps promote immune system health and aids in developing and maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin B complex -- a combination of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12, promotes both skin and coat health. B1 is also shown to help repel fleas, which can eliminate skin irritation, and B2 can reduce dander production. Vitamin C helps ward off allergies, which can lead to skin disorders like psoriasis. It also helps strengthen the immune system, which helps prevent illness, and allows your dog to bounce back and heal faster when he’s been ill or injured. Vitamin E is also a supplement known for its skin-healing properties, both when taken internally, and when applied topically.
Fatty Acids, Iron and Sodium
Fatty acids help ward off skin and coat problems. A lack of iron in a dog’s diet can result in hair loss -- dogs that eat a low-protein diet are particularly susceptible to iron deficiency. Alternatively, too much iron in a dog’s diet can lead to constipation and associated bowel problems. Low sodium in a dog’s diet is associated with dry skin and hair loss. Dogs on diuretic or heart medications are particularly susceptible to sodium depletion.
Dogs who suffer from chronic coat or skin conditions, such as hot spots, manage, allergies, bald spots or excessive shedding often have a variety of dietary or health issues that can be altered based on diet. To ensure your are meeting the specific dietary needs of your dog, consult your vet about making changes to your pup’s diet and vitamin supplement routine. Your vet can advise you on appropriate dosing and supplement combinations based on your dog’s breed, age and health needs. Care should be taken not to over-supplement a dog, especially a growing puppy. In particular, be cautious with fat-soluble vitamins that are stored in cell tissue.
Other Vitamins and Minerals
Other vitamins, supplements and minerals often recommended for canine skin and coat health include essential or cold pressed oils, zinc, kelp, selenium, wheat germ and bone meal. Fish oil capsules also can guard against dry, itchy skin.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.