You Are What You Eat: The Role of Nutrition in a Dog’s Healthy Skin and Coat

Stephanie Wan Editorial Date:

Did you know that a dog’s skin is the largest organ of their body? Just like we need to make sure that their heart and lungs are healthy, we also need to maintain the health of our furry friend’s skin and coat. A healthy coat not only looks and feels great, it is important for providing a physical barrier to the harsh outside environment, helps prevent infections, and regulates body temperature.

Having a balanced diet is a crucial way to maintain the health of our dogs’ skin and coat, as important nutrients, proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals are found in the foods they eat.

combing dog hair

Key Ingredients to Look For in Dog Foods

When choosing food for your furry friend, keep an eye out for key ingredients such as omega-3, omega-6, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B, and zinc.


Omega-3 and omega-6 are important for maintaining the strength of skin cell membranes and are essential fatty acids, meaning they are not produced by dogs naturally and must be consumed through their diet. Omega-3 fatty acids include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce skin itchiness and give your dog’s coat a healthy shine. Omega-6 fatty acids like linoleic acid (LA) are important for skin cell membrane structure, and protect against dry and flaky skin and hair loss.

Vitamin A aids skin growth and repair, while vitamin E protects skin cells from oxidant damage. Biotin and vitamin B2 prevent hair loss and promote overall skin health. They work with linoleic acid to strengthen the skin. Zinc keeps the skin hydrated, helping to prevent hair loss and infections.

Benefits of a Fish Diet

Fish is great for a shiny skin and coat due to its high levels of omega-3 and anti-inflammatory properties. Food allergies and sensitivities cause itchiness and other skin conditions, but fish is hypoallergenic and less likely to have these problems, making it perfect for dogs with sensitive skin. Fish oils also promote the production of sebum to lubricate the skin and give the fur a beautiful shine. You can find everything fish at Whiskers N Paws, from Orijen 6 Fish Dry Dog Food to Fish4Dogs Dental Sea Jerkies to Northwest Naturals Freeze-Dried Minnows.


Dog Supplements Provide Extra Skin and Coat Protection

For dogs who don’t consume a lot of fish, supplements provide the extra omega-3 that is lacking in land animal protein sources such as chicken and beef.

Fish oils from Grizzly contain oils extracted from wild, sustainably harvested, human-grade fish. They contain a balanced blend of omega fatty acids, and come in a convenient pump bottle to make it easy for you to add to your dog’s regular meals.

For vegetarian options, hemp oil contains a perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, and is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Coconut oil can be consumed orally as well as applied topically to soothe the skin. The Bixbi Organic Pet Superfood Skin and Coat Supplement is a mushroom based supplement formulated to help pets with flaky or itchy skin, and skin allergies. It nourishes the skin and reduces free radical damage at the cellular level. It comes in a powder that you can just sprinkle onto your dog’s food.

Some supplements even come in the form of delicious treats, such as the Fish4Dogs Mackerel Morsels for skin and coat, and Bixbi Salmon Jerky. Treat your dog to a tasty snack while boosting their skin and coat health!

With a balanced diet and supplements, your dog is well on their way to maintaining a beautiful and healthy coat. Of course, we can’t forget about proper grooming as well! Book an appointment with our experienced grooming team, or reserve a spot at our self-dog wash station to give your dog a fun spa day. Give their fur coat an extra shine! ​