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My Favorite Dog Diet Products for Healthy Skin and Coat.

DISCLAIMER:

All of these recommendations are JUST RECOMMENDATIONS.  They are NOT, in any way, choices you should make WITHOUT CONSULTING A VETERINARIAN.  

I am NOT licensed in CANINE NUTRITION, however, as a professional pet stylist, I am a licensed professional groomer in the state of Texas, and I also have many years of experience in canine coat health.  Over the years I have learned that a poor, unhealthy diet, along with a lack of supplements and healthy additives, leads to poor, unhealthy skin and coat. 

Honestly, who wants their dog to have bad skin and a horrible, crispy, fried, dried coat? 

Pet parents who truly care, don’t.

As a Petsylist/Dog Groomer, I witness pet parents who try to remedy their dog’s flaky, itchy skin, and horrible odor by constantly bathing and grooming them. They also try to fix their skin by spending hundreds at the vet. Usually, they hopelessly give up or have to constantly medicate their dog  

In truth, the solution could actually be very simple. Sometimes as simple as switching dog food or using a different shampoo. 

My clients just want to know the best products out there to keep their dog’s skin and coat healthy, shiny, and supple. They don’t need to be sold a gimmick and given a band-aid, rather the ability to PREVENT and CURE itchiness, flakiness, brittle hair, and odor from occurring.  

I’m sure you do too. 

The recommendations I give my clients are the same that I put into practice with my personal dogs at home.   I’ve tried so many dog foods on the market, prepared meals at home, added helpful supplements, worked at a Veterinarian Clinic where I had the opportunity to ask tons of questions, and I annually attend dog grooming education seminars to learn as much as possible.      

I’ve tried a lot of things and I have learned a lot of things. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.  

And sometimes mixing things up can help you notice a major difference in your dog’s overall skin and coat health.  Adding supplements or making a simple diet change from a cheaper brand to a healthier brand overall can sometimes do the trick. But it’s best to test and experiment, see what works best for your dog’s skin and coat.

Don’t be afraid to have fun with it, give your dog their best life! Just make sure that you’re being safe and watch out for the gimmicky products on the market. 

My Favorite Foods, Supplements, and Diet Options for Optimum Coat Health. 

Lower Quality Food VS. High Quality 

Whenever I have a client complain about their dog’s coat having major flakes, dryness, over-shedding, or tear staining around the eyes, I always ask about the food first.  What food are you feeding your dog? 

Dog Food Choice is important. What you feed your dog plays a major part in their overall health. A dog’s organs absorb a majority of the nutrients from food, and the skin and coat receive the last of the nutrients.  That’s why it’s important to provide your dog with a  nutrient-dense diet that can maintain keeping the skin and coat healthy. 

Which Dog Food is the Best Food? 

There are many dog foods out on the market.  And many foods that are considered high-quality that have had many recalls and low quality foods with ZERO RECALLS. A recall does not necessarily determine the quality of the dog food.  Rather it has to do with the manufacturing plant and the quality of the production of the food itself. Sometimes the meat gets tainted, the food looks a different color, or an ingredient was forgotten that may have caused the food to spoil quickly. 

 When it comes to dog food, just make sure that the ingredients are wholesome and there are ingredients you can read, and understand. Ingredients that you feel safe eating yourself-unless it’s organ meats. That’s a different story………..Organ meat by-products are great! And nutrient-dense.  But beaks, feathers, and non-edible ground-up parts are NOT. 

Additionally, are there a ton of dyes? And preservatives that in no way help with your dog’s diet? Is there little meat per serving? Simply taking a few moments to read the ingredient label on your dog’s food can shed some light on whether or not your dog’s food is providing the nutrients your dog needs. 

How I chose the Best Dog Foods for My Dogs 

One of my dogs has issues with yeasty skin. Many years ago I fed her a pretty popular food.  However, this food kept her coat dry, brittle, and it kept her yeast growing and made her smell horribly of corn chips.  I literally had to bathe her as often as possible.  

That was until I started learning about the importance of the ingredient list of dog foods. One of the main ingredients of this food was corn, more than meat, and more than any other ingredient. Corn is a great addition in a chickens diet, but not for dogs.  Especially not in such high amounts.  This vegetable has become a very CHEAP commodity.  And you get what you pay for. 

And no, grains aren’t bad.  But it can be bad if not in moderation.  And not all grains have the same nutrient density as others. For example, I would much rather have rice, barley, and quinoa in my dog’s food than simply corn. 

So I started looking for foods that helped my dog from the INSIDE OUT.  Without forgetting the outside–the skin is literally what holds your dog together and your dog’s coat protects them from the elements. It’s a very important part not to be forgotten.   I didn’t just want my dog to be full, I wanted her to be satiated and healthy. 

After much trial and error, and trying every possible dog food known to DOG MOM,  I have found that there are dog foods that I love and dog foods that I hate.  But most importantly I have found dog foods that help my dog’s skin look great and their coats stay shiny and healthy.  

Instead of running you through all of the foods I like and dislike, I’d rather just tell you about the foods that I truly love and find to be great for my dogs skin and coat health.  These are also dog food brands that I recommend to my clients as well.   

My Favorite Dog Foods—-Expensive to Less Expensive

Dry Food 

Acana 

This is by far one of my favorite foods.  It had the best impact on my dog’s coat and skin. The only downside is it is quite expensive.  But if this food is in your budget, it’s worth the price!

Orijen 

Orijen and Acana are basically neck and neck in my book.  I love this food.  It’s great and keeps my dog’s coat extremely shiny.  Plus they seem full afterward and devour every single bowl.

Taste of the Wild 

This is really great food for dogs with allergies and stomach sensitivities.  They have an ancient grains formula which is great if you’re going for a food that has grains, but good grains.  Grains that are high in vitamins and nutrients.  Which in turn can give your pup a very happy and healthy coat. 

Fromm

Fromm is great.  However, they’ve recently had recalls on their food. Which is disappointing.  I began using Fromm when they were a much smaller family business and weren’t so LARGE SCALE.  However, I still recommend them because if you have a dog that is a picky eater, they’ll usually devour Fromm (of course there are always exceptions to the rule, lol).  The best thing to do is to keep up with recalls. Not all recalls are bad. Some food is recalled simply because the color is wrong. You can keep up with recalls here

Wet Food

I try to stay away from wet food because it’s really bad for a dog’s teeth.  Plaque build-up is no joke and can cause tons of issues over time with your dog’s inner organs.  You can read more about that here—add a link to your blog post about dog teeth.  

However, there are some really great wet food options that you can try for a change-up every once and a while. 

Honest Kitchen

Honest Kitchen is a dehydrated food that is mixed with hot water.  It actually smells like human soup when prepared.  My mouth literally watered when I first smelled it, kinda crazy.  But that’s not the only thing that made me love Honest Kitchen, I also really love the fact that they use human-grade food.  Not feed grade. This means that your dog will be getting food that is wholesome and high quality.  Which continues to aid in giving them a healthy, shiny coat. 

Koha 

My dogs LOVE Koha! And I really like Koha. It’s a very limited ingredient food that my dogs literally gobble up.  This is a really great food for dogs with stomach sensitivities. It can help keep many “extra” ingredients out of their diet, while still providing wholesome nutrients and goodness.  Also, the recipes sound so appetizing that my mouth has watered from reading the label! 

Raw Food 

Feeding raw to dogs is an extremely controversial topic right now.  Some experts say it’s a great option for pet parents looking for a way to supplement their dog’s dry/bland food with wholesome nutrients that are closer to that of a wolf. And other experts say that it’s dangerous if the food isn’t prepared properly, causing the spread of pathogens and other diseases.  

Why Feeding Raw is Controversial

One of the biggest controversial topics surrounding raw food is the preparation, handling, and disinfection process when dealing with raw food.  There is fear that if the food is contaminated, it can contaminate the human through their dog, spreading disease.

According to the FDA, “If you choose to feed raw pet food to your pet, be aware that you can infect yourself with Salmonella or L. monocytogenes by spreading the bacteria from the contaminated food to your mouth. For instance, you may accidentally ingest the bacteria if you touch your mouth while preparing the raw food or after handling a contaminated utensil. If you get Salmonella or L. monocytogenes on your hands or clothing, you can also spread the bacteria to other people, objects, and surfaces.” 

Citation: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/get-facts-raw-pet-food-diets-can-be-dangerous-you-and-your-pet

Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illnesses can be a serious thing.  However, it’s also important to note that most commercial pet food is recalled due to pathogens in the food too, and the food is cooked and handled in very clean-regulated facilities.  There are E Coli strands found in cooked pet food and uncooked human-grade human food as well. Seriously, nowadays you can’t even eat romaine lettuce or eat at Chipotle without the risk of getting sick. 

How to Handle Raw Food  

Just be mindful if you prepare or purchase raw food for your dog. Be sure to handle the food with gloves and disinfect properly.  And make sure not to let your dog lick you directly after feeding them raw food. 

Always Consult a Professional 

Lastly, contact your veterinarian when adding supplements to their diet to ensure they are getting the right dosage due to vitamin toxicity, and to make sure that feeding raw is the best option for your pet.  

The Good About Feeding Raw

Although feeding raw can be seen as very “hazardous”, recently, I really began to research the benefits of feeding raw, and I’ve learned that it can be very beneficial for dogs. As long as the food is prepared properly and the best organ meats and supplements are selected. There can be many health benefits for dogs, especially in keeping the coat healthy and shiny. Which is definitely a plus! 

According to one of my favorite blogs and bloggers, “Keep the Tail Wagging” raw has many benefits! From, “a healthy skin and coat to a healthy immune and digestive system”.  If you’re interested in raw, I highly recommend checking out her website here ADD LINK!!.  She has a ton of information, along with many ebooks and downloadables that can help steer you in the right direction! 

And, Dr Richard S Patton, who writes for Dogs Naturally Magazine, believes:

 raw is the fastest growing sector of the pet food market. If you were to feed a raw diet to your pet, the first change observed would be improved stools. This is due to its superior digestibility. Another delightful part of feeding raw is pets like it, palatability is great.

The vast majority of pet food is cooked, with extrusion the predominate method. This extrusion produces a kibble and depends on a food containing 25 to 45 percent starch, which upon heating in the presence of water undergoes dextrinization. Dextrinized starch is what makes cookies have crumbs and a pet food kibble hard and crunchy. Though digestible, this starch is of low utility nutritionally. In fact, a bowl of kibble once a day is tantamount to daily endocrine abuse and is unhealthful. After eating, blood sugar spikes, insulin pours forth, blood sugar plunges.  PUT IN BLOCK QUOTES 

https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/why-feed-raw/

More about Dr Patton can be found at his website here: https://pattonanimalnutrition.com/

Citation: https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/the-hopes-and-hazards-of-raw-pet-food/

More Information on Feeding Raw

One of my favorite bloggers (whose blog I read ALL OF THE TIME) who focuses her entire blog on raw feeding is Kimberly! She is amazing and really knows her stuff. She not only talks about the benefits of raw, but she also has recipes and resources that can lead you in the direction. You can check her out here!

In conclusion feeding raw is definitely a viable option for a pet parent who has lost hope in dry food kibble and is looking for an alternative.  I myself have begun incorporating raw into my dog’s diet.  They love it! But always consult your vet before making the switch! 

Recommended Raw Food

Primal

My favorite raw dog food that I have personally tried with my dogs is Primal.  I work 6 days a week, sometimes 12 hour days.  Preparing raw dog food every day just isn’t in the cards for me. But keeping my dogs healthy is definitely part of the plan.  Primal just makes it easy. As easy as feeding kibble.  I simply store the bags in either my freezer or refrigerator and feed just like I would regular kibble. Simple, easy, and healthy. 

More Dog Food Options and Information

If you’d like to learn more about how to choose the best dog food, Dog Food Advisor is a great website and tool to use.  They have a compiled list of food awards and customer reviews.  Kind of like Amazon Marketplace, but simply for dog food brands.  I use it whenever a new dog food hits the market, a top food is recalled, or I’m looking to switch up my dog food brand. 

Bone Broth- Yes Broth is great for dogs! 

I was first introduced to bone broth when I worked as a groomer at a feed store-Hollywood Feed. It was awesome to see that there were a variety of food choices that I had never seen before. EVER BEFORE!

And specially made, high-quality bone broth was definitely a new product for me. 

Growing up, whenever a dog was sick, we simply used store bought chicken broth or beef broth, thinking that it was simple enough-yet palatable for dog who didn’t really feel like eating.  However, human broth can be somewhat dangerous depending on the amount of garlic in the broth itself. 

Bone Broth made for dogs is great because it’s an extra way to provide added nutrients to your dog’s diet. Without having to do much work. And Bone broth by Primal is awesome! It’s nutrient-dense, safe for dogs, and the best even for the pickiest of eaters.

Additionally, it isn’t cooked with tons of vegetables that can pose as unsafe for select dogs. For example, large amounts of garlic can be toxic to some dogs, and a lot of cooked onions can create digestive upset to some dogs. Along with stomach sensitivities as well. 

The Benefits of Bone Broth 

  • Helps with Skin and Coat health 
  • Easy Way to Add Nutrients to your Dog’s Diet -Nutrient Dense 
  • Helps with Hydration
  • Aids in Gut, Digestion, and Joint Health  

Skin and Coat Supplements

Flaxseed Oil

Whenever I have a client complain of dryness or flaking in their dog’s coat, I always recommend flaxseed oil. Not the stuff that has been sitting on the shelf for years.  Rather the cold-pressed flaxseed oil that it refrigerated.  Here’s why: 

It’s just as important for dogs to get added supplements to their daily routine as it is for humans. The omega 3 fatty acids found in Flaxseed helps with improved skin and coat health by providing the coat with the nutrients it needs. 

If you choose a Flaxseed oil that has been sitting on the shelf and is full preservatives, at the time of packaging there were Omega 3’s which is what your dog needs.  However, the moment it is preserved, those Omega 3’s come out as Omega 6’s which no longer benefit your dog(this is true for humans as well). 

Add Amazon link 

Omega 3’s are essential to your dog’s coat health. 

Coconut Oil

I once met a lady with a Mexican Hairless Dog, also known as a Xoloitzcuintle or Xolo.  I thought she was beautiful and I asked her what she used to keep her skin so soft and smooth, she replied “Coconut Oil”.  After that, I was on the hunt to learn what I could about coconut oil for dogs.  I felt that even though her dog barely had hair, it had great skin.  Which is challenging to keep up with for hairless dogs.  If coconut oil could do that on a hairless dog, what could it do for a dog with a barrier of hair?

That’s when I began to learn that the benefits of coconut oil are staggeringly beneficial. And that’s why I recommend coconut oil for your dog to both ingest and use topically. 

Here are many of the benefits of coconut oil according to “Dogs Naturally Magazine” for the skin

Coconut Oil Skin Benefits

Clears up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis and itchy skin

Reduces allergic reactions and improves skin health

Makes coats sleek and glossy

Gets rid of doggy odor

Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections, including candida

Disinfects cuts and promotes wound healing

Applied topically, promotes the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, dry skin and hair, bites and stings

Protects against fleas, ticks and mites

Soothes and heals dry cracked pads and elbow calluses

https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/the-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

Probiotics 

Fermented Raw Goat Milk (for dogs)

I first discovered raw goat milk a few years ago, and when I learned of all of the benefits, I was sold on the product! First off, I am a huge proponent of probiotics for humans.  I drink probiotics myself, at least 3-4 times a week to help with my gut health. So why wouldn’t I want this fermented goodness for my dogs? 

Fermented Raw Goat Milk, if purchased from a dog food company, is made especially for dogs based on their gut microbiome.  Rest assured, it has what their guts need.  Additionally, it has extra benefits for dogs, besides making sure that their guts are healthy! 

Here’s how: 

  • it helps your dog better absorb vitamins and minerals by putting “good” bacteria in the gut
  • it helps aid in digestion
  • it’s loved by so many dogs
  • it’s also full of vitamins and nutrients
  • and it’s great for the coat and skin because of the fatty acids in the milk!

Water is Important too-Purified Water That Is! 

If you’re feeling fancy, purified water is also really great for the skin! Should you give your dog faucet water? It all depends on where you live. The impurity of water can impact how healthy your dog’s skin is.  Especially if the water your dog drinks is highly acidic or alkaline water.  

Your water could be hard, meaning it contains more minerals than usual, in particular calcium, magnesium, and iron. It can also be soft, meaning it’s lower in minerals than normal. While these minerals are usually fine for drinking, it can cause breakouts, dryness, and irritation on your skin. It could also make dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis worse.

https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/tap-water-bad-for-skin#2 

I hope this information really helps you on your journey to giving your dog healthy skin and a healthy coat! I’ve provided you with the information that I personally use for my dogs.  Please let me know if you have any questions!

If you’d like to join likeminded individuals searching for answers for their pets you can join my facebook group here: 

Also, don’t forget to follow me on social media as well! My instagram is: @tinatalksdogs.  

-With Thanks

-Tina 

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