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A Dog’s Guide to Great Skin and Fur

As any devotee will tell you, skincare is about much more than remembering to wash your face in the shower. It can be a ritual, an indulgence, a hobby, and a pleasure. But looks (ok, vanity) aside, our skin is also a good indicator of our overall health. If you want to be glowy and dewy on the outside, you need to take care of your insides. Which is exactly why talking about dog skincare isn’t as crackpot as it initially sounds. Yes, beauty products for pets do exist–they’re a real internet rabbit hole if you have an hour to kill. But when it comes to your dog’s beauty agenda, you don’t need to look too far beyond their diet.

The Power of Good Oils in Dog Skincare

Oils are the superstars of dog skincare. But you need to make sure you’re giving them the right ones: it’s not a one size fits all situation. Keep an eye out for products that are full of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, they’ll help your dog achieve the luminous skin and hair of a beauty editor. 

There are a lot of different kinds of oils out there, and it can be tricky to tell them apart. So here’s a quick breakdown of some key ingredients.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is a great starting point if you’re interested in adding supplements to your dog’s diet. It’s an all-rounder that’s low in saturated fat, but high in Vitamin E and Omega-6. Both assist in skin and heart health, as well as immune function.

Salmon Oil

Salmon oil’s high levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 mean it has been a popular supplement in human diets for decades. It turns out those fatty acids are as good for your dog’s skin and hair as yours. Added bonus: salmon oil may also reduce inflammation.

Flaxseed Oil

Also known as linseed or flax oil, it contains similar fatty acids to salmon oil. So can be a great substitute if your pet is allergic to fish or sensitive to smell.

Coconut oil

Human skincare fans are probably already familiar with the benefits of coconut oil, but they extend to dogs too. This easy to metabolise supplement is full of healthy saturated fats, great for irritated or dry skin, and may also help with digestion and even improve dog breath. Just go easy on it: many dogs love the taste but it’s high in calories.

How to Incorporate Oils into Your Dog’s Diet

While oils have many benefits, there are a few things to keep in mind. Most oils are high calories, so give your dog too much and they may have issues with weight gain or pancreatitis. Overdoing it on a single ingredient can also make animals sick or lead to deficiencies in other nutrients. Your vet can advise you on the right oils and dosages for your dog. But it’s often easier to find a brand that incorporates them into a balanced ingredient list. That way you don’t need to worry about monitoring and administering them yourself. 

Also, a reputable brand will take the time to source the best ingredients to make sure their quality and potency is suitable.

For more dog nutrition, catch up on:

Can Dogs Be Vegan?

Understanding the Invisible Economics of Pet Food

How the Pet Food Industry Got Hooked on Bad Chicken

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Written by Wendy Syfret
Wendy is Head of Media at Scratch. Which is a good fit, because she's never met a dog she didn't like. Although she has a special place in her heart for muts: three legs, one eye, missing fur, bit of a weird walk? The scruffier the better. Her favourite dog in the whole world though is her terrier-mix Stevie.