Here's a quick rundown of what ingredients to look for in your pet's food to give them a healthy skin & coat.
Chia seeds contain more healthy omega-3 fats and fiber than flax or other grain seeds and are a good source of protein and antioxidants, helps combat skin inflammation and improves the skin’s texture and softness.
Eggs have a healthy dose of vitamin A, which promotes cell turnover. Their zinc further supports protein synthesis and cell division, necessary for wound healing, the formation of connective tissue and skin health. Egg yolks provide a valuable source of biotin, effective in treating dry skin, seborrhea and itching associated with skin allergies. But make sure to avoid raw eggs, as they contain avidin, which interferes with the metabolism of biotin, fats, glucose and amino acids.
Raw coconut contains medium-chain, saturated fats that transform into energy and can decrease bacterial growth, irritation and inflammation, according to naturopathic physician Bruce Fife, a certified nutritionist, doctor of naturopathy and author of The Coconut Oil Miracle.
A fortifying cereal low in starch and high in mineral content, especially potassium and phosphorus, oats also harbor calcium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. The grain’s primary benefit to skin and coat is its soluble fiber content, which also helps a dog’s gastrointestinal system to remove toxins.
Liver from grass-fed animals enhances healthy skin. Nutrients include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, vitamins A, C, D, E and eight B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid and biotin.
Cranberries contain a variety of bioactive components, including proanthocyanidins and anthocyanin antioxidants, plus the phytochemical ellagic acid. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, ellagic acid can prevent skin cancers. The 16th-century herbalist Henry Lyte documented their use in treating skin wounds and eczema.
Cooked wild salmon is ripe with omega-3 fatty acids, which along with benefiting the skin and coat, appear to boost the immune system, and may assist dogs with allergies.
Sweet potatoes can be considered a skin superfood, because they hold a high level of betacarotene (a precursor form of vitamin A) and are a good source of vitamin E. Their vitamin C content, which increases with cooking, facilitates collagen production, contributes to photoprotection, decreases photodamage and supports wound healing.