Linda Arndt ~ Canine Nutritional Consultant

My Dog Has A Dry Itchy Coat

In assessing your dogs coat condition, we have to look at two areas, diet and environment. Let’s discuss environmental issues first.

If you are using a shampoo that is the incorrect pH balance for canines, like using a human, horse or cat shampoo, this can cause coat problems.

If your dog lays next to a heat source (fireplace, based board heater) in the winter, or your house is without a humidifier, this can also cause a dry itchy coat as well. Of course we need to look at the potential for contact allergies, which I address in another article on Allergies at this website.

I have always found most coat problems are diet related, but not due to allergies, as most people think, but due to and inferior diet, or what is missing a diet. When using home cooked, commercial or even the BARF diet, "the living component" (dietary enzymes) are lost in cooking or in storing of foodstuffs and therefore the diet is absent of essential dietary enzymes or severely depleted.

Also one very common thing that happens when switching diets, is a major coat change occurs due to detoxification. This is particularly a problem for some owners when they see their dog’s coat become dry and lifeless, and they start to shed once they have been moved to a better diet. This process is due to switching from a utilitarian quality commercial food to a super premium commercial food.

As the body tries to repair and to cleanse itself of toxins, the new coat starts to come in down the center of the back and the old coat dies off. It is the old coat dying off that startles people and they panic and move their dogs off the good food and on to a lesser food. This is the wrong thing to do, and only complicates matters. This switch may take 6 months or longer for some animals, depending on how badly their systems are depleted or full of toxins from an inferior food.

My sheltie had been on a very poor quality diet when I purchased him at 1 yr of age. His coat was sparse with no sheen. When I got him he was put on Eagle Pack Natural and Nzymes (dietary enzyme) and 8 months later this dog had a profuse rich black coat that is absolutely exquisite. Now, I have to be honest at about 5 months into the process I was ready do have him go in for thyroid tests, because his coat was in such poor shape, but as the new coat grew and came in down the center of the back and top of the head and started to replace the old dead lifeless coat, I knew it was only a period of time before the old coat was purged and he would have a magnificent coat. So be patience the wait is worth it in the end.

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