DOES YOUR ANIMAL HAVE FLAKY SKIN AND A DRY COAT?
Extreme cold, dry, damp and hot temperatures all contribute to dry, flaky skin and a dry lacklustre coat. A dull and dry exterior can mean a lot more than just its standalone appearance. There are numerous reasons why our animals may not be sporting a healthy coat and skin; all of them health-related and bear closer examination. Below are six main tips to follow to bring back the balance, health and shine to the skins and coats of your animal family members:
1) CUT DOWN ON DRY FOOD– or better yet, eliminate it altogether! Dry food should not be marketed as food. Devoid of moisture, dry food, AKA kibble, is one of the most dangerous foods to feed our cats and dogs. Why? Because dry food is dehydrated food. This means it has a zero hydration factor. This means that in order for the digestive systems of our animals to properly process dry food through their gastrointestinal tracts, it must suck all of the moisture from their vital organs. When the dry food gets processed through the GI system, it requires moisture to pass through the stomach and into the intestines to be eliminated. This, unfortunately is a common component of early stage organ failure. Severe dehydration of the organs has very often been linked to a mostly dry food diet. In addition, severely adverse health risks have been linked to dry food such as arthritis, IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney disease and failure, as well as many types of cancers. When it comes to the body’s major organs, skin is the biggest organ of all! To keep that skin, coat and body nourished, be sure to supply your animals with ample wet food !
2) ADD MOISTURE AND EFA’S! Due to the pressures that processed cat and dog food companies impose on consumers to purchase malnourished foods such as dry food, our animals can become very easily depleted of moisture. They can exhibit symptoms such as dry, flaky skin, excessive itching, hot spots (red, irritated patches of skin) and more. In fact, “hot spots” are usually a sign that your dog is dehydrated and very warm internally. This can be an early sign of troublesome inner organ health imbalances and should be looked at by a holistic vet. This is often a sign that moisture is not being evenly distributed within the body and it is direly affecting the skin. By adding wet foods (mostly for cats), we are hydrating the skin and coat as well as the aforementioned vital inner organs, thereby promoting longevity and better quality of life. Unless your cat is eating mice and rabbits, he or she is likely going to run into serious health issues without a wet food dietary component. Indoor cats should be eating a mostly (90%) wet food diet! However, some cats can be intolerant to wet food, and many dog food brands of wet food leave much nutrition to be desired. This is where EFA’s come in. Essential Fatty Acids are a companion animal’s dietary best friend.
Most people are under the impression that water alone can hydrate our furry friends. Particularly when it comes to dry food, this impression is false. Water does NOT adequately hydrate our animals! In fact it goes right through their bodies into their kidneys and into their urine without being properly retained as moisture throughout their bodies. Of course water is extremely important to cleanse the kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for processing bodily toxins from food, water and environment and passing them out of the body through urine. The combination of water and EFA’s will both cleanse the kidneys and help to retain moisture within them so they are replenished and healthy. Several common sources of EFA’S for animals are Omegas 3 & 6. They can be easily found in wild salmon oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, CBD oil and various others. EFA’S can help to prevent or lessen the impact of arthritis and other mobility issues. They can help to keep those kidneys and vital organs moisturized and replenished to prevent early stage organ failure. Most of all, they absolutely facilitate a healthy skin and shiny coat! **Please see a holistic animal care practitioner before you add any new supplement to your animal’s diet.
3) ADD MORE WHOLE, SPECIES APPROPRIATE FOODS- just as it is for humans, eating whole, unprocessed foods is the best way to achieve healthy skin and hair. Unfortunately, no matter how high quality, any store-bought commercial cat and dog food can be loaded with preservatives and fillers. These preservatives and fillers can greatly inhibit their digestion and distribution of vital vitamins and minerals that are responsible for keeping the coat and skin healthy and shiny. By feeding them a species appropriate diet such as beef, fish, poultry or venison, we are vastly upping the levels of natural EFA’S in their diets as well as providing them with from-the-source, preservative free proteins, vitamins and minerals.
4) ADD DIGESTIVE ENZYMES AND/OR PROBIOTICS- Just as it is for humans, an animal’s gut health has much to do with healthy skin and coat. Often, when fed processed foods, unhealthy human foods and other inappropriate snacks, their sensitive digestive systems can he thrown out of whack. As a result, their gut health can become unstable, rendering inconsistent nutrient distribution to skin and coat. Many animals suffer from constipation, diarrhea, IBS, regular vomiting or a combination of more than one of these. By adding digestive enzymes and/or probiotics to their regimen, our animals will have a healthier gut, healthier bodily function and a healthier skin and shiny coat!
Do you know the difference between enzymes and probiotics? Find out here: ENZYMES OR PROBIOTICS? WHICH ONE IS BEST FOR MY ANIMAL? – SOULSTICE SPIRIT
5) MINIMIZE PRESRVATIVES AND FILLERS– As mentioned earlier, all store bought processed foods contain some degree of preservatives and fillers. Particularly for animals with sensitive digestive systems, these non-food ingredients can inhibit healthy skin and hair growth. Ingredients such as:
– corn gluten which was primarily used as weed killer by farmers on their crops
–powdered cellulose which is quite literally sawdust
-brewers rice which is the jagged edges of the rice that fall to the floor in the rice processing plant that can wreak havoc and get stuck in the GI system, causing inflammation of the intestines
–BHA & BHT- Known carcinogens to cause cancer and are still present in many store bought dog foods
These are four of many common, questionable ingredients that can contribute to poor bodily health; including skin and coat.
By feeding your animals preservatives and fillers, their digestion and distribution of nutrients to the necessary areas of the body becomes inhibited. When this happens, the coat and skin of the body become affected. Sadly, often accompanied by ingestion of the above ingredients, our animals suffer terrible tummy aches. Eventually with prolonged exposure to these substances, our animals can develop other seriously adverse health problems. It is always best to read labels and research ingredients from reliable sources in order to ensure that you are feeding as natural and whole of a diet as possible.
6) BRUSH/GROOM/BATHE REGULARLY- Whereas most coat and skin health originates in their diet, it is crucial to brush their coat to eliminate dead or dying hair, old skin and other environmental toxins that build up. By regularly brushing out the old, shedding coat, you are leaving room for a lustrous, new coat! As with all living beings, washing the body; coat and skin, also ensures the cleansing of toxins and old skin and hair. Fortunately for us cat people, our kitty friends will groom themselves. that said, if you notice that your cat is not grooming herself regularly or is excessively grooming, seek immediate veterinary attention as this is often a sign of a very serious underlying health issue.
The above are just six of many reasons why your animal may have an unhealthy looking skin and coat. If you have eliminated the above six reasons from your list as possibilities and are still looking at a roughz dry coat on your furry friend, it may bea sign of an inner organ imbalance or other serious health concern. Please be aware that dry, flaky, hot skin and a matte,dewy coat could be symptoms of a poor internal health issue that requires medical attention. Other than lack of grooming, any skin and fur health imbalances work their way from the inside out. If the skin and fur/hair of your animal companion is dull and dry, it may be time to seek medical attention. Though this may be something as simple as an allergy, it could also be something far more serious. Whether a simple or complex issue, it is ALWAYS best to seek out the professional opinion of a veterinarian; preferable a holistic one. Holistic veterinarians have a far greater spectrum of knowledge, diagnoses and non invasive treatments that can treat the root cause of the issueinsteae of just the symptoms that western veterinarians often do. PLEASE NOTE: IF your animal as an unexplained greasy, oily skin or coat, he or she may need immediate veterinary attention as this could be a symptom of a serious underlying organ health issue.
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