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Skin & Coat Health

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Talking about the health of your Pet's Skin & Coat

One common malady that occurs with temperature changes is problems with a dog or cat's skin and coat.

Let's define "healthy skin and coat" so we're clear about what is considered "normal." Don't confuse "normal" with "common."

Every day in my practice I see pets that have unhealthy skin and coats (usually due to improper nutrition) - so less than optimum is actually quite "common." I've often thought a normal skin/coat condition was actually quite uncommon! Using your senses of touch, vision and smell you will begin to recognize the character of a "normal" or "healthy" skin and coat.

Normal touch: There will be a soft texture to the hairs and even in wiry coats such as in Airedales the character of the coat should be pliable and smooth.

Abnormal touch
The coat will be made up of dry, coarse, brittle hairs, some broken off, some very fine. The coat may be sparse and thinning or short and underdeveloped.

Normal appearing skin/coat: The skin will have a clean look to it and be free of scales, scabs and crusts. The coat should appear full, almost lustrous and have a soft look to it. Abnormal appearing skin/coat: The skin will appear thin, dry and scaly or greasy. The coat will appear dull, lusterless or even dusty. It will have no "shine" to it and will have a harsh appearance.

Normal skin/coat: A healthy skin and coat won't have any smell to it. And even when dirty, will smell like whatever is making it dirty.
Abnormal skin/coat: An unhealthy skin and coat will have a rancid, oily odor; the odor is caused by superficial skin bacteria and their waste products breaking down the oils on the skin.

All skin surfaces have colonies of bacteria present. But an unhealthy skin surface harbors too many of the wrong kinds of bacteria. That is why many veterinarians recommend weekly shampoos with benzoyl peroxide for some dogs with chronic bacterial dermatitis. These types of shampoos keep bacterial numbers to a minimum.

The single most important determining factor in the healthy skin/coat equation is proper NUTRITION.

No matter what else may be adversely affecting the skin/coat, such as allergies, infections, harsh environment, or parasites, the problem will be worse in a dog that is only barely meeting its nutrient requirements.

And skin/coat problems are always less severe and occur less often in well nourished pets. Dogs and cats are primarily meat eaters. They will act, feel and look their best if fed a diet whose first ingredient listed on the pet food label is MEAT, POULTRY or FISH.

Diets that are based on grains such as corn will NOT properly nourish dogs and cats.

The entire field of pet health nutrition is now only beginning to recognize the value and function of meat-based (poultry, beef, lamb, fish) diets.

Many well known brands of dog and cat foods that have been around for years and whose foundation (the first listed ingredient on the label) is a grain such as corn, wheat, barley, or rice simply do NOT provide the health enhancing nutrients that meat-based diets provide.

Most veterinarians have had only superficial training in pet nutrition and often that training has been provided by representatives of various dog food companies.


Shedding is not necessarily abnormal. Even if you can grab clumps of fur and remove them from the pet this hair loss can be normal. Nearly every day in my practice someone brings in a dog that is losing "tons" of fur and the owner wants to know what's wrong because it has never done this before.

As long as the skin looks healthy and there remains a reasonably dense coat where those "clumps" are coming out, and there are no bald spots showing up, the exuberant shedding is probably normal. Even in northern climates many outdoor dogs will shed in December or January. Indoor dogs might shed anytime or even all the time. Hormones, environmental conditions, nutritional status and probably factors yet to be discovered all play a role in the cycle of growth, rest, and fall-out of each individual hair shaft.


Tippy & Alfred know that many skin and coat problems arise from nutritional deficiencies

If your dog or cat suffers from:

Irritated Skin
Excessive Itching
Scratching & Biting
Flaky Skin
Dry or Oily Coat
Excessive shedding
Odorous skin
Dull or brittle coat

Then Dr. Jane Bicks recommends her Skin & Coat Formula for Dogs & Cats. The Skin & Coat Formula has been clinically tested in over 40 veterinary Clinics and proven effective based on six years and thousands of satisfied users.

The delicious roast beef and liver flavored chewable tablets have a taste that dogs and cats love to eat.

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