The Key To Great Skin & Coat
It seems like nine out of ten pet owners have contacted me at some point in time, frustrated and upset about their dog or cat’s ongoing, chronic skin and coat problems. The usual description manifests as excessive shedding, loss of hair in patches, and skin conditions, sometimes resulting in “weepy” sores and lesions. Sadly, these symptoms are typically treated with cortisone shots and steroids, but still seem to reoccur often. While they’re frequently diagnosed as allergies, I see them as merely just deficiencies. The good news is that I have found that, generally, these issues are linked to the lack of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) in the pet’s diet, and can be turned around very quickly!
Most commercial pet foods are cooked and processed at extremely high temperatures. Dry foods are particularly culprit in this case. Let’s face it, the reason they call dry food “dry” is because all of the essential fats and oils have been cooked out. The old adage “we are what we eat” certainly pertains to pets as well as humans. Consuming a steady diet of dry food, without proper supplementation can dry out the skin, coat and digestive tract, as well as lead to a multitude of digestive disorders – including irritable bowel syndrome. All of these problems, just as in humans, can leave our pets looking and feeling less than fabulous!
EFA’s are truly essential to the body’s ability to increase immune efficiency, keep the digestive system functioning normally, and promote a healthy skin and coat. In order for a dog or cat to receive the optimum benefit, the EFA’s must be ingested in the foods they eat or in the supplements they take, since the pet’s bodies do not make essential fatty acids on their own. Cats that are fed a healthy natural diet, complete with a daily dose of EFA’s will rarely have hairballs. Long-haired cats that groom themselves may experience them occasionally during the shedding season, but this only occurs twice a year. Nature intended most furry animals to have a summer coat and a winter coat to accommodate temperature changes. If your cat is vomiting hairballs all year round, it’s most likely exhibiting dry skin and shedding, too. You should be able to run your hand over your cat (or dog’s) back and come away with little to no hair either on your hand or floating in the air. If not, your pet is an ideal candidate for essential fatty acid supplementation.
Be aware, however, that all EFA’s are not created equal. Some products actually contain chemical preservatives, such as BHA and BHT. While these ingredients may extend shelf life, they can also create allergic skin reactions in pets, exacerbating the original health problem. READ PRODUCT LABELS and become informed! If your oil supplements contain water, it’s just the manufacturers’ way of cutting costs. The additional water just diminishes the effectiveness of the product. A great blend of EFA’s will generally consist of a combination of several different types of oils. They may include Wheat germ Oil, Flax Oil, Safflower Oil, Sunflower Oil, or even Cod and Salmon Oil. The ideal formulation should include the well known properties and benefits of the Omega 3’s, 6’s and 9’s, but should not be without the more important benefits of linoleic, linolenic, arachidonic acid, and oleic acids.
EFA’s may be added to any food; whether dry, canned, natural or premium to enhance the benefits of the pet’s diet. A great product will start to produce dramatic results in as little as five to ten days and continue to promote great health that will last an entire lifetime. Start your healthy oils today, and give your pet a new coat for Christmas! Check out my EFA Easy Recipe.
Wishing you and your pets great health, always Andi
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-author of The Whole Pet Diet
& founder of Halo, Purely for Pets