Recent studies done by Prins show that pet owners value health the highest when it comes to topics they would like to know more about. Your pet’s coat says a lot about its health. So make sure it’s fur-fect!

The condition of your pet’s coat says a lot about its health, and the right food plays a big part in having or getting a healthy skin and coat. Fur consists mainly of a protein called keratin. That’s why proteins are so important for the quality of your pet’s coat.

Lifespan

Hair has a certain lifespan before it starts to fall out. It is then replaced by new hair. Due to our temperate climate, some pets in the Netherlands are no longer shedding during specific times of the year, but it changed into an ongoing process. That especially goes for those that live indoors and therefore are not exposed to clear temperature changes.

Did you know?

A cat’s and dog’s coat grows maximally during summer and minimally in winter.

Skin and coat issues

Skin and coat issues can have different causes. Very often, it’s a matter of parasites like fleas, but it might also be due to an undelying disease or prolonged stress.

Food hypersensitivity

Skin and coat issues might also be the result of food hypersensitivity. When this is the case, there’s a distincton to be made between food allergies or food intolerance. We’ll explain the difference below:

Food allergies are a reaction of the immune system to foreign substances, also known as allergens. When the immune system gets activated, histamine is released, which is a substance that causes the symptoms of allergies, like itching.

A food intolerance shows the same disease profile as food allergies. A well-known example of food intolerance is a food poisoning after an animal has eaten poor-quality or spoiled food, or something containing certain food components such as chocolate, onion or pepper. Another example is drinking milk.

Did you know?

Food intolerance can also occur as a result of abnormal or unusual eating habits such as over-eating, eating fatty foods or eating inedible objects.

Proteins

The allergens that may cause reactions of the cat’s or dog’s immune system, are most of the time animal or cereal proteins. Animal proteins may be found in chicken, lamb, fish or beef. An animal that is allergic to chicken protein, has nothing to fear from other protein types.   

Gluten

Besides animal proteins, your pet may also be sensitive to certain proteins in cereal, better known as gluten. All cereal products contain gluten, for instance rice, maize, barley, wheat, oats and rye. There are two types of gluten. The type that can cause allergic reactions is found in wheat, but not in maize or rice.

Fur and food

A good food is important for a healthy skin and coat. Prins has developed food specifically for adult pets with longhaired coats. High-quality ingredients like salmon, linseed oil and salmon oil ensure  great condition of the coat, while the addition of omega-3 fatty acids contributes to an improved condition of the sensitive skin and a shiny coat.

Salmon oil

Many Prins-foods, like the Protection-foods for cats and dogs, contain salmon oil. Salmon oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and support a healthy and shiny coat.

Skin issues?

For cats and dogs with skin and coat issues, Prins has developed 100% natural hypoallergenic dietetic feeds which reduce the chance of any hypersensitivity reactions. It is available both as a dry food as well as canned varieties, so there’s plenty of opportunity to alternate healthily.  

Determine the cause!

Both skin and coat issues as well as gastrointestinal may have different causes. Is there any itching? First, rule out parasitic causes. Fleas and mites are in many cases the cause of skin and coast issues. If there are no parasites involved, you need to take a closer look at your pet’s environment and diet. It is key to have a clear view on the food your pet is taking in, including supplementary food like snacks and/or leftovers from dinner. Based on this information, we can decide which food the animal hasn’t tried before and a fitting hypoallergenic diet can be advised. 

A hypoallergenic diet

A hypoallergenic diet, also known as an elimination diet, preferably contains a protein source that the animal hasn’t tried before. Examples hereof are lamb, duck, ostrich or deer. As a carbohydrate source, rice, potato or maize is often used, as these are all nutrients that are known for having low risks at hypersensitivity reactions.

A minimum of six weeks…

For a decent diagnosis,it is important to continue the hypoallergenic diet for a minimum of six weeks. The recovery period of skin and coat is quite long and therefore it may take up 6 to 10 weeks to see a significant reduction of complaints. However, the itching should at least lessen within six weeks. Keep in mind though; one single bite of another type of food might ruin the effects of the hypoallergenic food! 

…and nothing else!

Also, it is crucial for your pet not to eat anything else but the hypoallergenic food during the course of these six weeks. Snacks are an absolute no-go, as one single bite may ruin the effects of the hypoallergenic food and trigger new issues. You need to make sure that your pet cannot find any other food outdoors as well. That means that a dog will need to remain leashed when it is being walked and cats will need to be kept indoors during this period.

Multiple meals

It is best to spread the daily amount of food over several smaller meals per day. When nutrients are offered in smaller portions, the chances of hypersensitivity reactions being triggered get reduced.

Prevent food-sharing

Make sure your pet has no access to the food of any other pets. If this is impossible to do, it is best to feed the other pets the same dietetic food.

Important

Is you pet still shedding, despite the food adaptation? Or are you questioning the cause of the skin or coat issues? In that case, we always advise to seek help from a vet to exclude any medical causes.

A long story…

This has been a long story about the skin and coat, but we can imagine you still might have questions for us. Or maybe you would like a specific tailor-made advice for your pet’s diet. That’s definitely possible! The food experts in our CareTeam are ready to stand by you, so your pet feels comfortable in its skin and coat!

Bonny from the CareTeam

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