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Skin and Coat
Allergy (Atopy) Treatment Options for Cats Benefits of Giving Your Pet Fish Oil (Omega 3) Benefits of Giving Your Pet Fish Oils & Fatty Acids Caring for Your Pet's Skin and Coat Choosing a Pet Shampoo for Your Dog or Cat Common Causes of Your Pet's Persistent Itch Do Dog and Cats Need Calcium? Eliminating Pet Odor Finding a Lump or Wart on Your Pet Fly Control for Your Dog How Often Should you Wash your Dog? How to Bathe Your Dog How to Choose the Best Shampoo for Your Pet How to Reduce Cat Hairballs How to Remove Skunk Odor from Dogs & Cats How to Treat 5 Common Skin Diseases in Pets How to Treat Your Dog's Bacterial Skin Infection Maintaining Your Dog's Skin and Coat Health Manage Your Dog's Itching Caused By Allergies Managing Your Cat's Dry Winter Skin Managing Your Dog's Dry Winter Skin Managing Your Dog's Skin Allergies Natural Remedies for Pets with Allergies & Atopy Pet Conditions That Benefit From Omega 3 Preventing and Controlling Pet Hair Loss Promote Healthy Skin and Coat in Your Cat Quick Itch Relief For Your Pet Reducing Your Dog's Shedding Remedies for Pets with Skin Allergies (Atopy) Remedies to Treat Pet Skin Infections Shampoos for Dogs with Skin Allergies Solutions for Your Cat's Skin Infections Top 4 Allergies in Pets Treating Your Horse's Skin Problems Treating Your Pet's Hot Spots Understanding Demodectic Mange (Red Mange) What Causes Pet Odor? Which Skin Supplements Are Best for My Pet? Why Do Dogs Shed?

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Which Skin Supplements Are Best for My Pet?

Skin disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen in small pet veterinary practice. Prescription medications are certainly important in managing many pet skin diseases; however, nutritional supplements are also increasingly used, especially for skin allergies. Many pets with excessive itching and secondary inflammation of the skin will benefit from fatty acid supplements, which often help to reduce inflammation and itching. Although these supplements may not work immediately, with prolonged use, pets often benefit by having decreased allergic skin symptoms and a shinier coat.

Usually it will take 3-4 months to truly see the maximal benefits of many fatty acid products. Often, these supplements allow pet owners to use less prescription medication than when the medication is used alone. Many skin supplements come in a capsule form that can be punctured and added to your pet's food, or easily hidden in a treat, such as Greenies Pill Pockets, or in a small amount of peanut butter or cream cheese. Other formulations can be easily sprinkled onto your pet's food as a palatable powder that is usually readily accepted by even the most finicky pet.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are important nutritional supplements to consider for all pets. Not only does fatty acid supplementation benefit your pet's skin health, but additional benefits are seen in your pet's joints, heart, kidneys, and brain. The ideal intake of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids should be 5:1. Because of the high amounts of Omega 6 fatty acids in pet food and treats, it is usually necessary to supplement with Omega 3 fatty acids to get a healthy 5:1 balance. This balance is essential to avoid promoting unnecessary inflammation and allergic reactions in the skin and other organs of the body, including the brain, eyes, and ears.

When choosing an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement, there are several factors to consider. Freshness is essential, given that fish and fats can quickly become rancid. Purity is important as well—these products should be free of environmental toxins. Wild caught fish from open ocean waters are usually superior to products using farmed fish. Look for products that are research-based and with pharmaceutical manufacturing standards. Products should be stabilized naturally with Vitamin E and/or rosemary extract.

Omega 6 fatty acids

Omega 6 fatty acids are chains of molecules linked with single or double bonds. The location of the double bond determines whether a fatty acid is called an Omega 3 or Omega 6 fatty acid. Omega 6 fatty acids have the first double bond at the 6th carbon, and include linoleic acid (LA) and GLA (gamma linoleic acid). Omega 6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation in the body; therefore, their supplementation is particularly useful in conditions where inflammation is essential to your pet's health, such as fighting off certain viral or bacterial infections and cancers. Omega 6 fatty acids also seem to help with improving dry coats, as well as managing the skin disorder known as seborrhea. In other cases where inflammation is involved, including allergies and autoimmune disorders, it is better to reach for an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement.

Vet Tip
Max & Molly
Because of the high fiber content in fatty acid supplements, start by giving small amounts and increase to the recommended level over one or two weeks.
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