The hair of dogs and cats is an influential factor in the different breeds and species meaning, in many cases, what causes a person to choose one breed over another.
Petfood is crucial in the preservation of dog and cat hair, and there are a number of different options that can be offered to pets.
Many dogs and cats suffer from hair problems that manifest as persistent shedding, obsessive grooming, paw chewing, bald patches, or skin rashes. However, the hair responds to a cyclical process. Hair shedding is a normal physiological process, common for many species of animals (and even humans).
In dogs and cats, hair shedding is more visible and can prove annoying for their owners. In these species, shedding must occur once or twice a year: in the transition from winter to spring, and from summer to autumn on some occasions. This is known as a seasonal shedding, which is normal, necessary, and healthy.
The problem arises when a dog or cat constantly sheds its hair, throughout all of the seasons. A continuous shedding of hair implies that there is an excess of waste in the pet’s system that it is trying to eliminate.
The question to ask is whether the food supplied to the pet is related to constant hair shedding, whether the ingredients within the food positively or negatively affect the pets’ fur.
Among the possible causes for continuous shedding of hair, the main reason is poor quality food, followed by:
- Unidentified food allergy or intolerance to an ingredient in the formula
- Excess fat and protein intake
These potential reasons can lead to the accumulation of toxic waste in a pet’s system, leading to hair shedding, among other issues. However, there are ways of addressing this within the petfood industry.
There are certain components that can be considered when making a new formula or improving an existing one:
- Hypoallergenic food: after years of testing, formulas with whole grains provide excellent results, as do potatoes and buckwheat. In the case of dogs, a natural, healthy, easily digestible food, rich in complex carbohydrates and low in protein and fat is the closest thing to an ideal formula
- Overfeeding: although the industry cannot directly control this, it’s important to raise awareness and inform through product packaging about the importance of respecting the amounts recommended by veterinary nutritionists. You have a recent article where we talked at length about this topic. Overfeeding a pet will cause the body to receive more of what it needs and consumes, even if the food is of excellent quality, so it will accumulate all these components in the form of toxins.
Hair loss in dogs
It goes without saying that a food with a complete and balanced formula helps with keeping the cycle of coat change unaltered. Still, in many cases, what is good for one dog or breed may not be good for another.
The ingredients that are available today to help prevent excessive hair loss in dogs are:
- Fruits and vegetables, due to their high omega-6 content
- Royal smoked salmon, due to its high omega-3 content
- Protein from brown rice
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids: Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids provide a lot of nutrition and hydration to the skin and coat, especially in breeds with a tendency to have dry, sensitive or dull skin. The balance between these two acids is what achieves a shiny and healthy coat
- Salmon and trout flour
- Antioxidants, prebiotics and probiotics
Hair loss in cats
In the case of cats, especially those with long hair, the formula of the food can make a big difference, in the aesthetics and in the health of the hair. The shiny coat of a cat can have up to 1200 hairs per square centimetre.
Ingredients that take care of hair, keeping it healthy, shiny and smooth
- Pure coconut oil: helps to hydrate the skin, especially sensitive skin prone to allergies or redness. At the same time, it improves the appearance of the hair, because it provides shine and softness from within. Prevents excessive loss and promotes healthy growth
- Zinc and vitamins C, E, A and B: this set of vitamins promotes the synthesis of keratin, something essential for a healthy, elastic, thick and shiny skin and coat
- Biotin: vitamin B complex that helps promote healthy tissue growth
- Vitamin E: this vitamin is a natural antioxidant that helps protect your pet’s skin against free radicals that could damage skin cells
- Chicken flour and brown rice
Hair, beyond being characteristic of each race or species, has its own functions, such as providing sensory data and protection.
Beyond aesthetics, it is essential to emphasise raising awareness among the pet-owning public about which food is most suitable for each species or breed and how to recognise when the hair is in good or bad condition, in order to ensure the pet is healthy.
Without a doubt, a balanced and complete formula in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates will do its job and will keep the animal healthy and looking good. Even so, you must always take into account reinforcing the importance of respecting the quantities, as well as researching or consulting about the indicated food for each pet.