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10 Best (Healthiest) Dog Foods for Healthy Shiny Coats

Your dog’s coat is a reflection of his inner health. When it is dull, dry, and patchy it is a sign that something isn’t right. A shiny coat is a sign that your dog is getting the essential nutrients he needs and that he is living a healthy and happy life.

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Taste Of The Wild Pacific

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A balanced diet is the key to keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy, but what nutrients benefit your dog’s skin most? And how do you choose the best dog food for shiny coat when there are so many different options out there?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at common health issues that could be affecting your dog’s skin and coat. We’ll also talk about the nutrients your dog needs for skin and coat health and provide some recommendations for the best dog food for shiny coat and healthy skin.

The Basics About Skin and Coat Health in Dogs

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If you own a cat, you know how much time they spend grooming themselves every day. Your dog is different. Not only is he unlikely to care much about the condition of his coat, but it may seem like he actively seeks out opportunities to get himself dirty. The good news is that a little dirt never hurt anyone, but there are other things that can negatively affect your dog’s skin and coat.

Your dog’s skin is a barrier that not only protects his organs, muscles, and bones, but it also prevents water loss and keeps potentially harmful substances out. Environmental factors and harmful pathogens can cause changes to your dog’s skin and coat that could change the pH, cause moisture loss, or trigger other changes like irritation, inflammation, and hair loss. Some dogs are more prone to certain skin issues than others, so it is a good idea to learn the basics, so you know what to look for.

Here are some of the most common skin and coat issues in dogs:

  • Dry, itchy skin – Officially known as pruritus, dry itchy skin is a common skin problem in dogs. In fact, itchy skin is a symptom in 40% of cases for dogs to visit the vet for skin issues. The itching itself is a nuisance, but it can increase the risk for secondary skin infections and hair loss.
  • Skin allergies – Dogs can develop allergies to fleas, food, or environmental triggers. Many dog owners fail to realize that recurrent skin and ear infections are often a sign of food allergies.
  • Hot spots – External parasites are a common cause of itchy skin and they may cause the dog to scratch so much that he damages the skin, causing open sores to develop that are at risk for developing a secondary infection.
  • Hair loss – Everything from parasites to adrenal problems can lead to hair loss in dogs, so don’t take this symptom lightly. Talk to your vet at the first sign of trouble.
  • Dull, dry coat – A diet lacking in omega fatty acids is the most common reason for dull, dry coat in dogs, but it can also be related to dehydration and underlying health problems.

If you suspect that your dog has developed a skin infection or some kind of internal health problem, your first step is to contact your veterinarian. Tell your vet about all of the symptoms you’ve noticed and be as specific as possible when it comes to their duration. Once your vet makes a diagnosis, you can start treating your dog for the underlying problem which will improve his skin and coat as he heals.

What Nutrients Does Your Dog Need for Healthy Coat?

Though skin infections and other health problems can impact the condition of your dog’s skin and coat, sometimes these issues are linked to an unhealthy diet. Your dog requires a balance of certain nutrients in his diet for overall health, but there are specific nutrients he needs for healthy skin and coat.

All dogs require a diet rich in animal protein to help them build and maintain lean muscle mass. As a puppy, your dog needs a minimum of 22% protein in his diet to fuel his growth and development but, as an adult, that minimum number drops slightly to 18%. Animal-based proteins like meat, poultry, and fish are best because they are complete proteins (they contain all of the essential amino acids your dog’s body can’t synthesize on its own) and they are more biologically valuable than plant proteins.

After protein, fat is the next most important nutrient for your dog. Fat provides a concentrated source of energy as well as essential fatty acids to support your dog’s skin and coat. Your dog needs a mixture of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health and they can come from both animal and plant sources. One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids is fatty fish and you can find omega-6 fatty acids in sunflower oil and safflower oils, among others.

In addition to meeting your dog’s basic needs for protein and healthy fats, his diet should also provide ample fiber for healthy digestion and specific levels of key vitamins and minerals. Most dog foods are supplemented with vitamins and minerals – just look for the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy that shows the food meets the minimum nutrition requirements for dogs.

To make sure that your dog gets the nutrients he needs, you should purchase the highest quality dog food you can consistently afford. Read on to learn the specifics of what you should look for in a diet to support your dog’s skin and coat health.

best dog food for healthy coats

What to Look for in a Good Dog Food for Healthy Coat

Keeping in mind the basic nutritional requirements listed in the previous section, you can now better understand what to look for in a dog food for shiny coat and healthy skin. Be sure to adhere to any unique nutritional requirements your dog has and always talk to your veterinarian before you make significant changes to your dog’s diet. With your vet’s approval, you can start shopping for a new dog food to support your dog’s skin and coat health.

Here are some things to look for in the best dog food for shiny coat: 

  • High-quality animal protein. Meat, poultry, and seafood are the best sources of protein for dogs. Make sure the dog food you choose contains at least 18% but ideally upwards of 25%.
  • Rich in omega fatty acids. Healthy fats provide your dog with a source of energy as well as support for healthy skin and coat. Look for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in balance.
  • Nutritionally balanced. On top of protein and healthy fats, your dog needs certain vitamins and minerals in his diet for overall health. Trace minerals like copper and zinc are particularly important for skin and coat, so look for chelated minerals as a biologically valuable source.
  • Easy to digest. If your dog’s food is difficult to digest, his ability to absorb nutrition will be limited. A dog food made with wholesome, natural ingredients is the most digestible for dogs. Pay particular attention to the carbohydrates and keep in mind that whole grains are a healthy, digestible carbohydrate for most dogs –only dogs allergic to them need to avoid grains.
  • No artificial additives or by-products. Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives have no place in a high-quality dog food – neither do by-products. Make sure that your dog’s food is made primarily of real, whole-food ingredients from named sources (chicken meal versus meat meal).
    Now that you know what to look for in the best dog food for skin problems, you’re ready to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top picks for the best dog foods that are good for dog’s skin.

Now that you know what to look for in a healthy dog food for skin and coat, you’re ready to start shopping! If you’re still not sure what you’re looking for, check out our recommendations for the best dog foods that are good for dog’s skin in the next section.

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Healthy Coat

The best dog food for healthy coat will not only meet your dog’s general nutritional needs, but it will also contain supplemental ingredients for skin and coat support. Look for a recipe that lists a high-quality source of animal protein as the first ingredient with plenty of healthy fats and low-to-moderate amounts of digestible carbohydrates. And don’t forget about vitamins and chelated minerals as well as other supplements like probiotics for healthy digestion.

Here’s our top pick for the best dog food for healthy coat:

Ollie Fresh Food Delivery Service

Overall Best Dog Food for Healthy Coat: The quality of your dog’s diet matters greatly, whether you’re concerned about his general health or, more specifically, his skin and coat health. High-quality natural ingredients are the best recipe for a healthy diet and Ollie has them in spades. This company uses human-grade ingredients to prepare fresh food for your dog that is catered to his nutritional and calorie needs. Choose from four premium recipes featuring animal proteins like beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb then have the food sent fresh to your door in customizable deliveries. Every recipe is made without artificial flavors and fillers with whole foods gently cooked to preserve the nutrients. The food is so fresh that it is safe for humans to eat, but you’ll have a hard time fighting your dog for it.

  • Pros: Human-grade ingredients, minimally processed to preserve nutrients, choose from four different proteins, no artificial flavors or fillers, prepared and delivered fresh
  • Cons: Very expensive compared to dry food, some dogs dislike the texture

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Food

Most Popular Dog Food for Healthy Coat: With so many dog food choices to consider, it can be hard to pick just one. Though many dog foods might be a good choice for your pup, Taste of the Wild is a popular brand you can trust when you’re not sure where else to go. This particular recipe features fresh salmon as the main ingredient with supplemental protein from ocean fish meal, salmon meal, and smoked salmon. It is a grain-free recipe made with sweet potatoes, potatoes, and peas as digestible forms of grain-free carbohydrate with potato fiber to support healthy and regular digestion. This recipe also contains dried fermentation products for probiotic support. The primary benefit of this recipe for your dog’s skin and coat health, however, comes from the naturally high levels of omega-3 fatty acids from the salmon ingredients which is balanced with the omega-6 content of the canola oil. Overall, this formula provides 25% protein and 15% fat with 3% fiber. It is nutritionally balanced and full of natural flavor as well.

  • Pros: Rich in omega fatty acids, several premium sources of animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, prebiotic fibers and probiotics, complete and nutritionally balanced
  • Cons: Some dogs don’t require a grain-free diet, somewhat more expensive than average

American Journey Salmon & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe Dry Food

Most Affordable Dog Food for Healthy Coat: If the dog food recipes reviewed above are out of your price range, you’ll be glad to know that American Journey (Chewy’s in-house brand) is designed for both quality and affordability. This American Journey Salmon & Brown Rice Protein First Recipe is an excellent choice for healthy skin and coat because it is packed with premium animal protein from fresh salmon. As a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon helps ensure the optimal balance of omega-3s and omega-6s for maximum skin and coat support. This recipe also contains digestible whole grains like brown rice and barley which provide a rich source of essential nutrients as well as dietary fiber for digestive support. You’ll find several fresh fruits and vegetables in this recipe as well which act as natural sources for key nutrient as well as vitamin supplements and chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption. Overall, this recipe provides 25% crude protein and 15% fat with 6% crude fiber at 365 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Rich in omega fatty acids, premium sources of protein, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, prebiotics and probiotics, chelated minerals
  • Cons: May be too high in fiber for some dogs, contains some plant protein as a main ingredient

Blue Buffalo Basics LID Salmon & Potato Formula

Best Dog Food for Sensitive Skin and Stomach: If your dog suffers from recurring skin problems, it could be the result of a food allergy. Dog food allergies are less common than dog food manufacturers would have you believe, but they do happen and one of the best treatments is switching to a limited ingredient diet made with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate. This Blue Buffalo Basics LID Salmon & Potato Formula is a great option because it features a short list of main ingredients to minimize the risk for reactivity, with fresh salmon as a novel source of protein. It also contains digestible whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice with supplemental fiber from peas and potatoes. This recipe contains natural sources for both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support your dog’s skin and coat health, plus it is supplemented with essential vitamins and chelated minerals. Overall, it provides 20% protein and 12% fat with 6% fiber.

  • Pros: Fresh salmon as main ingredient, limited number of ingredients, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, chelated minerals and probiotics
  • Cons: May be too high in fiber for some dogs, some dogs may be sensitive to grains

6 More Top-Rated Dog Foods for Healthy Coat

If the recipes reviewed above don’t seem like the perfect fit for your dog, don’t worry! There are plenty of other options out there. Here are five more picks for the best dog food for skin problems:

AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula Dry Food

Featuring fresh avocado and avocado oil as key ingredients, this AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula Dry Food is formulated for skin and coat support. This recipe is made with chicken meal as the main ingredient and a concentrated source of premium animal protein. It is followed by whole brown rice, white rice, and oatmeal as highly digestible sources of whole-grain carbohydrates. You’ll also find that this recipe contains several skin- and coat-supporting nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin E, and several trace minerals in their chelated form to maximize absorption. Overall, this recipe is a great source of premium animal protein, omega fatty acids, and digestible carbohydrates. It contains 23% crude protein, 13% fat, and 4% fiber at 360 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Concentrated source of animal protein, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Cons: Some dogs may be sensitive to grains

Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Salmon Recipe Dry Food

Designed to bring out the best in your dog’s skin and coat, this Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Salmon Recipe Dry Food is a great choice. It features premium-quality salmon as a single source of animal protein and a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids. This recipe also contains canola oil to provide a rich balance of omega-6 fatty acids as well as supplemental sources of fat and fiber in the form of flaxseed. You’ll find that this recipe is highly digestible with several sources of whole-grain carbohydrates as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources of key nutrients. With plenty of supplemental fiber and the addition of probiotics, this recipe is highly digestible and full of natural flavor. It’s a little higher in calories than some dog foods, so pay attention to the feeding instructions but know that it contains 22% protein, 12% fat, and 4% fiber.

  • Pros: Single source of premium animal protein, rich in omega fatty acids, highly digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, supplemental fiber and probiotics
  • Cons: Higher in calories than average, fairly expensive compared to average

Blackwood Salmon Meal & Brown Rice Sensitive Skin + Stomach Formula

Formulated for all life stages, this Blackwood Salmon Meal & Brown Rice Sensitive Skin + Stomach Formula is a great option for skin and coat support. It features salmon meal as a concentrated source of premium animal protein and a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains digestible brown rice as the primary carbohydrate and a source of essential nutrients and dietary fiber. This recipe delivers wholesome nutrition and is slow-cooked in small batches to ensure the highest quality possible. Plus, it contains probiotics and chelated minerals to ensure healthy digestion and optimal nutrient absorption. It is free from artificial additives and low-quality fillers but full of natural flavor your dog will love. This recipe contains 24.5% protein, 14% fat, and 3.5% fiber at 432 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Formulated for skin and coat support, rich in premium animal protein, balance of omega fatty acids, highly digestible, prebiotics and probiotics, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Cons: Somewhat higher in calories than average, more expensive than average

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Skin + Coat Health Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

If you like the idea of feeding your dog raw food but can’t afford it, this Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Skin + Coat Health Grain-Free Chicken Recipe is a step in the right direction. High-protein kibble mixed with freeze-dried raw ingredients, this recipe is a top-tier dog food. This formula features cage-free chicken as the primary ingredient with menhaden fish meal as a natural source of skin and coat-supporting fats. This recipe also contains chicken meal, eggs, and freeze-dried chicken as well as freeze-dried chicken liver. You’ll also find plenty of natural sources for key nutrients including chia seeds, flaxseed, cranberries, carrots, and apples as well as supplemental sources of omega fatty acids like salmon oil. This recipe is rich in essential nutrients including skin- and coat-supporting vitamins A and E as well as chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption. Overall, it is packed with protein, omega fatty acids, and healthy fiber to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

  • Pros: High-protein kibble and freeze-dried raw ingredients, several sources of premium protein, rich in omega fatty acids, highly digestible, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics
  • Cons: Expensive compared to average, higher in calories than average (529 per cup)

Authority Skin, Coat + Digestive Health Fish & Potato Formula

For many dogs, digestive issues are tied to skin problems and this Authority Skin, Coat + Digestive Health Fish & Potato Formula is designed to resolve both. It features fresh whitefish as the primary protein and a natural source of skin-supporting omega-3s. It also contains canola oil for omega-6 fatty acids to balance them out. This recipe is highly digestible and grain-free, so it works well for dogs with allergies or sensitivities to grains – it also contains a lower number of main ingredients than many dog foods. It features dried potatoes and sweet potatoes as digestible grain-free carbohydrates and natural sources of dietary fiber, plus it is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. Overall, it contains 26% protein and 14% fat with 5% fiber and 400 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Rich in animal protein, balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, formulated for skin and digestive support, limited number of main ingredients, highly digestible
  • Cons: Fairly expensive compared to average, somewhat higher in calories than average

Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Venison & Rice Recipe

If you’re looking for a dog food formulated for skin and coat support that won’t break the bank, try this Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Venison & Rice Recipe. This recipe features real venison as the first ingredient and a high-quality source of animal protein to support muscle development. Rice provides a lean source of digestible carbohydrate, supplemented by oatmeal and barley. This recipe contains a rich blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids without going overboard on calories and it is supplemented with other skin- and coat-supporting nutrients like vitamins A and E as well as minerals like zinc and copper. Overall, this recipe contains 22% protein, 12% fat, and 4% fiber at 314 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Real venison first ingredient, digestible carbohydrate sources, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, skin- and coat-supporting supplements, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Could be higher in protein, contains an unnamed fat source (poultry fat)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What can I give my dog for a healthy coat? – Feeding your dog a balanced diet is the best way to support his skin and coat health. If your dog suffers from dry skin or other skin issues that aren’t related to an underlying medical problem, switching to a diet higher in omega fatty acids might help. If you prefer not to switch your dog’s food, you might consider adding a skin and coat dog supplement to his daily routine. Dog supplements for healthy coat are typically made from fish oil and come in both liquid and tablet form.
    Our top recommendation for the best skin and coat dog supplement is Zesty Paws Omega Bites Skin & Coat Support Chews. These chews are specially formulated with omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids as well as essential vitamins and minerals to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. They have a delicious chicken flavor as well, so they are easy to administer.
  • How do I make my dog’s coat shiny? – Changing the condition of your dog’s coat is something that takes time. If dullness and dryness are caused by a poor diet, changing your dog’s diet to one higher in omega fatty acids should help. Adding dog supplements for healthy coat can help as well, though you should get your vet’s approval first. Other things you can do to make your dog’s coat shinier is to brush it regularly and to try bathing your dog with a moisturizing and conditioning shampoo and conditioner.
  • What vitamin is good for a dog’s coat? – As you well know by now, the most important nutrients for skin and coat health are omega fatty acids. In addition to these essential fatty acids, your dog also needs vitamin E and vitamin A for healthy skin and coat. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps rebuild damaged hair follicles – it also helps moisturize the skin to reduce dryness and dandruff and boosts circulation to the hair follicles. Vitamin A is particularly helpful in resolving cases of seborrhea, a condition that causes dry skin and greasy coat.
  • Why is my dog’s coat dry? – There are a number of potential causes for dry skin in dogs, so you should consult your veterinarian if you are concerned. In some cases, it is merely a matter of increasing the moisture content in your dog’s diet as well as the levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In other cases, however, it might be due to an underlying condition. External parasites, bacterial infections, hormone imbalance, and allergies can all lead to skin-related symptoms such as dry coat.
  • How do you moisturize a dog’s coat? – In addition to boosting the omega-3 and omega-6 content of your dog’s diet, there are some simple things you can do to moisturize and recondition his coat. Start by brushing your dog regularly because it stimulates the skin and hair follicles, encouraging them to produce more natural oil that conditions and protects the skin and coat. You can also bathe your dog with a medicated shampoo to reduce problems with allergies and skin infections, or simply use a moisturizing shampoo or conditioner. If your dog has severely dry or irritated skin, you might start with an oatmeal bath.

Your dog’s skin and coat are a reflection of his inner health, so feeding him a high-quality, balanced diet is the best way to support this aspect of his health and wellness. Take what you’ve learned here and put it to use in choosing a new dog food, or talk to your vet first to see if your dog might have an underlying condition. If you’re still not sure where to look for the best dog food for shiny coat, simply try one of the recipes we’ve recommended in sections above!

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