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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

Does Your Dog or Cat Suffer with Skin and Coat Problems?

Sep 27, 2011 06:41PM ● By Lee De Barriault

The skin is your pet’s largest organ and it reflects the general health of your pet. The skin acts as a barrier against harmful invasions from the environment. The most common reason for skin problems in both dogs and cats is an allergy. Foods, pollens, fleas, medications, bacterial and fungal infections and mange may all be the cause of allergic reactions resulting in a vicious cycle of scratching, itching, licking and biting. Some allergies are due to dietary deficiencies or a poor diet in general.

Some veterinarians will prescribe corticosteroids for allergies and other skin irritations to combat fleas, reduce hot spots and itching. Such drugs may only mask the symptoms of the problem rather than alleviate it and may cause long term damage to your pet’s immune system.

Fortunately, there are many natural remedies available to combat fleas, reduce hot spots and itching and help the underlying immune related problems that may be causing the irritations and disease. Focus on providing your pet with a high quality natural diet which contains a good source of protein (not meat-by-products) and avoid grains, preservatives and coloring. If your dog or cat gets sick easily or suffers with chronic infections and allergies, consult with a holistic veterinarian about immune support such as a multivitamin or herbal immune booster such as Spring Tonic, Constitutional Blend , Ol-Immune or Detox Blend. You can also bathe your pet with a natural shampoo as often as needed to keep the coat clean from allergens.

The following nutrients are necessary for healthy skin and coat in animals and can be found in high quality commercial foods:

Omega-3 Fatty acids (EPA and DHA) - These acids prevent flaking and drying of skin and act as an anti-inflammatory. They are found in fish oils.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids – (Linoleic Acid) This acid is necessary for chemical reactions in the body. This acid must be consumed from a dietary source such as turkey for cats and flax oil for dogs. Omega 6 is usually plentiful in a high-quality, balanced commercial diet.

Vitamin C - An essential vitamin for overall health. This antioxidant enhances T-cell production to help fight viral and bacterial infections such as any chronic disease, infection, allergy or dermatitis.

Vitamin E - Prevents the fats and fat soluble Vitamin A stored in the body from breaking down.

Vitamin A - Plays an important part in the growth and repair of body tissues. Good for healthy skin and eyesight.

Zinc - An essential mineral found in most tissues. A deficiency of this mineral leaves an animal susceptible to infection.

Supplements for immune related skin disorders: The following nutrients have been found to help boost the immune system in order to fight disease and infection:

Reishi Mushrooms – These mushrooms are used as an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine to relieve respiratory and allergy symptoms. Also used to boost the immune system and inhibit growth of cancer cells.

Echinacea - An immune stimulant which helps the body defend itself against viral infection. Echinacea has been used by Native Americans to heal wounds and skin problems and reduce inflammation.

Astragalus root - Used in Chinese medicine to strengthen Chi (physical and spiritual energy). It is a powerful immune strengthener that heals, repairs and supports the entire body. In lab tests astragalus has been shown to kill viruses, destroy cancer cells and induce interferon production.

Licorice root and Yucca - These herbs contain natural cortisone which helps relieve inflammation. Licorice is a specific herb for the adrenals, which are often stressed or depleted in pets with chronic coat problems.

Apple cider vinegar - Recommended for dogs and cats with skin problems as it improves digestion. It is more readily accepted by dogs than with cats. Digestive enzymes are easier to administer to cats.

Lee De Barriault is the owner of Natural Pet Specialty Shop. Herbal tinctures, supplements, digestive enzymes and high quality natural foods are available at Natural Pet Specialty Shop , 398-B N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne. For more information call 321-259-3005 or visit www.naturalpetspecialtyshop.com or follow them on Facebook.

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