Skin & Coat

Your pet’s skin and coat are strong indicators of its internal health. They can also show other conditions present.

Good skin and coat care combined with an appropriate diet are essential for a happy, healthy pet!

Your pet’s skin and coat care – did you know?

  • Human shampoo can cause doggy dandruff.
  • Your pet’s diet can make a big difference to their skin and coat.
  • Vitamin A sustains growth and maintenance of your pet’s healthy skin.
  • Protein provides essential amino acids for skin and coat maintenance.
  • Omega 6s give your pet’s skin and coat shine, texture and protective barrier properties.
  • Vitamin C supports wound healing and collagen formation.
  • There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog! Certain breeds however have consistent and predictable coats (that are non-shedding) that produce less allergens.

What does your pet’s skin and coat tell you?

Your pet’s skin and coat reflect how well their internal organs and systems are functioning. They offer a vital diagnostic tool for determining your pet’s overall health and wellbeing.

Proper balanced nutrition gives your pet the essentials it needs to sport a lustrous coat and healthy skin. If, despite a healthy diet and good grooming, your pet’s coat or skin is problematic, it can help you (and your vet) to identify any presenting conditions.

Visit your nearest Just For Pets store and our pet experts can help you understand what is affecting your pet’s condition.

Which cats and dogs are prone to skin and coat problems?

Cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are susceptible to issues involving their skin and coat. Pets who are young, elderly, or living in overcrowded, stressful environments may be more susceptible to these problems than others.

Your dog’s skin and coat

What are the signs your dog has a skin or coat problem?

  • Scratching, licking or nibbling at itchy skin
  • Hair loss, bald patches
  • Redness or irritation
  • Isolated areas of the body where itching is intense
  • Scabs
  • Round, scaly areas on the face and paws
  • Dry, flaky or otherwise aggravated skin
  • Rashes
  • Wounds
  • Drainage of blood or pus
  • Swellings, lumps or skin discoloration
  • Rubbing face against furniture or carpeting

What might cause your dog to have skin problems?

  • Fleas – bites and flea droppings irritate your dog’s skin.
  • Mange – caused by mites, leads to large patches of hair loss and severe itching.
  • Ringworm – a highly contagious fungal infection that causes hair loss in patches.
  • Parasites – such as ear mites and lice.
  • Allergies – caused by a reaction to certain foods, pollen, dust, mould or flea bites.
  • Boredom or stress – a pet may lick their skin excessively for many reasons when not given adequate activity or stimulation.
  • Metabolic or hormonal problems – several common hormonal issues can cause alteration in skin colour, coat consistency, thickness and distribution.
  • Exposure to toxins or contact dermatitis – these may cause the skin to become itchy and inflamed.
  • Calluses – resulting from chronic pressure on areas such as the elbows.
  • Vaccine or medication reaction – may cause permanent hair loss at the site of an injection or where a topical ointment was applied.
  • Cushing’s disease – caused by an increase of corticosteroids in the body.
  • Poor diet – low quality food may lead to changes to the coat.
  • Hypothyroidism – caused by decreased production of thyroid hormones may lead to hair loss or a dry and brittle coat.
  • Diabetes – result in thinning of the skin and patches of sparse hair.

Your cat’s skin and coat

What are the signs your cat has a skin disease or condition?

  • Constant scratching, licking and chewing at the skin
  • Unhealthy looking coat
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Coat that is greasy, matted or has changes in colour
  • Scabs
  • Hair loss, bald patches
  • Round, scaly patches on the face and paws
  • Dry, flaky or otherwise irritated skin
  • Rashes
  • Swellings, lumps or skin discoloration
  • Drainage of blood or pus

What might cause my cat to have skin problems?

  • Ringworm – a highly contagious fungal infection that causes hair loss in patches. Lesions are most commonly seen on the head, ears and paws.
  • Fleas – cause irritation and potential allergic response.
  • Other external parasites – ear mites cause itching and redness around the ears and a dark, coffee ground-like material can be seen in the ear canals. Lice produce intense itching. Mange mites cause severe flaking and scaling.
  • Allergies – a reaction to certain foods, pollen, dust, mould or flea bites.
  • Seasonal changes – many cats get dry, flaky skin in the winter.
  • Tumours – a variety of benign and malignant skin growths can develop in cats.
  • Stress, boredom and loneliness – anxiety may cause cats to excessively lick and chew, causing hair loss.
  • Abscess – a painful collection of pus at the site of a bite or puncture wound.
  • Contact dermatitis – exposure to toxic substances; also exposure to rubber or plastic food dishes, excessive cold or exposure to the sun.
  • Sunburn – cats with light-coloured fur and hairless breeds are very prone to sunburn.
  • Feline acne – blackheads form on the underside of the cat’s chin and edges of the lips.
  • Psychogenic alopecia – often stress-related, this condition sees the thinning of the fur in a stripe down the back or on the abdomen caused by compulsive self-grooming.
  • Stud tail – caused by glands near the tail that excrete excessive oils, which results in a greasy, rancid-smelling waxy brown material near the base of the tail.

Pets need grooming just like us!

We spend a lot of time and money on our grooming, appearance and bodily care.

In the same way that our skin and hair reflect our state of health, our pets’ skin and coat gives us many signs.

Prevention is always better than cure and good, regular grooming with care and observation of your pet’s skin and coat will help you keep it in the best of health.

Got a question about your pet’s skin and coat? Visit your nearest participating Just For Pets store for your free 6 point pet health check today.