Anti-Inflammatory Foods – Key To Dog Skin and Coat Health
Before looking at what the best anti-inflammatory foods for a dog’s skin are, it is important to understand your dog’s skin and the role it plays in their general health and wellbeing.
Dog Skin and Coat – The Role It Plays in Dog’s Health and Wellbeing
A lustrous, shiny coat is not just visually attractive on a dog but also signifies the animal’s overall good health.
Should a dog’s coat become dry and scaly, underlying health issues, including thyroid complications, Cushing’s disease (medically known as hyperadrenocorticism), or disorders related to the kidney, liver, or nutrition, could be the cause.
Veterinarians often first assess the condition of a canine’s skin and fur, as they’re reflective of the animal’s overall health and wellbeing.
A dog’s skin and fur constitute its largest organ, representing around 10-15% of its bodily mass. The skin structure encompasses the hypodermis, mostly fatty; the dermis, rich in collagen and metabolically vibrant; and the epidermis. The dermis hosts sebaceous glands and hair follicles, secreting sebum that hydrates and coats the hair, minimising friction. The epidermis, meanwhile, contains keratinocytes that produce keratin, providing a barrier against moisture loss.
Canine fur, consisting of countless hairs rooted in follicles, undergoes constant renewal due to environmental factors. Although seasonal shedding is natural, domesticated animals in artificially lit, climate-controlled settings may experience year-round shedding.
The health of a dog’s skin and coat is paramount. Beyond aesthetics, they are integral to the immune function and hydration maintenance. They serve protective roles, offering defence against physical, chemical, and environmental threats, while nerve-endowed skin aids sensory perception. The skin, a vital immune component, wards off infections and diseases. Through insulation or air circulation via fur, dogs regulate body temperature, with shivering aiding in generating warmth.
Skin is crucial in preventing dehydration in dogs, who lack sweat glands, making them susceptible to health issues from excessive water loss. Additionally, canine skin stores numerous nutrients such as proteins, amino acids, collagen fibres, and enzymes. Protein, fundamental for skin and coat health, accounts for approximately 35% of a dog’s protein consumption.
Essential fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid, confer flexibility and reduce inflammation, are retained in the skin. Unlike humans, dogs cannot synthesise Vitamin D through skin but must ingest it. Minerals—zinc, copper, selenium, manganese—are abundant in canine skin, supporting various biochemical reactions. Vitamins A and E, beneficial for cellular function and antioxidative action, respectively, may be conserved in the skin, while water-soluble B vitamins, though present, aren’t stored there.
The Role of Anti-Inflammatory Foods in Managing Skin Inflammation in Dogs
For both humans and canines, the later stages of life bring about detrimental physiological changes, one of which is the upregulation of the inflammatory response. This surge in inflammation and concurrent increase in oxidative damage leads to various pathologies connected to chronic inflammation, a phenomenon known as inflammageing (1). This process not only accelerates aging but also leads to immunosenescence in dogs, just as in humans (2, 3).
Inflammation is the root cause of numerous chronic diseases, including skin conditions, diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome, among others. It has been found that diets rich in saturated fats (long chain saturated fatty acids) are a contributing factor to a state of chronic inflammation, impacting overall health, longevity, and mood (7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
Typically, animal-sourced foods like full-fat dairy products, red meat, and poultry are major dietary sources of long chain saturated fatty acids. However, the dietary balance of macronutrients, micronutrients, and the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids can significantly influence the expression of inflammatory genes.
Viewing anti-inflammatory nutrition through the lens of gene silencing technology, especially concerning genes associated with silent inflammation, is revolutionary. It’s crucial to incorporate supplemental omega-3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), to bolster an anti-inflammatory diet.
A colourful diet, rich in vegetables, ensures an adequate intake of polyphenols, helping not just to inhibit nuclear factor (NF)-κB, the primary molecular target of inflammation, but also to activate AMP kinase, thus adjusting various metabolic and cellular pathways (3, 4, 5, 6, 8). These polyphenols and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables are known for their strong anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities, as evidenced by multiple studies (7, 8).
Giulia Alessandri et al.’s recent study (9) indicates that a meat-based diet might not offer sufficient protection against inflammatory activity in the canine gut. Hence, providing your dog with a diet loaded with anti-inflammatory components not only slows the inflammageing process but also enhances their general wellbeing by reducing inflammation.
Bonza’s unique PhytoPlus® is a scientifically devised mixture of anti-inflammatory components and polyphenols, each contributing distinct activities that support inflammation reduction and optimal health and longevity for dogs.
Anti-Inflammatory Food Ingredients Beneficial for Dog’s Skin
Olive Oil Extract: Olive oil, particularly extra-virgin varieties, contains oleocanthal, a compound found to inhibit inflammatory enzymes similarly to ibuprofen. Other potent anti-inflammatory compounds in olive oil include Oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol (1, 2, 3).
Pineapple: Rich in Bromelain, an enzyme that digests proteins, pineapple is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Studies indicate its efficacy in reducing pain and swelling in conditions like knee osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome (1,2, 3).
Kale and Spinach: These leafy greens are packed with anti-inflammatory carotenoids. Kale is particularly rich in sulforaphane, which research shows can reduce cytokine levels, thus fighting inflammation (1,2, 3).
Reishi Mushroom: Reishi mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and compounds like phenols that combat inflammation. They’re a source of selenium and contain compounds like β-glucans known for heart health properties (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
Turmeric: Famed for its curcumin content, turmeric can suppress many molecules that contribute to inflammation. It’s effective in reducing inflammation associated with various diseases (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51).
Seaweed (Algae) and Seaweed (Algal) Extract: Seaweed sourced DHAgold™ is rich in anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds. These compounds are effective in managing chronic inflammation-related diseases (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Omega-3 (Microalgae): Microalgae are a vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help manage and reduce inflammation (3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
L-carnitine: L-carnitine helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation .
Lycopene: A powerful antioxidant, lycopene can reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative cell damage.
Astaxanthin: Astaxanthin, found in certain algae and seafood, is a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
Plant-based Anti-inflammatory Food For Dog’s Skin
Bonza vegan dog food contains more anti-inflammatory ingredients all designed to prevent the effects inflammation can have on your dog’s health.Our seaweed (algae) sourced DHAgold™ contains a number of anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) including DHA, EPA and DPA, chlorophyll a, β-carotene, astaxanthin and fucoxanthin, and as dietary ingredients, their extracts have shown to be effective in chronic inflammation-linked metabolic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and arthritis (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
The majority of skin issues dogs suffer from have inflammation as a primary symptom. Reducing the inflammation through a diet high in anti-inflammatory ingredients is key to reducing the symptoms, and discomfort, your dog is experiencing.
Bonza anti-inflammatory vegan dog food, includes 36 high quality ingredients you know and trust, carefully selected for their synergistic anti-inflammatory activity.
Elevate your dog’s food beyond simple nutrition by feeding them the best anti-inflammatory dog food you can.