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Supplements for Skin

November 9, 2015

Before I begin, I want to remind everyone about the responsible use of supplements.  Supplements can cause negative side effects if used improperly therefore it is important to communicate with your veterinarian before starting a supplement for your pet. 


So here we go! We are off and running with our supplement series.  Our first topic will be about skin, covering the more widely used oral and topical remedies for certain dermatological ailments.


Aloe: The use of pure aloe vera can be used topically on superficial wounds to provide cooling, comfort, and accelerate the healing process.  Current research suggests that aloe provides moisture and a collagen framework for wounds to heal.  Aloe is safe to be ingested in case your dog or cat licks their wounds.


Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has risen in popularity and is widely used in topical skin preparations as well as in cooking.  Coconut oil contains a high content of medium chain triglycerides which are naturally resistant to oxidizing, a process that degrades fats into troublesome by-products.  Coconut oil can be applied topically to the skin as a moisturizer or as a potential antimicrobial.  It can also be taken orally to strengthen the skin if fish oil is not tolerated.

Dose: ¼ tsp per 10 pounds twice daily


Fish Oil: Fish oil is the preferred source of essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) for dogs and cats. They lack the ability to convert other sources of fatty acids (such as flax seed) into the active components EPA and DHA that are needed.  EPA and DHA reduce the inflammatory process and also strengthen/moisturize the integumentary system (skin, hair, nails).  The primary uses of EPA and DHA for our patients for skin support would be for general health and wellness, allergic/inflammatory skin disease (i.e. atopy/eczema) and autoimmune skin disease (i.e. pemphigus, lupus)

Dose: 300 mg of EPA/DHA per 10 pounds body weight per day


Honey: Honey has been shown to be a natural wound healer.  Applied topically to superficial wounds, it enhances the healing process and is naturally antimicrobial.  Also it is safe if ingested by dogs or cats.


Melatonin: Dogs, certain breed in particular, can develop a seasonal or pattern baldness.  If it has been established that the hair loss is not due to skin or hormonal disease, melatonin can be supplemented for hair re-growth.  It generally takes months to see a response.

Dose: 3-12 mg 2-3 times daily (depending on the size of the dog)


Niacinamide (Nicotinamide): This is a water soluble vitamin part of the B group.  It helps to regulate the immune system in the face of autoimmune dermatological disease.  For full effect, this supplement is typically combined with a tetracycline antibiotic, which also has immunomodulatory properties.   It is given for months at a time. Common uses for this supplement would be for dogs with vasculitis of the ear margins and symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy (SLO) which leads to painful and damaged nails.

Dose: 100-500 mg three times daily (depending on the size of the dog)


Traumeel: Traumeel is a widely available OTC topical cream or gel used for pain and inflammation.  It contains ingredients such as arnica and calendula to provide relief from conditions such as bruising and swelling.  It can also be applied topically for ear margin vasculitis.  It would be best to apply in areas that your dog or cat cannot reach.


Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects and repairs the skin.  Vitamin E oil can be used topically to superficial wounds and sores.  It can also be applied to your pets’ nose if it becomes dry and cracked.  Oral Vitamin E is used in combination with other supplements and medications for autoimmune disorders such as SLO.

Dose: 200-800 IU per day (dose depending on weight)


Up next: Supplements for Digestive Health


Written by: Dr. Jen Seidl

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