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June 03, 2021

Getting to Know Supplements: Natural Science Skin and Coat

by Dr. Cayla Iske, PhD

Natural Science Skin & Coat was formulated to help reduce inflammation and irritation of the skin and to aid in maintaining healthy haircoats in small mammals.  
 
While it may seem that healthy skin and coat are not atop the list of things to be concerned about, it is important to remember that the skin is one of the most important organs in the body and serves a variety of essential functions. Therefore, preventing and minimizing inflammation and irritation of the skin is important as it can mitigate larger health issues in addition to avoiding discomfort for your little one.  
 
Bathing of small animals is not typically recommended unless targeting a specific disease, so maintenance of the skin and coat comes almost entirely from the diet and balancing proper nutrients. 

Overview of Skin and Coat Health 

 Healthy skin and coat are not only important for appearance but serve an important function of protecting your pet.  

  • The haircoat and skin of an animal is the first line of defense in protection against outside environmental factors such as wind and sun and also against microorganisms like bacteria and toxins.  
  • Patchy fur, dry coat, and issues with the skin itself all make it more likely that potential pathogens will cause issues externally that could lead to more significant internal issues. 
  • As the largest organ in the body, the skin plays a vital role in providing a physical barrier as part of the immune system.  
  • Keeping the skin lubricated and free of inflammation also facilitates proper thermoregulation, maintaining hydration, and allows a healthier coat to develop and grow, so the skin and fur work in tandem to maintain each other in this way.  

Role of Diet 

Nutrition plays a huge role in the health of skin and coat, especially in small mammals. In lieu of water baths or topical applications, a complete and balanced diet including ample hydration is the best way to provide maintenance and support.  
 
Adequate dietary protein and proper amino acid balance allow for growth of strong, healthy fur and ample amounts of fiber allow the digestive tract to function properly.  
 
Fats and oils found in high-quality diets play a direct role in maintaining skin and coat health. In particular, omega fatty acids as well as other antioxidants support overall skin health and well-being by reducing swelling and inflammation of the skin to provide a healthy barrier and allow for growth of a shiny, strong coat.  
 
Dietary imbalances and/or underlying medical issues often times first manifest as changes in the haircoat or skin appearing as a thin, dull coat or flaky skin. This serves as a good indicator for pet parents, so it is important to always monitor the health and appearance of their pet’s skin. 

Could My Pet Benefit from Natural Science Skin & Coat? 

Offering an appropriate diet (this includes hay, pellets, greens/veggies, treats, water, and supplements) is the single most important health decision any pet owner can make. A well-balanced diet including ample amounts of fiber from hay, hydration from fresh free choice water, micronutrients from a uniform pellet, and powerful antioxidants from fresh produce is the basis for supporting your pet’s overall health and wellbeing.  
 
Even with a proper diet, there are times when animals benefit from a specific supplement tailored towards skin and coat health.  This may include: 

  • History of skin/hair coat issues 
  • Allergies 
  • Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) 
  • Any condition causing pruritus (itchy skin) 
  • Bacterial or fungal infection affecting the skin 
  • Alopecia (hair loss) 
  • Dull, dry hair coat 
  • Skin mites 

Because skin and coat issues are commonly the result of underlying health concerns, it is imperative that you work with your veterinarian if you observe any of these symptoms. They should perform a full physical examination and possibly additional skin tests to try and determine root causes and best treatments, which may include Natural Science Skin & Coat to help alleviate these issues.

Is Natural Science Skin & Coat Appropriate for Omnivores? 

Skin and coat issues can occur in all small mammal species and our Skin & Coat supplement can support omnivores as well as herbivores. A balanced and high-quality diet including plenty of supplemental proteins and fats is vital for small omnivores such as rats, micehamsters, and gerbils but Natural Science Skin & Coat will fit nicely into their diet when appropriate and under the guidance of your veterinarian. 

Ingredient Functionality 

Our Skin & Coat supplement was formulated specifically for small mammals, so it is hay-based, high in fiber, and avoids high starch, sugary ingredients that are inappropriate for the unique digestive systems of these species. It was also formulated to include a large diversity of natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients to reduce swelling and promote overall health to maintain your pet’s skin and coat. 

Ingredient Nutrient Function

Timothy  

Grass 

Insoluble Fiber  Promotes a healthy gastrointestinal tract to maintain overall health 

Flaxseed 

Meal 

Omega Fatty Acids Anti-inflammatory to maintain soft fur and healthy skin 
Chamomile 

Terpenoids  

& Flavonoids 

Anti-inflammatory with anti-allergic properties to help reduce itching and scratching 

Brewer’s Dried  

Yeast 

Manna Oligosaccharide  

(MOS) 

Acts as a prebiotic and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria for whole body health 
Palm Oil* 

Omega Fatty Acids  

& Beta Carotene 

Antioxidative properties to help fight against cell damage and support overall healthy skin and coat 
Canola Oil  Omega Fatty Acids  Anti-inflammatory to mitigate swelling and promote healthy skin and coat 

*We utilize a Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Fair-Trade Certified source of palm oil to ensure ingredient sustainability and environmental protection. 

Daily Feeding Recommendations 

Herbivores (rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, etc.) 

  • 1/2 to 2 tabs daily (varies by weight) 

Omnivores  

  • 1/8 tablet daily for smaller species such as dwarf hamsters and mice 
  • 1/4 tablet daily for larger species such as Syrian hamsters, gerbils, and rats 

Supplement FAQs 

There are many questions that come to mind when considering adding supplements to your little one’s diet. You should work with your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s overall health as well as any medications they may be taking as they can factor into this decision. When evaluating the use of Oxbow’s Natural Science supplements either for the short or long-term refer to our supplement FAQ blog to answer some common questions.