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Best skin and coat supplements for dogs

Testing the best skin and coat supplements for dogs 📷: Sara Ondrako

Supplements can help to keep your dog’s coat soft and lustrous and their skin healthy. They aid in relieving dry skin and itchiness and can make a world of difference for pups that suffer from allergies. With so many products on the market, it can be tough to determine which one is best for your dog’s specific needs. To help, our team tested some of the most popular dog skin and coat supplements against the following criteria: ingredients, consistency, palatability, smell, packaging, and safety.

Skin and coat supplements we love

Our top pick

Native Pet Omega Oil is fantastic for dogs that suffer from dry, itchy skin caused by environmental factors and allergies. Your pup will love the taste of this limited ingredient pick, and you’ll love their glorious, soft coat. As an added bonus, it’s easy to give to your dog: All you have to do is pump the recommended amount directly onto their kibble!

  • Ingredients. Native Pet Omega Oil contains safe and beneficial ingredients, including wild-caught pollock and salmon oil, wheat germ oil, and biotin. It can help treat itchiness, dermatitis, and even hair loss.
  • Consistency. This product is consistent throughout.
  • Palatability. Giving this supplement to your dog is as easy as it is beneficial. Our dogs absolutely loved the taste.
  • Smell. Although some people may not enjoy the way fish oil smells, our tester dogs went bonkers for it!
  • Packaging. This well-packaged product comes in a plastic bottle and has a pump-style lid, making it very easy to add to your dog’s food.
  • Safety. Native Pet Omega Oil doesn’t come with any serious side effect warnings, but please note that it’s for animal use only.  

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish is a big fan of Native Pet Omega Oil. She really likes that it’s made with limited ingredients, without any unnecessary fluff or fillers. She also said that wild-caught fish oil is a better choice than farmed because it’s more sustainable and contains higher concentrations of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Best chicken chew

Zesty Paws Omega Bites are a delicious way to improve your pooch’s overall health. They contain ingredients that help to relieve hot spots and dry, itchy skin while supporting joint health, immune system function, and cardiovascular well-being. It’s important to note, though, that these chews contain natural chicken flavoring as opposed to real chicken.

  • Ingredients. Zesty Paws Omega Bites contain pollock oil, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and biotin, a great combination of ingredients.
  • Consistency. These chews are consistent in size and shape.
  • Palatability. This supplement is highly palatable. The dogs loved ‘em!
  • Smell. The dogs loved the meaty smell of these chews.
  • Packaging. This product comes in a sealed plastic container with a screw-on lid.
  • Safety. Though Zesty Paws Omega Bites do contain palm oil, they’re safe for pups.

What our vet thinks

Our veterinarian Dr. Irish likes this product from Zesty Paws. As a company, they have a great track record, positive reviews, and a fantastic list of ingredients. That said, she did note the addition of palm fruit oil, which can act as a laxative.

Our biotin-filled pick

Pet Parents Omega Skin & Coat chews are made with fish oil that’s manufactured by Epax, an FDA-regulated company that produces oils for human consumption. In addition to fish oil, these chews are packed with other healthful ingredients that combat itchy, dry skin and help to promote a gleaming, healthy coat. Dogs find these chews so delicious they’ll think they’re actually getting a treat!

  • Ingredients. These chews are made with a quality blend of EPA- and DHA-rich fish oil, kelp, Alaskan salmon oil, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, and biotin. They also contain nutrient-rich inactive ingredients like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots.
  • Consistency. These chews are consistent in size and shape.
  • Palatability. Our tester dogs really liked the flavor of these supplements, making them super easy to give to your pet.
  • Smell. These supplements were moderately smelly to us humans, but our tester pups seemed to like them.
  • Packaging. This product comes in a sealed plastic container that has a twist-off lid.
  • Safety. These soft chews are tested for pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella and E. Coli before being sealed in their air-tight packaging.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish likes that these chews contain EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids that benefit your pupper’s skin health. That said, she feels that some of the language on the packaging about where the product is made might be misleading.

Most affordable chew

Premium Care Omega Chews are full of the good stuff, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and C, and biotin. They’re also free of the stuff you don’t want, like artificial preservatives. These tasty chews promote a healthy, shiny coat while being enjoyable for your dog.

  • Ingredients. These chews contain healthy amounts of flaxseed, palm fruit oil, fish oil, sunflower lecithin, and oat flour.
  • Consistency. Premium Care chews are consistent in size and shape.
  • Palatability. Our tester dogs enjoyed the flavor of these chews.
  • Smell. This supplement has a moderate “grain” smell that dogs seemed interested in.
  • Packaging. These chews come in a sealed plastic container with a twist-off lid.
  • Safety. While these chews are safe for your dog, it’s worth noting that palm fruit oil can be toxic if ingested in large amounts. That said, the amount in this product isn’t enough to be of concern unless your dog has a palm fruit oil sensitivity.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish liked that this supplement includes biotin, which has been shown to help with dry, brittle fur and flaky coats, and vitamin E, which is a good vitamin in general. She cautions that palm fruit oil can have a laxative effect and could cause diarrhea, and she also fears that the lack of preservatives may result in a short shelf life.

Our organic pick

This skin and coat supplement from Natural Dog Company relieves dryness and itchiness and is a pleasure to give your pup. This pick is full of essential vitamins and minerals including biotin, which is excellent for maintaining a soft, shiny coat and healthy skin.

  • Ingredients. These chews are formulated to keep your dog’s fur shiny and smooth and relieve their itchy, dry skin. Some of our fav ingredients include DHAgold, organic hemp seed powder, chia seed, wild Alaskan salmon oil, and vitamins C, H, and E.
  • Consistency. These Natural Dog Company chews are consistent in size and shape.
  • Palatability. Our dogs really liked the flavor of these chews.
  • Smell. Like some of the other supplements we tested, these chews have a moderate “grain” smell that the dogs seemed to like. Our pups were definitely interested in these supplements.
  • Packaging. They come packaged in a sealed plastic container with a screw-on lid.
  • Safety. This product is safe and organic (though please see above for information about palm oil). Biotin is a good additive.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish is a fan of this product’s effective ingredients and found the addition of navy bean, which is a novel protein source, to be an interesting choice. She feels good about the company’s great track record and was pleased about the favorable reviews. She warns, though, that palm fruit oil could potentially cause diarrhea.

This veterinarian-developed powder combines a well-studied blend of balanced ingredients to relieve your doggie’s dry, itchy skin. The Missing Link Original Skin & Coat Powder contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. One thing to keep in mind is that this product is best kept in the fridge.

  • Ingredients. This powder was formulated by a reputable veterinarian. Some of the top ingredients include ground flaxseed, cane molasses, rice bran, dried yeast, sunflower seeds, and freeze-dried beef liver.
  • Consistency. This granular powder is consistent throughout.
  • Palatability. The dogs liked the powder’s taste.
  • Smell. The Missing Link Original Skin & Coat Powder has a mild smell, and our dogs were interested in the bag.
  • Packaging. This product is well-packaged and was fairly easy to reseal.
  • Safety. This veterinarian-formulated powder is safe for dogs.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish believes that this powder has a very flavorful blend of well-studied ingredients. She likes that it was formulated by a veterinarian and has favorable customer reviews. The one downside? It’s better to go with EPA and DHA for omega-3 supplementation, but this product only contains ALA and omega-6.

Our research process 

Why you should trust our reviews 

  • Dr. Erica Irish helped us formulate this list — Our veterinarian reviewed each and every product on this list herself to check for safety, effectiveness, and overall benefits. She helped us rank each of these supplements and shared her likes and dislikes about each one.
  • We ordered and paid for these products — None of these supplements were sponsored or gifted to us. Instead, our team absorbed the cost in order to be able to give each one an impartial review.
  • We sent them off with our product researcher to test in the field — We’re so fortunate to have Sara Ondrako, our very own product review expert, on our team. We sent each of these supplements to her to review with her dogs.

How we picked 

We searched high and low for the most popular skin and coat supplements for dogs on marketplaces such as Amazon and Chewy. Then, with the help of Dr. Irish, we narrowed down our list, focusing on safe ingredients and products from reputable brands. Once our veterinarian and product reviewer had a chance to test each product, they helped us establish which one had the highest ranking in all of our established criteria. This product is the one we lovingly referred to as our “top pick.”

At first glance

On paper, here’s a glance at how the products stack up against each other when it comes to flavor, amount, and price per ounce or chew.

Product Flavor Amount (in ounces or total chews) Price per ounce/chew*
Native Pet Omega Oil Fish 8 ounces $1.50
Pet Parents Skin & Coat Salmon 90 chews $0.28
Premium Care Omega Chews Salmon 120 chews $0.21
Natural Dog Company Skin & Coat Salmon and peas 90 chews $0.28
Zesty Paws Omega Bites Chicken 90 chews $0.30
The Missing Link Powder N/A 16 ounces $0.74

*price at the time of our review

How we tested these products

We worked with Dr. Irish, our veterinarian, and Sara, our expert product reviewer, to determine the most important criteria for skin and coat supplements for dogs. We ultimately decided on the following:

  • Ingredients. We examined the ingredients in these supplements to identify exactly what made them beneficial to your dog’s skin and coat health.
  • Consistency. It’s helpful to have different options to try. We tested products with three different consistencies: chews, liquid, and powder.
  • Palatability. Of course taste matters! While you know that these products are all skin and coat supplements, your doggo thinks it’s treat time every time they get to enjoy the delicious flavor!
  • Smell. Dogs rely on their sense of smell for so many things, so if something smells off-putting to them, they’re not going to want to eat it. The dogs really liked the way each of these supplements smelled.
  • Packaging. Freshness is important, and the way a product is packaged makes a difference.
  • Safety. We take safety seriously, so this criterion was a must. We wanted to make sure these supplements didn’t contain any toxic ingredients.

What else should pet parents consider?

Does your dog need a coat and skin supplement?

Most of the time, your dog probably doesn’t need a skin supplement. As long as your healthy pup is eating a well-balanced diet of high-quality commercial dog food, they’re probably getting all the nutrients they need.

But, if your dog has vitamin deficiencies or health conditions, skin supplements can give them an extra boost to heal their dry skin and dull coat. If your dog’s coat looks dull, consult your veterinarian to determine if one of the above supplements could help.

How to use skin supplements and what to expect

For dogs with persistent skin issues, it’s best to give them supplements daily. These supplements are also most effective for pets with mild skin and coat issues, like occasional irritation or a dull coat during certain times of the year. If your dog has chronic skin issues like a rash or wound that isn’t getting better, talk with your veterinarian. They’ll help conduct the necessary tests to rule out environmental allergies, food allergies, bacterial infections, and more.

A well-rounded diet is still key

Supplements are one way to improve your dog’s skin and coat. But dogs need to regularly eat nutritious meals to stay in tip-top shape.

Dog supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA

No organization oversees the pet supplement market, so pet parents need to be diligent. Only buy from reputable companies and stay far away from any that claim to “cure” your dog’s ailments. You can also check for the NASC Quality Seal, which means they’ve undergone an independent quality assessment.

Types of doggie skin supplements

There are different types of skin and coat supplements out there to suit your dog’s preferences. Some are easy to mix into food, while others are better given as a single treat.

  • Chews. Supplement chews are just another soft dog treat, just with extra vitamins and minerals.
  • Tablets. This option can be snuck into soft treats so your dog doesn’t suspect a thing.
  • Powders. Powders are easy to mix into kibble, food, and water.
  • Liquids. Liquid supplements can be dribbled onto kibble, or you can use a dropper to place a few drops in your dog’s mouth.

Common ingredients found in skin supplements for dogs

Some of the most common ingredients found in skin and coat supplements for pups are listed below. Read on for additional information about the benefits of each for your dog:

Fish oil

Fish oil is a popular ingredient in most skin supplements because it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s naturally aid and support the skin and are essential to a dog’s health. Canine studies have found that they support cardiovascular and dermatological functions and even decrease pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis.

Like fish oil, krill oil contains fatty acids and is another option to try.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are natural molecules that dogs need to fight off toxins and are found in most skin and coat supplements. They offer many benefits to our canine friends, including healthy skin and a shiny coat. Many dog-friendly foods, like blueberries, blackberries, carrots, and sweet potatoes, contain antioxidants.

B vitamins like B6 and B12

Sometimes it’s necessary for pet parents to supplement their doggo’s diet to ensure optimal health. Dogs can’t synthesize vitamin B, which supports the development of cells and helps dogs absorb protein and fat. Vitamin B benefits the heart and immune system, and also helps with skin health, relieving itchiness for dogs that suffer from allergies or dry skin.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that’s found in most skin and coat supplements. Vitamin E not only relieves itchiness but also helps your pup to look and feel like they’ve just spent a day at the salon. Salmon is rich in vitamin E, and, as you may have noticed, salmon and salmon oil are top ingredients in many of our chosen skin and coat supplements.

Biotin

Yummy sunflower seeds and sweet potatoes are good sources of biotin, a very important B vitamin. Skin and coat supplements often include biotin because it produces amazing results for dogs that suffer from allergies. It helps dogs to synthesize fatty acids and works to relieve many skin conditions, including a dull coat, brittle hair, loss of hair, scaly skin, itchiness, and dermatitis.

Ingredients to avoid

There are many beneficial ingredients that promote healthy skin that are great for dogs, but there are also a couple that should be avoided. Just because they’re in a product made for dogs, doesn’t guarantee they’re safe.

  • Coconut oil. While coconut oil is often used in supplements, it may increase your dog’s risk of developing pancreatitis, making this an ingredient to avoid when picking a supplement for your pup.
  • Xylitol. Xylitol should be avoided at all costs, as it’s highly toxic to dogs. Surprisingly, xylitol sometimes sneaks past us in foods like peanut butter because the label says “naturally sweetened.” Even very small amounts can be extremely harmful to pups.

Tips for choosing a coat supplement

Choosing the right supplement for your pup is no easy task. Below are some vet-approved tips and tricks to help:

Always consult your vet — This should always be your first step before you introduce something new into your dog’s diet.

Less is more — The simpler the supplement, the better. Limited ingredients help to ensure your pet is getting all of the nutrients they need, and none of the filler and byproducts they don’t.

Look for NASC approval — The NASC Quality Seal identifies products from pet companies that are dedicated to quality, vigilance, and continuous improvement.

Keep in mind that oversupplementing is possible — Dr. Irish notes that oversupplementing can be a problem, especially if your dog is already getting enough nutrients in their daily diet.

Check labels closely — Don’t forget to always check the ingredient list before starting your pooch on a supplement, especially if your dog has food allergies. Any food allergy can throw off a dog’s skin health.

How to know what your dog’s coat is telling you 

A healthy dog’s coat looks thick and shiny (but not greasy). Here are signs to look for that indicate your dog’s coat could use some help:

  • Flaky skin
  • Dry, brittle hair
  • Hair loss
  • Hot spots
  • Chewing
  • Dull coat
  • Greasy skin
  • Bald spots

What causes skin problems in dogs?

  • Dandruff. Most of the time, dandruff is caused by seasonal changes, but it can also be a sign of underlying health conditions like parasites and allergies.
  • Seasonal allergies. Your pooch can have allergies in response to seasonal changes, like fresh grass and tree pollen. Seasonal allergies are another type of environmental allergy.
  • Food allergies. Dogs are sometimes allergic to proteins like beef and chicken. Food allergies lead to symptoms like itchy skin and paws, rashes, and red eyes.
  • Fungal and bacterial infections. Infections like ringworm cause all kinds of skin problems in dogs and need to be treated by a veterinarian.
  • Flea allergies. Flea saliva causes intense itchiness in dogs, and some dogs will experience a severe allergic reaction. A dog can show an allergic reaction after just one flea bite.
  • A lack of mental stimulation or stress. Sometimes dogs will excessively lick or chew themselves because they’re stressed or bored.

Other ways to help your dog’s coat shine

Incorporating a skin and coat supplement into your pup’s diet is one way to help improve the luster of their coat, but it’s not the only thing you can do to help. Some additional tactics to try are listed below:

Bathe and groom your dog regularly — How often you groom and bathe your dog will depend on their breed and overall health, but regular grooming sessions allow you to keep them looking and feeling fresh.

Speak to your vet about problems you see — Address skin issues with your vet as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will figure out what’s causing your dog’s skin problem and create a plan to treat it.

Ensure you’re feeding your dog a high-quality diet — If your dog is missing important vitamins and minerals, their skin and coat will show it.

Frequently asked questions

What supplement is good for my dog’s skin and coat?

Since each pooch has individual needs, what works for one may not work for another. A great way to determine which supplement is best for your dog is to identify their specific issues and then choose a supplement that targets that problem.

How can I improve my dog’s skin and coat?

From brushing and bathing to flea and tick prevention, there are lots of ways to improve your dog’s skin and coat. Proper nutrition is also very important for the overall health of your fur baby. Sometimes dogs need extra help to combat allergies and dry skin, and that’s where supplements can really help.

What supplements do vets recommend for dogs?

Glucosamine (for joints), fish oil (for skin), antioxidants (for overall health), and probiotics (for intestinal health) are among the most popular supplements for our canine companions.

Does salmon oil improve a dog’s coat?

Salmon oil is an incredible supplement for your pupper. It’s rich in healthful omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help to provide relief from allergies and itching while promoting a soft, shiny coat. It’s no wonder so many of the supplements on our list contain this amazing ingredient!

Can dogs take biotin?

Biotin is not only safe for dogs but also very good for them! It’s a water-soluble vitamin, which means it absorbs into the body once it dissolves. It’s important to note that daily supplements are necessary. Biotin offers many benefits for our furry friends, including healthy skin and hair, as well as liver, brain, and nervous system health.