The skin and its role in overall health
We often don’t think of our pet’s skin the same way we do about their heart or lungs, organs that are ‘important.’ But unfortunately, dismissing the importance of skin health is unintentionally short-sighted.
It is true of humans. Our skin conveys a great deal about our health. Furthermore, many serious health issues get evidenced by changes to the skin. The reason we don’t practice general diagnosis on the skin is thanks to our ability to explain what we feel.
Our kitties and pups don’t enjoy the same ability and rely on us to care for their health. But why is skin health the best indicator of good health or potential health risks for our pets?
Why your pet’s skin is a great indicator of health
There are tens of thousands of general health problems that mammals can experience. Many, if not most, affect the organs or subdermal tissue. It makes it hard to know when something is wrong with our pets.
Furthermore, such diseases often have to reach a serious or life-threatening stage before there are any symptoms one would easily notice. That is unless we pay close attention to our pet’s skin.
There are several reasons why a disease can affect skin health. However, the primary reasons we see in pets involve either a direct symptom of a disease or a secondary symptom caused by nutritional problems related to a disease.
Then, naturally, skin conditions exist as the disease itself. So let’s unpack these primary reasons to understand better why skin health is so important.
The way internal health issues can affect your pet’s skin
As we know, many diseases can have a secondary or knock-on effect on our pet’s skin. A great example of this is Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a congenital disease where the adrenal glands become overactive.
So, we have a primary disease. It takes place in the adrenal glands. In a sense, the impact it has on your pet is happenstance or secondary. Even though there is no skin disease, Hypothyroidism creates a skin problem.
Such problems are often serious. In this case, your pet may experience dry, scaly, and thickened skin, alongside hair loss. And that brings us to the problem of compounded infections.
When skin is damaged, it invites new infections to take hold. It is why it is so important that one seek early diagnosis. However, it is very much a case of rather being safe than sorry.
Skin problems that are the result of nutritional imbalances
Here we have an even more challenging list of potential health problems than those directly caused by a disease. So, we all know about healthy nutrition and what our pets need. However, in cases of severe neglect, one can see how poor nutrition impacts a pet’s skin.
Most of us here would never let our pets miss a meal, so how can they still develop nutrition-related skin problems? Well, diseases commonly take resources from the body. It is less impactful when the disease results from a dysfunctional or damaged organ. The biggest culprits are parasites and viral or bacterial infections.
As these diseases grow and reproduce, they depend exclusively on your pet’s nutrient stores. In effect, they eat a percentage of your dog’s food. Unfortunately, that is after your dog has spent the energy digesting it. In the case of some parasites, they do steal food directly as it enters the body.
The effect on the rest of the body is the same as that of neglect. So many nutrients your pet needs don’t get where they are needed. In this way, diseases cause serious skin problems, even though they are nowhere near the skin.
The next major cause for concern is diseases that affect one or more organs or other tissue. As your pet fights an infection, many of the available resources in their body get used.
There is a tipping point where there are simply not enough resources to go around, and the skin almost always suffers first. It’s speculative, but their body may decide that the skin is the least dangerous part of said body to deprive of resources in the short term.
Either way, this opens the floodgates to many diseases. Cracked or natural areas are a haven for infections, such as those caused by viruses and bacteria. Furthermore, some of these infections might not be epidermal.
Instead, such disease-causing pathogens find these floodgates a very convenient way to enter the body.
The risks of chronic or long-term inflammation
From there, they face far fewer obstacles in infecting the body. Such infections also trigger an inflammation response. That alone is the cause of many potential health risks.
Chronic inflammation creates all the conditions cancer requires to start multiplying. They may even act as a catalyst for the initial formation of cancer cells as they rip and tear through cells, attempting to kill the offending pathogens.
DNA can get damaged during this process, which is a key component in treating cancer. But unfortunately, we cannot prevent it because our pets need their inflammation response to fight infections.
We could use steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as cortisone. It would, for the most part, disable the inflammation response. However, neutralizing this immune response would present a greater danger.
Various hitherto dormant infections and new pathogens are free to replicate without being ripped apart by inflammation. So, of course, the best medicine is to avoid things that may cause inflammation. But it’s possible to avoid every inflammation-causing disease your pet may contract.
A way to mitigate diseases and their effect on your pet’s skin
An often forgotten property of our pet’s diet directly impacts the issue. We are hyper-aware of extruded pet food’s serious risks and why we must prepare meats correctly. But unfortunately, we pay little to no attention to pH levels and how that impacts our pet’s health.
The pH-focused diet aims to change the body’s intracellular pH to the ideal ratio of 7.3/7.41. But how does this change the body’s response to disease and avert impact on the skin?
The alkaline diet
The alkaline diet includes food that isn’t necessary for a dog’s survival, instead focussing on their overall health. Therefore such diets include vegetables and other ingredients that impact your pet’s pH level.
It is a direct approach to ensure your beloved pup is in the best possible condition to face the diseases that impact their skin. But unfortunately, this diet doesn’t work quite the same with cats.
Despite the health benefits, cats are obligate carnivores, and meat commonly has a lower pH, averaging about 5.2/5.6. Hence their digestive system is better adapted to a slightly more acidic diet.
The alkaline diet consists of a diet of 60% alkaline-forming foods and 40% acid-forming foods. The reason that it makes such an impact on our dog’s health is once again about inflammation.
If the inflammation response in your pup’s body operates at peak performance, It largely only acts under the appropriate conditions. It is not because acidity directly impacts the immune response.
Rather, the clear distinction between intracellular pH and that of invading pathogens makes for a clearer distinction. Moreover, it incidentally leads to less unnecessary inflammation and a more focused immune response.
The health benifits
The key to many health problems affecting the skin is inflammation. Should we dive into the effect that a healthier pH has on the immune system, there are hundreds of additional health benefits.
These include a healthier coat, decreased joint pains, less lethargy, and a long-term benefit to all the affected bodily functions.
Naturally, we encounter even more potential health benefits if we explore the improved immune response. Such benefits include fewer infections, less severe symptoms, and a better functioning immune system.
Moreover, it resonates with the VONDIs philosophy of promoting good health naturally.
The pH-based diet also helps combat joint conditions and general itchiness. It also promotes metbolic health, along with many other health benefits. Should a veterinarian diagnose your pup with any of the conditions discussed, please consult us.
We strive to aid pet parents in getting their pets back to good health. After all, you want them to have more than just a long life. As a pet parent, you want them to enjoy a long, healthy, happy life!
In exploring the reasons behind skin health problems, why find that many common conditions we see in pets do not result from an epidermal disease. Rather, they are secondary symptoms of underlying health issues.
Such diseases are potentially very damaging to your pet’s health. The key is to catch a health issue early. Seeing your pup can’t explain how they feel.
That is where skin health is a huge aid in identifying such health issues. Their skin is like a reflection of what is going on inside. Hence, all you need is the knowledge to interpret what is there.
It is not a final diagnosis. Rather as a way for you to catch health problems before they become more serious. The prognosis is always better, and the problem gets nipped in the bud.
We have also explored the relationship between skin conditions, infections, inflammation, and cancer. So it is a group of interconnected health issues that can lead to many different, very serious health problems.
The best way to counter the many conditions that affect how inflammation works, and vice versa, is through understanding the importance of intracellular pH levels. With an alkaline-based diet, one can mitigate serious health problems.
Understanding the many complex interactions and how they manifest helps us understand how to give our pets the best chance at living more than just a long life. AT VONDIs, we promote the holistic approach that results in your pets living a long, healthy, and happy life.
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