7 Best Dog Foods for Coat and Skin

Best Dog Foods for Coat and Skin

Every pet parent loves spending time with their furry canine babies. The tingling sensation that comes with stroking your dog’s fur is heavenly. However, a rough coat can be a put-off. A soft coat and smooth skin play a key role during bonding time. 

Your dog’s coat and skin are the most important parts of its body as they determine your dog’s physical appearance. A dull coat and rough skin make a dog appear unhealthy, while a soft, lustrous, and shiny coat displays a healthy dog.

Coat and skin problems are common, and your dog can encounter them at one stage in life. You should, however, not worry since these problems can be treated. Medical care helps with skin problems. But the right diet can be the only thing your dog needs for a brilliant coat and admirable skin.

Choosing the best food for coat and skin can be exhausting and confusing. This is because many pet food manufacturers are claiming to have the right diet for skin and coat problems.  Do not be swayed by marketing gimmicks. Proper research is vital. We have made it easier for you through our thorough analysis of the best dog foods for coat and skin.

Choosing the correct formula is crucial as it helps with allergies, tummy upsets, and weight management. A well-fed dog is always happy.

What are the properties of the best dog foods for coat and skin?

Unlike other dog foods, foods for coat and skin health foods have unique attributes that match your dog’s unique needs. Here are some key properties of the best dog food for coat and skin:

  • Protein is great for your dog’s coat and skin. Proteins are the building blocks of cells, tissues, and muscles. Hair is made up of approximately 95% protein. Low or poor protein intake is also harmful to the skin as it makes it less supple and thinner. For maximum benefits, the first ingredient should be a real and recognizable protein source. Animal protein is the best. Real meat including beef, turkey, salmon, and chicken provides high-quality proteins. The first five ingredients are key as they make up a large percentage of your food. The more protein sources in the list of the main ingredients, the better it is for your dog’s coat and skin.
  • Fats are critical in the best foods for coat and skin. Fats are sources of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids which help brighten and soften the coat and skin. Animal fat sources including chicken fat and salmon oil are great. However, plant sources like flaxseed and coconut oil also provide omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties which help calm itchy skin. Although fats are excellent for coat and skin wellness, care should be taken as lots of fats are recipes for obesity. Serve fats moderately, especially in dogs that are prone to obesity. A fatty diet also leads to pancreatitis. 
  • A diet with lots of vitamins is ideal for coat and skin health. Look for vitamins like vitamins A, C, D, E, and K. real fruits and vegetables including carrots, spinach, blueberries, and cranberries provide healthy vitamins. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A for skin and coat wellness. Vitamins C and E protect the skin against infections and inflammation, while vitamins D and K protect the skin against aging as a result of too much sun and protect the collagen in the body.
  • Minerals are vital for coat and skin health. Minerals help with the maximum absorption of nutrients. Zinc is important for the breakdown of proteins and fats into amino acids and energy, while copper helps with skin pigmentation. Calcium and phosphorus support bone and muscle health for firm skin tissue. 
  • Water is also key to coat and skin health. Water moisturizes the skin. For dry foods, ensure your dog has access to clean water at all times.
  • Supplements including probiotics and prebiotics are best for the skin as they reduce inflammation and fight off bacteria that cause skin issues.

What causes skin and coat problems?

Skin and coat problems result from various causes. Below are the most common causes:

  • Food allergies: Food allergies cause skin irritations. Increased itching on the face, ears, anus and feet are the major symptoms of food allergies. Common food allergens include dairy, chicken, beef, eggs, wheat, soy, and corn. A limited ingredient diet helps with food allergies. Go for novel protein sources including lamb and rabbit. An elimination diet also helps with food allergies. 
  • Environmental allergies: Itching around the face, stomach, feet, and face may indicate an environmental allergy. An environmental allergy occurs when your dog is in contact with the allergen. Some of the common environmental allergens include pollen, grass, and dust mites. Injections, shampoos, and tablets relieve environmental allergies.
  • Folliculitis: This is when your dog’s hair follicles are inflamed. It is commonly caused by other underlying skin conditions like mange. It is characterized by sores, bumps, and scabs over the skin. Antibacterial ointments, shampoos, and antibiotics help with folliculitis.
  • Ringworm: This is characterized by crusty circular patches on your dog’s head, ears, paws, and front legs. You may notice redness in the skin as a result of continuous scratching. The topical treatment destroys the fungus that causes ringworm.
  • Yeast infections: The skin thickens thus causing itchiness and increased desire to bite the skin. Washes, topical creams, and tablets reduce the effects of yeast infection.
  • Ticks and fleas: Ticks and fleas bite your dog leading to constant scratching of the bitten area. This causes inflammation and redness. In severe cases, the fur may fall out.

What are the human foods that support coat and skin wellness?

Although table scraps are harmful to your dog, there are other human foods that help with coat and skin health. You can prepare homemade dog food for your dog or look out for these foods in the ingredients list. Real and wholesome foods are the best for skin and coat wellness. Listed below are some healthy foods you can serve your dog for a beautiful coat and lustrous skin:

  • Carrots: Carrots have lots of benefits for your dog. Their crunchy texture helps remove plaque and tartar, and they are excellent sources of fiber for digestive health. It also contains beta-carotene for improved vision. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A which repairs damaged cells and minimizes skin irritations. 
  • Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a powerhouse of antioxidants. In addition, they contain vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, iron, zinc, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium. They have a special omega fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid and have no gluten. The high levels of omegas in these tiny seeds help moisturize the skin and reduce inflammation. Add the seeds to your dog’s dry food and restore your dog’s healthy coat and skin.
  • Carob: Carob is rich in minerals including phosphorus, calcium, potassium, iron, and niacin. In addition, it is jam-packed with vitamins like vitamins A, B1, and B2. It also contains natural sugars. The optimal levels of vitamin E in Carob lower the risk of inflammation for healthy coats and skin. Carob is safe for your dog as it is free from harmful compounds like theobromine and oxalic acid. 
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a low-starch food. It contains minerals and vitamins including B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients work together to promote coat and skin health by supporting gastrointestinal wellness and removing toxins from the body. Oatmeal also helps with skin itchiness.
  • Liver: The liver from grass-fed animals is the best for coat and skin well-being. The liver is chock-full of nutrients. The nutrients include calcium, iron, copper, niacin, biotin, phosphorus, riboflavin, magnesium, folic acid, and thiamine. The high levels of vitamins include vitamins B6, B12, D, E, C, and A. All these important nutrients contribute to healthy skin. Chicken liver is an excellent source of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids.
  • Peanut Butter: Raw unsalted peanut butter is best for your dog. Peanut butter is rich in proteins, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B, and healthy fats. For more fun, you can stuff peanut butter in your dog’s toy. Avoid sugar-free options as they may have artificial sweeteners like xylitol.
  • Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a great way to combat skin yeast infections. This superfood has optimal levels of vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin A. Moreover, sweet potatoes are rich in calcium, potassium, folate, and iron. These are skin-friendly nutrients that protect the skin against inflammation and boost moisturization.
  • Cranberries: These superfoods are known for treating skin problems including eczema. This is due to their bioactive components including anthocyanins and ellagic acid. These components are antioxidants that work together to minimize the effects of allergies.
  • Yogurt: Plain yogurt is the best selection for the skin. It is rich in calcium, and protein, and has probiotics that support gastrointestinal health. The high levels of B vitamins moisturize, hydrate, and heal the skin. 
  • Cheese: If your dog can tolerate lactose, then cheese is a great option to boost skin and coat health. Go for low-fat cheese and serve moderately. Cottage cheese is great.

Common signs of skin and coat problems

The symptoms to look out for including the following:

  • Red, inflamed, sore skin, or rash.
  • Dry flaky skin.
  • Smelly weepy skin.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Coat color change.
  • Scaling, shedding, and hair loss.
  • Excessive licking and scratching.

What dog breeds are prone to coat and skin problems?

Coat and skin problems are common in all dogs. However, some breeds are more predisposed than others. Here are 7 dog breeds that are susceptible to coat and skin problems:

  • Standard Poodles.
  • Chinese Shar-Pei.
  • American Bulldogs.
  • Doberman Pinschers.
  • English Bulldog.
  • Labrador Retriever.
  • Pit Bull Terriers.

What are the top 5 brands for the best dog food for coat and skin?

There is a lot of competition among pet food manufacturers. Each brand claims to be the best. We have done the hard work for you by selecting the best dog food brands for itchy skin. They include:

  • Royal Canin.
  • Diamond Naturals
  • Blue Buffalo.
  • Instinct.
  • Nutro.

Prices vary depending on the brand you select. The average price for our 7 foods for coat and skin is $3.16 per pound with prices ranging from $1.37 per pound to $6.51 per pound. Your dog’s breed and life stage are key when selecting the right food for coat and skin. Large dogs have unique nutritional needs compared to small dogs. Puppies, adults, and seniors also have different nutritional requirements. Puppies are still growing and need high-energy foods. Here is a summary of the best dog foods for coat and skin:

Note: The prices quoted in this article are as of 7th June 2022.

Let’s dive in: 

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1. Royal Canin Sensitive Skin Dry Dog Food 

Formulated specifically for skin and coat health, this formula by Royal Canin offers complete nutrition to your dog. It minimizes the risks of skin sensitivities and dry coats.

The meal was first made available on November 1st, 2017, and it is gaining popularity among pet parents. This diet has DHA and EPA for cognitive wellness and mobility. 

The proteins in this meal are broken down into amino acids which gives your dog’s coat a brilliant appearance. Proteins are also great for cell, tissue, and muscle growth and development. 

The highly digestible proteins and smaller kibble size promote chewing and digestion for minimal risks of tummy upsets. For maximum benefits, supplement this recipe with wet food. This also improves taste to delight your finicky eater. Wet food also provides sufficient water to moisturize the skin and keep the coat shiny. Adding wet food also helps remove toxins from the body translating to a healthy coat and skin.

The daily intake is based on your dog’s activity levels and weight. For example, dogs weighing 11 pounds need a daily intake of ¾ cup for low activity, ⅞ cup for moderate activity, and 1 cup for high activity. A 5-7 day transition is perfect to minimize the risks of tummy upsets, allergies, and sensitivities.

  • First 5 Ingredients: Brewers Rice, Wheat Gluten, Chicken Fat, Corn Gluten Meal, Oat Groats.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 24% min, Crude Fat 15% min, Crude Fiber 3.2% Max.
  • Calories: 414 kcal/cup
  • Suitable for which dogs: Extra small, toy, and small breeds.
  • Feeding: Optimal feeding amounts may vary depending on your dog’s weight and activity levels.
  • Key Benefit: Contains optimal levels of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids for coat and skin health.
  • Price: $19.52 per 3-lb bag ($6.51-lb)

2. Diamond Naturals Skin & Coat Dry Dog Food

Give your dog a glamorous look with Diamond Naturals Formula by Diamond Pet Foods, Inc. the initial production date is January 29th, 2018.

It is the right selection for coat and skin with optimal amounts of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids. Chia seeds, carrots, and pumpkin are also great for skin care. 

Vitamin E, zinc, and selenium are excellent antioxidants to protect the skin against inflammation and prevent further infections. Diamond Naturals Formula is best for your dog’s heart with high levels of taurine and L-carnitine. Moreover, DHA is important for improved focus, better concentration, and easier trainability.

Probiotics and prebiotics are responsible for digestive and gut health while wholesome carbs are important for sufficient energy throughout the day. Your sensitive pup can safely enjoy this recipe as it is free from wheat, corn, or artificial additives. 

Serve according to weight and age. For example, if your dog weighs 5 lbs, it will need a daily intake of 1 cup at 2-4 months, ¾ cup at 4-8 months, ⅔ cup at 8-12 months, and ½ cup during adulthood.

  • First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Fish Meal, Potatoes, Lentils, Peas.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 25% min, Crude Fat 14% min, Crude Fiber 5.5% Max.
  • Calories: 408 kcal/cup.
  • Suitable for which dogs: All breeds.
  • Feeding: Optimal feeding amounts may vary depending on your dog’s age and weight.
  • Key Benefit: Salmon is the number one ingredient for strong muscles, bones, and teeth.
  • Price: $41.02 per 30-lb bag ($1.37-lb)

3. Blue Buffalo Formula Dry Dog Food 

Awaken the wolf in your dog with this delicacy from The Blue Buffalo Company.

The first production date is May 13th, 2009. This meal suits skin and coat wellness with high amounts of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids from flaxseed and menhaden fish meal. 

The premium protein levels support lean muscle mass and ideal body weight, while the high fiber content is best for digestive health. The meal comes with lots of other benefits. Calcium, phosphorus, and glucosamine support bone, tooth, and joint health, while chelated minerals promote maximum absorption of essential nutrients for overall wellness.

Powerful antioxidants protect dogs against inflammation that causes skin problems. The meal is devoid of corn, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives and hence it is safe for your sensitive dog. The recipe uses whole grains for high-quality carbs and fiber. Carrots and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of vitamin A for smooth skin and improved vision.

Consuming this formula also boosts cardiac health with taurine and L-carnitine. In addition, it reduces stool volume and odor with yucca schidigera.

  • First 5 Ingredients: White Fish, Menhaden Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 22% min, Crude Fat 14% min, Crude Fiber 5% Max.
  • Calories: 377 kcal/cup.
  • Suitable for which dogs: All breeds.
  • Feeding: Optimal feeding amounts may vary depending on your dog’s body weight.
  • Key Benefit: Menhaden fish meal is the second ingredient in high-quality omega 3 fatty acids to boost coat and skin appearance.
  • Price: $56.49 per 30-lb bag ($1.88-lb)

4. Instinct Raw Boost Skin & Coat Health Grain Free Recipe 

Delight your dog’s instinct with Instinct Raw Formula from Nature’s Variety.

The initial production date is April 1st, 2019. This recipe is the perfect choice for coat and skin health as it contains optimal amounts of linoleic acid, omega 6 fatty acids, and omega 3 fatty acids to give your dog smooth skin and a glamorous coat. They also reduce itching and shedding frequencies. 

Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties to support your dog’s skin. This recipe is high in protein and uses freeze-dried raw ingredients for glowing skin. The proteins also promote musculature, while freeze-drying tempts even selective feeders. Menhaden fish meal, chia seeds, and salmon oil are great options for skin health. 

Probiotics and antioxidants support digestive and immune wellness, while minimal processing ensures essential nutrients are retained. It is safe for your dog as it contains no corn, wheat, soy, grain, potato, or artificial preservatives.

Your dog’s weight dictates the amounts to serve. For example, dogs weighing 5-15 pounds need ½ to 1 cup daily for weight maintenance and ¼ to ½ cup for weight loss. 

  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Menhaden Fish Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Tapioca.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 32.5% min, Crude Fat 20% min, Crude Fiber 4% Max.
  • Calories: 529 kcal/cup.
  • Suitable for which dogs: All breeds.
  • Feeding: Optimal feeding amounts depend on whether the food is for weight loss or weight maintenance.
  • Key Benefit: High levels of vitamins C and E promote immunity and protect your dog against free radicals that cause inflammation.
  • Price: $79.99 per 18-lb bag ($4.44-lb)

5. NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Adult Dry Dog Food

Give your dog the best nutrition with Nutro Natural Formula from Nutro.

The first manufacturing date is February 2nd, 2015. It is great for coats and skin with the optimal amounts of vitamin E and selenium. These are powerful antioxidants that work together to prevent oxidative damage and skin infections.

Whole flaxseed and chia seeds are suitable for coat and skin beauty and well-being. Venison meal is rich in proteins, and it is the number one ingredient to fuel your dog’s muscles and support coat health with amino acids.

It is free from GMO, wheat, soy, or corn for your sensitive dog. The natural dietary fiber boosts digestive wellness and supports ideal body weight. This meal is suitable for dogs from one year and older. You should, however, not serve dogs with grain allergies as it is grain-inclusive.

Dogs weighing 15 pounds need a daily intake of 1 ¼ cups to 1 ⅓ cups, while those weighing 25 pounds require 1 ¼ to 2 cups. A gradual transition period of 6 days prepares your dog’s digestive system for minimal or no stomach issues.

  • First 5 Ingredients: Venison Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Split Peas, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Sorghum.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 22% min, Crude Fat 14% min, Crude Fiber 3.5% Max.
  • Calories: 320 kcal/cup.
  • Suitable for which dogs: All breeds.
  • Feeding: Optimal feeding amounts may vary depending on your dog’s poundage.
  • Key Benefit: High levels of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids for improved skin and coat wellness.
  • Price: $75.98 per 30-lb bag ($2.53-lb)

6. Royal Canin Dry Dog Food 

Give your dog the royal treatment with this tasty meal from Royal Canin.

The initial manufacturing date is February 2nd, 2012. It is crafted for small dogs weighing between 9-22 pounds. The kibble is designed to suit small dogs’ muzzles, ease the pick-up process, and support digestion. 

The meal is highly palatable to attract your picky eater and make him beg for more. Serving this meal gives your dog a healthy weight and promotes heart well-being with L-carnitine. In addition, dried plain beet pulp provides high-quality fiber for regular bowel movements and maintenance of a healthy weight. Fiber makes dogs feel full for longer, thus consuming less food. 

Chicken fat and fish oil are best for coat and skin health. They promote vibrancy and brilliance for an admirable look. Furthermore, vitamins C and E are responsible for improved immunity and reduced instances of inflammation. 

The daily amounts vary depending on body weight and activity levels. For example, dogs weighing 11 pounds need a daily intake of ⅞ cups for low activity, 1 cup for moderate activity, and 1 ⅛ cups for high activity.

  • First 5 Ingredients: Corn, Chicken Byproduct Meal, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 25% min, Crude Fat 14% min, Crude Fiber 3.4% Max.
  • Calories: 359 kcal/cup.
  • Suitable for which dogs: Small, extra small, and toy breeds.
  • Feeding: Optimal feeding amounts may vary depending on your dog’s activity levels and weight.
  • Key Benefit: EPA and DHA support mobility, cognitive wellness, and skin health.
  • Price: $47.49 per 14-lb bag ($3.5-lb)

7. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food

Hill’s Science recipes are scientifically formulated for maximum health and nutritional benefits.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has your dog’s overall wellness in mind. The initial date of production is September 30th, 2004, and it is crafted to help with stomach sensitivities and skin allergies. 

This recipe contains omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin C, and vitamin E that work together to minimize the frequency of shedding, soften the skin, brighten the coat, reduce the risk of inflammation, and protect your dog against infections.

Consuming this formula promotes digestive and gut wellness with prebiotic fiber. The meal is recommended by veterinarians and hence safe for your dog. Moreover, it uses natural ingredients to lower the risks of allergies and sensitivities. Its high digestibility promotes digestion and ensures maximum absorption of essential nutrients for overall wellness. 

Dogs weighing 5 pounds need a daily intake of ½ cup. For weights ranging from 10-120 pounds, the daily intake ranges from ⅞ cups to 5 ⅔ cups. A 7-day gradual transition helps avoid digestive issues. Increase the new food gradually while reducing the old food until your dog fully transitions.

  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Yellow Peas, Cracked Pearled Barley, Brown Rice.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 20% min, Crude Fat 13% min, Crude Fiber 4% Max.
  • Calories: 394 kcal/cup.
  • Suitable for which dogs: All breeds.
  • Feeding: Optimal feeding amounts may vary depending on your dog’s weight.
  • Key Benefit: Chicken is the number one ingredient for a muscular look and firm skin.
  • Price: $68.99 per 30-lb bag ($2.29-lb)

What are the facts that you should know about dog foods for Coat and Skin? 

Dog food for coat and skin are those that impact positively on your dog’s coat and skin. They lower the risks of itchiness, dullness, and rough coats for a lustrous coat and soft skin. Here are other important considerations about dog foods for coat and skin:

  • Proteins support muscle health for firm and strong skin. Proteins give your dog a bright coat. Real and recognizable protein sources are the best. Unidentifiable meat could be from diseased or dead animals. Salmon is great for the skin and having it among the key ingredients boosts skin and coat health. Meat and meat meals are excellent sources of protein.
  • Fats are critical in foods for coat and skin. Fats are sources of omega fatty acids which are crucial for skin and coat health. Healthy fat sources include salmon oil and chicken fat. Canola oil, and flaxseed. Omega-6 and 3 fatty acids support coat and skin health and lower the frequency of shedding. In addition, fats provide energy and promote flavor.
  • The right vitamins boost coat and skin health. The best vitamins for coat and skin include A, C, D, E, and K. These vitamins work together to give your dog a brilliant coat and beautiful skin. Carrots, pumpkin, chia seeds, and sweet potatoes are powerful sources of essential vitamins that boost coat and skin well-being.
  • Minerals are also crucial for coat and skin. Zinc is important for the breakdown of fats and proteins while copper supports skin pigmentation and tissue wellness.

What are the best dog foods for Coat and Skin according to dog sizes?

The Best Dog Food for Coat and skin for Small-Sized Dogs

The Best Dog Food for Coat and Skin for  Medium-Sized and Large Dogs

  • American Journey Large Breed Dry Food: Let your dog enjoy its life journey with this tangy meal. The high levels of omegas are essential for coat and skin. In addition, antioxidants support immunity for a happy life.

What are the best dog foods to Coat and Skin with different ingredients?

The Best Dog Food with Carrots for Coat and Skin

The Best Dog Food with Pumpkin for Coat and Skin

What are the other dog foods for different health conditions similar to Coat and Skin?

The Best Dog Food for allergies

The Best Dog Food for Sensitive Tummy

What are the foods to avoid for Dogs with Coat and Skin issues?

Diet is key for dogs with coat and skin issues. The right selection minimizes the risks of skin and coat problems. Here are the foods to avoid for dogs with coat and skin issues:

  • Gluten: Gluten is the most common allergen and dogs with skin and coat issues should avoid it. Common signs of gluten allergy include weight loss, frequent itching, poor coat condition, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Eggs: Egg yolk allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to protein. Eggs are not safe for dogs with coat and skin issues. The symptoms of egg allergy include itchy and inflamed skin, bald patches, coughing, face rubbing, excessive licking, poor growth, gas, ear problems, and wheezing.
  • Soy: Soy protein is a recognized allergen in dogs. Avoid it in dogs with coat and skin problems as it escalates the issue. Common symptoms of soy allergy include ear canal infections, obsessive licking that leads to hair loss, self-trauma, diarrhea and vomiting, and the inflammation of the eyelids.
  • Dairy: Dogs can be allergic to lactose in milk. This leads to gastrointestinal problems characterized by diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Wheat: Dogs with skin and coat issues should not consume wheat as it makes it worse. Wheat allergy is characterized by dull coats and red flaky skin. 
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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.