Your dog’s skin and hair aren’t just nice to pet — they play an important role in keeping your pup healthy and comfortable. They prevent water and heat from leaving your pup’s body, plus they help keep viruses and bacteria out. One of the best ways to make sure your dog’s skin and coat are in the best possible condition is by paying close attention to what you put in their food bowl.
Nutrients like protein, fat, vitamins and minerals can all impact your dog’s skin and coat health. Your dog’s coat is made up almost entirely of protein. If their diet doesn’t contain enough quality protein, your dog’s hair might fall out or become dry, weak and brittle.
Likewise, their skin is made up of tightly packed flat cells with tough membranes made of proteins and fats. Without proper amounts of these nutrients, the cell membranes can weaken, allowing water to escape and bacteria and viruses to enter more easily.
Make sure your dog is getting the following nutrients to help keep their coat and skin healthy. And keep in mind that IAMS™ dog foods contain an optimal blend of these nutrients to support your dog’s skin and coat health.
Nutrients Your Dog Needs for Healthy Skin and Hair
Essential Amino Acids
Proteins are found in both animal-and plant-based ingredients. However, animal-based proteins contain all the essential amino acids dogs need, while plant-based proteins might not contain enough of some essential amino acids.
Fats also are found in both animal-and plant-based ingredients and are incorporated into skin cells as fatty acids. In particular, linoleic acid plays an important role in a dog’s skin and coat health. Without enough linoleic acid, dogs might have a dull and dry coat or experience hair loss, greasy skin or skin inflammation.
Linoleic acid is found in chicken fat and vegetable oils such as corn and soybean oils. IAMS™ research has also found that the fatty acids in vitamin-rich fish oils help promote excellent skin and coat health.
Vitamins and Minerals
Your dog needs vitamins and minerals for healthy skin and a healthy coat, too. The best way to provide these nutrients is by feeding a complete and balanced diet full of essential vitamins and minerals, rather than giving them supplements.
Here’s how vitamins and minerals help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy:
|Vitamin or Mineral||Importance to Skin and Coat Health|
|Vitamin A||Aids in skin growth and repair|
|Vitamin E||Protects skin cells from oxidant damage|
|Vitamin C||Helps heal wounds|
|Biotin||Aids in the utilization of protein|
|Riboflavin (B2)||Helps your dog metabolize fat and protein|
|Zinc||Helps your dog metabolize fat and protein|
Involved in tissue, pigment and protein synthesis
What Causes Changes in a Dog’s Coat Condition?
Changes in diet can lead to changes in your dog’s skin and coat condition, but the most common causes are season and life stage. As cold weather approaches, most dogs grow a thick coat to help keep heat in and cold air out. As the weather warms up, they shed their thick, heavy coat.
Most puppies are born with soft, fuzzy hair, but as they age, they grow a coarser coat. Pregnant or nursing dogs also might experience a change in coat condition or hair loss. And, just like humans, a dog’s hair might thin out and become coarser and white as they reach their mature years.
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How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
1. The Ingredient Panel
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
2. The Guaranteed Analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.
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