The Role of Fatty Acids
Fat plays a key role in keeping your dog's skin and coat in top condition. Fat not only provides energy, but it's also a source of essential fatty acids that are necessary for the skin's healthy structure. Fatty acids in the diet keep the skin moist and supple. They also contribute to a thick, lustrous, and healthy coat. The lack of or imbalance of fatty acids can cause dry, scaly skin and brittle hair. A diet with vitamin-rich fish oils is vital to your puppy's coat health and appearance.
Although there are many kinds of fatty acids, a few are important to coat health and appearance:
- Linoleic acid is an essential omega-6 fatty acid for dogs and is necessary for healthy skin. It is found in beef, pork, chicken, and some vegetable oils.
- Omega-6 fatty acids, including linoleic acid, can be found in the fat or oils provided in ingredients such as chicken and corn in your dog's food.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish oils and in flax. Although not essential to a dog's diet, they have been found to help manage skin and coat conditions and promote a shiny coat.
A proper fatty-acid balance
An appropriate balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids helps maintain your dog's healthy skin and coat. An optimal range of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty-acid ratios is between 5:1 and 10:1, to enhance skin and coat quality and help nutritionally manage skin and coat conditions.
Natural DHA Supports Proper Brain Development
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) is a key nutrient found naturally in breast milk and is important for a baby's neural development. And, just like babies, a puppy's ability to learn depends upon healthy brain development.
At 6 weeks, a puppy's brain mass is approximately 70% developed. At this stage and in the months ahead, feeding your puppy a diet rich in DHA can help support neural development. Premium puppy foods, such as IAMS Smart Puppy, provide DHA in their formulas.