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.
adp_related_article_block166 297 YOUR --spice-- MAY ALSO LIKE …
adp_related_article_block166 Continue scrolling for next content
What Is Bloat?
Bloat is a life-threatening condition that acts rapidly and can lead to death within hours if not recognized and treated immediately. Unfortunately, the cause of bloat remains unknown at this time.
The scientific term for bloat is gastric dilatation-volvulus or GDV. Bloat is characterized by rapid and abnormal expansion of the stomach with gas (dilatation). This can be followed by rotation of the stomach (volvulus). This rotation closes both the entry to and exit from the stomach. The blood vessels also are closed down, and blood flow is restricted.
What follows is an increase in pressure inside the stomach and compression of the surrounding organs. Eventually, shock will occur as a result of the restricted blood flow. Here are a few key facts about bloat:
- Bloat should always be treated as a medical emergency.
- Bloat can kill a dog within hours after onset.
- The cause of bloat is unknown.
- Bloat affects 36,000 dogs in the United States each year; 30% die as a result of this condition.
- Bloat can occur in dogs of any age.
- Certain breeds are more susceptible to bloat, particularly deep-chested dogs.
- The stomach rapidly expands with gas then rotates on the long axis. Entry to and exit from the stomach is prohibited, causing blood vessels to close and restriction of blood flow.
Signs of Bloat
Bloat is a true medical emergency, and early identification and treatment is critical to survival.
In the early stages of bloat, the dog will be very uncomfortable. You might see him pacing and whining or trying unsuccessfully to get into a comfortable position. He might seem anxious, might lick or keep staring at his stomach, and might attempt to vomit, without success.
Other indications of bloat can include weakness, swelling of the abdomen, and even signs of shock. Signs of shock are increased heart rate and abnormally rapid breathing.
If you notice these signs, call your veterinarian immediately!
- Inability to get comfortable
- Pacing or restlessness
- Pale gums
- Unproductive attempts to vomit
- Abnormally rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Pain, weakness
- Swelling of the abdomen (particularly the left side)
Helping Prevent Bloat
These suggestions could help you prevent bloat in your dog. However, they are based on suspected risk factors and are not guaranteed to prevent the onset of bloat.
- Feed small amounts of food frequently, two to three times daily.
- Avoid exercise for one hour before and two hours after meals.
- Don't let your dog drink large amounts of water just before or after eating or exercise.
- If you have two or more dogs, feed them separately to avoid rapid, stressful eating.
- If possible, feed at times when after-feeding behavior can be observed.
- Avoid abrupt diet changes.
- If you see signs of bloat, call your veterinarian immediately.
Another way you might help prevent bloat is to feed a high-quality, highly digestible food with normal fiber levels.
Feeding management offers the best method available for reducing risk until the exact cause of bloat can be identified. Although not 100% effective, these measures can reduce the number of dogs that face this serious, life-threatening condition.
- German Shepherd
- Bouvier de Flandres
- Great Dane
- St. Bernard
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Irish Setter
- Gordon Setter
- Irish Wolfhound
- Labrador Retriever
- Basset Hound
adp_related_article_block110 290 YOUR --spice-- MAY ALSO LIKE …adp_related_article_block110Continue scrolling for next content