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How to Give Your Dog Healthy Skin and a Great Coat

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Many factors influence the overall health of your dog’s skin and coat: His diet and grooming schedule, the presence of parasites and seasonal changes can all play a role. Whether your dog is prone to skin issues or you want to ensure your pup’s health for years to come, you’ll need to keep a few key things in mind.

 

Schedule Regular Veterinary Checkups

Regular veterinary checkups will ensure that your dog is disease- and parasite-free. Flea-bite allergy and external parasites, such as mange, are primary causes of hair loss and skin problems.

In addition to scheduling checkups, check your dog’s hair and skin at least once a week for signs of fleas (flea dirt or bites), mange or other skin conditions, and hair loss.

 

Feed Your Dog a Balanced, Healthy Diet

If your dog’s skin seems thick or scaly or lacks elasticity, or if you notice hair loss, these signs might indicate a nutritional deficiency. Check with your veterinarian, and try feeding him a premium food. It will usually take between six and eight weeks after a diet change to see results. If your pet continues to scratch and chew his skin, consult a veterinarian.
 

When looking for a dog food that will promote good skin and coat health, keep the following in mind:

 

Bring on the Protein

What's the best thing you can do for your dog’s skin and coat health? Feed a high-quality food packed with protein, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult MiniChunks. Dogs are best fed as carnivores: They need protein and thrive on diets rich in animal-based protein sources. Additionally, their hair is actually 95% protein! Although coat growth varies by breed, the combined growth of all the hair can add up to 100 feet per day in some dogs. This means that nearly 30% of the animal’s daily protein requirement is used just for coat growth during some seasons.

 

Choose Quality Food

Premium pet foods are carefully formulated to be complete and balanced, which means the food includes all of the nutrients your pet needs. Ingredients in premium foods are highly digestible so your dog's body uses the nutrients efficiently. Less costly foods might contain lower-quality proteins. Though a bag of premium food may cost a bit more than other brands, you might be able to feed less, which minimizes the cost difference.

 

Follow a Regular Grooming Schedule

It’s easy to spot a healthy-looking dog: He has a gleam in his eye, a bounce in his step and a glossy, healthy coat. That glow is a reflection of your dog’s overall health and a good gauge of what’s going on inside and outside.
 

Regular grooming helps take care of the “outside” by removing loose hair, dirt and mats, and distributing skin oils. Grooming lets you check your pet closely, catching any skin problems early. Plus, your dog will love the attention!
 

As dogs age, their skin might become more sensitive. Select a mild dog shampoo for your older dog. Shampoos made from coconut or palm oils are the mildest. Unusual or “doggy” odors can signal disease, so if odors persist, contact your veterinarian. Do not use human shampoos because they are often too harsh for a dog’s skin.
 

When bathing your dog, be sure to rinse him thoroughly. Residue left on the skin can be irritating. You might want to follow the shampoo with a hair conditioner to control static electricity and add extra body or sheen.
 

During the summer, pay close attention to your dog’s skin and coat. Many dogs shed a winter coat and others face flea problems, so it’s a good time to evaluate your dog’s skin and coat condition to nip any problems in the bud.
 

Attention to your dog's coat and skin from the inside out will produce a healthy, lively dog that is a joy to look at — and a pleasure to live with — every day!

How to Give Your Dog Healthy Skin and a Great Coat
How to Give Your Dog Healthy Skin and a Great Coat
  • Choosing the Right Dog Food
    Choosing the Right Dog Food
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    Choosing the Right Dog Food

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    Author: Dr. Diah Pawitri
     

    When visiting the store, dog owners can get overwhelmed by the array of dog food options available, from dry kibble to canned wet food and more. These processed foods may not be appealing to humans, but they contain all the nutrients that dogs need to stay healthy. Like humans, dogs also need a variety of nutrients from their food, not just from meat as their main diet, but also from grains, vegetables, and fruits. This kind of balance is usually weighed by pet food labels in kibbles or wet food in grams for different types of dogs. 
     

    For optimum health, dogs need food that is tailored and customized to their life stages, starting from when they are puppies and all the way into adulthood. Puppies have completely different nutrient needs compared to adult dogs as they are still in their early stages of life. They need enough nutrients to fuel a speedy growth, especially after transitioning away from their mother's milk. Puppies require complete and balanced nutrition with protein to help build their tissues, fats or healthy skin, hair, brain, and vision, carbohydrates for energy, vitamins, minerals, and water.

    The need for balanced nutrients in puppies starts with the mother during pregnancy, followed by lactation and growth. Sufficient nourishment for the mother is pivotal in enhancing the puppies’ growth inside the womb and preparing them for life after birth. Both mother and puppy should receive well-proportioned antioxidants, DHA, and prebiotics to support their health and growth as provided by the IAMS product line, which contains DHA that is essential for puppies' brain development while also supporting the mother's pregnancy and quality of milk produced. 
     

    While puppies need the primary nutrients for growth, adult dog food has a different level of complexity. Adult dog food requires the same make-up of nutrients as puppies do but tailored to their specific needs. Recent research indicates that an adult dog requires at least 10% of its daily calories from protein and at least 5.5% from fat. Adult dogs need quality protein for firm muscles and a healthy immune system. Additionally, an adult diet can contain up to 50% carbohydrates, with fiber ranging from 2.5 to 4.5%. There is no specific prescribed amount of fibre for adult dog consumption daily, however, it is still one of the most important components in dog food to address constipation and support a healthy weight.
     

    Adult dogs in their prime also require a balance in antioxidants to reduce systemic inflammation and restore active muscles. They should receive Vitamin E and C to support their immune system, joint health, and prevent inflammation. As they grow older, they may be exposed to different diseases from diabetes to cancers, which can be prevented by polyphenols.  Parents to adult dogs must acknowledge the most suitable food for their loved one that is comprised of the right amount of nutrients and can look to the IAMS line as they are formulated to support healthy bones and joint health, scientifically proven for healthy digestion with a good fibre and prebiotic blend, as well as antioxidants for a strong immune system.
     

    Besides life stage, balanced nutrition should be adjusted to their breed, which give insight to different factors like weight, mouth size, and energy level. This will then determine the type of kibble and food given. Smaller breeds tend to be more active, requiring the same essential nutrients and prebiotics for a healthy body as well as smaller-sized kibble designed specifically for their smaller mouths. As smaller dogs relatively have a high metabolism, higher levels of protein, fat, and essential fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6 are some of the important nutrients that should be available in their food. On the other hand, larger breeds require foods that are lower in fat and calories, contain slightly lower levels of calcium and phosphorus, and have a specific balance of calcium-to-phosphorus ratio to support stronger bones and muscles.  Owners can look to products like the small breed line from IAMS, containing 7 essential nutrients to build strong muscles, support their tiny immune system while protecting their healthy skin and coat, and the product line for adults for large breeds.
     

    Dog parents must acknowledge and understand the unique needs, life stage and characteristics in their dog to choose the right dog food so their furry ones can grow into their healthiest selves. Make sure to visit your vet regularly to check these components as well!