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Nutritional Requirements for Healthy Coat of Dogs

Your furry friend needs several nutrients to live a happy and healthy life. Essential fatty acids, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and water are necessary for your dog to survive. An adequate quantity of dietary nutrients is necessary for maintaining good health in canines. The nutritional requirements of any dog depend on its breed, size, life stage, and other factors.  Knowing the required nutrients in food and the amount your dog needs helps to choose a healthy diet for your canine.

Protein, vitamins, fats, and minerals are important for the healthy coat and skin of dogs. The main purpose of the coat is to prevent water or heat from leaving or entering the body. The coat also prevents pathogens from entering the dog’s body. The dog coat is made of protein and thus if your pooch does not get enough quality and quantity of protein then you can see hair loss and the coat may become weak, brittle, and dry. The skin has tightly packed cells and the cells have a membrane that is made of fats and proteins. If your dog does not get proper nutrients then it weakens the cell membrane and allows harmful agents like bacteria and viruses to enter easily. 

What does Healthy Coat mean?

What are the signs of a healthy coat? It is necessary to understand the specific features of your dog. Ensure to check your pet from head to paws and brush once a week. It is essential to brush the dog coat more often as it aids in releasing natural oils from the body and untangle mats. Brushing reduces the hairballs in your carpet and your pet will love grooming.

Your furry friend may not feel good with the messy coat. A matted coat makes your dog look dull and sometimes it also indicates the lack of nutrients too. Your canine can look best with a good coat. The AKC has described some points that help you know the characteristics of a healthy coat and explained the maintenance requirement for the dog’s coat. It is possible that what goes for one breed may not be suitable for other dog breeds. Dachshund is happy with daily baths while a husky needs regular brushing. Dogs like pitbull have light-colored and thinner skin and they are prone to insect bites, sunburn, and allergies that occur seasonally. It is necessary to understand guidelines for taking care of long and short coats. If your dog does not has red, dry, or irritated skin, bald patches or fur falling, rough or sore areas, flea eggs that look like white or black specks, or greasiness then your pet is blessed with a healthy coat. However, if your dog has any of these symptoms then it is necessary to pay attention to determine the reasons for the problem as it can be related to nutritional deficiency or environmental issues.  

When coat changes appear?

Coat and skin changes can appear due to diet however season and stage of life are other factors that change dog coat. The thick coat can be seen in winter as it keeps the cold away by keeping the body hot. The thick coat sheds when summer approaches. Most of the pups have fuzzy and soft hair from birth but coat becomes coarse as they age. Nursing and pregnant canines also experience a change in the coat.

Nutritional Needs of Dogs for Healthy Coat

 Proteins and Essential Amino Acids

Protein is essential for dogs and they cannot survive without protein intake. Dietary protein comprises ten amino acids that dogs are unable to make themselves in the body. These are known as essential amino acids and are fundamental blocks for biologically active proteins.

Amino acids also donate carbon chains that are necessary to make glucose. Proteins of high quality have all the required amino acids. It is also seen that dogs avoid meals that lack amino acids. Dogs choose food with high protein content and it may be the biological needs of dogs.  Vegetarian foods with high protein content are also good for dogs but a Vitamin D supplement is also needed.

Fatty Acids and Fats  

Dietary fats are obtained from seed oils and animal fats. These are the major source of energy and cannot be synthesized in the dog’s body. Also, they serve as carriers for vitamins. Fatty acids are necessary for cell structure and proper functioning. Fats also increase the flavor and food texture. The fats also keep the coat and skin healthy. Dogs that are given very low-fat food have coarse and dry hair and their skin is prone to infections. Omega-3 essential fatty acids deficiencies are related to the vision issues and also impaired learning ability.  The Omega-6 essential fatty acids have physiological effects.

Vitamins

Vitamins help in the metabolic activities of the body. Low concentration vitamins are required for dogs. Vitamin deficiencies cause a range of health issues. Vision impairment, respiratory issues, skin lesions, and infections are caused due to deficiency of vitamin A. Deficiency of vitamin E causes reproductive issues, retinal degeneration, and muscle breakdown. Neurological problems, heart problems, or even death can be caused by Thiamin deficiency. Intake quantity plays a major role such as excess amounts of Vitamin D can be toxic so it is preferable to give small doses of Vitamin D. 

 

Minerals

Minerals are also necessary for the growth of a dog’s body. Phosphorous and calcium are important for strong and healthy teeth and bones. Canines also need sodium, potassium, and magnesium for the proper functioning of the body. Many minerals like molybdenum, copper, and selenium aid in several enzymatic reactions although they are available in small amounts in the body. Lack of calcium can cause secondary hyperparathyroidism which can lead to skeletal abnormalities, bone loss, and fractures. Also, excess calcium can lead to skeletal abnormalities and it can be seen in growing puppies of a large breed.

Energy Requirements

Your furry friend requires a specific amount of energy for continuing normal activities. Pregnancy, growth, lactation, and intense exercise increase the energy needs of dogs like the human beings.  Most of the energy comes from protein, fats, and carbohydrates. The major energy source is a carbohydrate and it is obtained from starch, sugars, and fibers. The commercially available dog foods are legumes, cereals, and plant-based foodstuff. These are absorbable carbohydrates and do not need enzymes for digestion. The enzymes present in the intestinal tract break down the digestible carbohydrates. Some dietary fibers and starches are fermentable carbohydrates that are fermented by microbes in the colon and change into gases and short-chain fatty acids. It is seen that blood glucose concentrations are regulated by fermentable fibers and also increases immune function. non-fermentable fibers are used for decreasing calorie intake, especially in an overweight dog.

Energy Requirements of lactating dogs

For approximately six weeks new mothers feed their pups. At this time, the calorie requirement increases. Large dog breeds have small digestive tracts and cannot sustain themselves during lactation. So dog owners must feed their puppies with supplements.

Energy Requirements of older dogs

Older dogs have minimum physical activity and they need low calories than middle-aged adult dogs. Dogs become overweight with age and may become obese. Their blood sugar concentration levels take more time to become normal. The poor carbohydrate metabolism causes diabetes.

Energy Requirements of growing puppies

The growing puppies need extra amount of calories than an adult dog. Dog owners must feed their puppies with commercial food as there is a lack of mother’s milk. Providing the puppies with small meals at regular intervals is important.

Other Different ways to improve the skin and coat of Dog

Good looking dogs are attractive and they feel good. Here are ways to keep the coat and skin of your canine in good condition.

Brushing at regular intervals

It is necessary to regularly brush the dog’s coat as it helps in spreading the natural oils on the skin that helps in keeping the coat healthy, glossy, and in good condition. Regular brushing helps dog owners to spend their time with the pets. Brushing minimizes mats and removes loose fur. Matted hair blocks the oxygen passage and this can lead to bacterial infections that cause itchy and red patches. Hair clumps provide pressure and weaken the skin. It is a good idea to keep the grooming essentials of your pooch at home even if your pooch goes to a professional groomer.

Protection from sand, sun, and sea

Sun is good for your dog but excessive sun rays are harmful and lead to severe problems. Dogs with white and pink fur can have skin cancer if exposed to the sun for long intervals. It is important to use sunscreen that is specifically made for pets. Sunscreen should have a minimum of SPF15 protection and it is a must to apply it to your dog whenever exposed to sun rays.

Chlorine, seawater, and sand can also damage the skin and fur of your dog. These can cause skin irritation, dryness and make the coat look spiky and dull. Ensure that your dog baths after playing or swimming in the pool or sea.

Bathing and grooming

It is good to take your dog to bathe every four to six weeks whether you take the dog to the salon or at home. Make sure to choose the right shampoo for your dog according to the requirements and do not forget to buy conditioner as it makes the fur soft. Never use human shampoo as it can cause skin irritation. It is good to brush your dog before and before bath.

Prevention from fleas and ticks

Fleas can cause excessive itching and skin dryness. Your pet may gnaw itchy area and may ingest the larva which causes intestinal infection. Scratching constantly can lead to damage and hair loss. A flea bite can also cause allergy in your canine so it is important to prevent your pet from fleas.

There are many ways of preventing ticks and fleas. Chewable pills, topical solutions, and collars are some of the effective methods of prevention. You must consult a veterinarian to know what is best for your dog. Use house foggers to protect the home interior and use sprays wherever your dog hangs out.

Food Additives

Some additives are not required but might be present in the pet foods. Chondroprotective agents are used for specific clinical conditions but nowadays most the dog foods contain these agents. These agents are specifically used to make joint tissues and cartilage.

Presently there is no accurate data available that ensures the use of antioxidants in every dog food. Antioxidants prevent oxidative damage to compounds and nutrients and the creation of free radicals.

Herbs and Botanicals

Herbs and botanicals are added to dog food to make it flavorful and to provide a medicinal effect. This is common in extracts when nutritive components are separated as the intention is more medicinal than nutritional value. Extracts and flavors obtained from animal tissues are considered natural. Plant materials and animals including eggs, dairy products, spices, and herbs are used for deriving flavors.

Processing ways include extraction; roasting and fermentation are acceptable methods of flavor extraction. Synthetic substances are used rarely in pet foods and only certified colors are used in pet foods. Iron oxide and titanium dioxide are used in pet food that is also approved for human foods too.

Consult Veterinarian for advice

If your canine has consistent itchy and flaky skin then it is the time to consult a veterinarian. Several medical issues can adversely affect the dog coat. Hookworms, tapeworms, and roundworms can drain all the necessary nutrients from the dog’s body. Other medical issues like thyroid or kidney problems, infections, and ticks can make your dog look dull. An unhealthy coat can be the result of anxiety or stress.

Conclusion

A healthy coat is a sign of healthy body. Sparkling and bright coat ensures that your pooch is receiving all the required nutrients.  Ensure to provide the right food according to the breed, age, and weight of your dog.

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