Is Beauty Only Skin Deep? How Nutrition Can Help Maintain Canine Skin and Coat Health
Regular grooming and daily brushing are excellent ways to keep a dog’s coat in good condition, and help owners bond with their dogs too. A shiny, glossy coat has long been thought of as an outward sign of good health – and will often attract plenty of compliments! There is, however, an additional way to support skin and coat health – and this is through nutrition.
What Kind of Nutrition is Needed for Optimum Skin and Coat Health?
A little known fact is that dogs use between 30 and 35% of their daily intake of protein to support their skin and coat. So an ideal way to support skin and coat health is to feed a high quality diet containing optimum levels of highly digestible proteins. Proteins have various other roles in the body, for example providing energy. This high protein demand means that the levels in the diet must be carefully balanced to ensure that they meet the dog’s requirements.
Proteins are broken down by the body during digestion into amino acids, and we know that certain amino acids have particular benefits for skin and coat health. Tyrosine, for example, has been proven to have a positive effect on the production of skin pigments, increasing the intensity of dark-coloured coats. Sulphur-containing amino acids are important too, as these are used to form the main hair protein, keratin. Inadequate levels of these sulphur amino acids are known to cause hair loss, slower hair growth and a dry, brittle coat. So the quality, highly digestible protein sources used in Royal Canin diets really help to support skin and coat health.
Another vital nutrient for maintaining healthy skin is fat. Remember that the skin produces the hair which forms the coat – and so if the skin is healthy, then it follows that the coat will also be in a healthy condition. In particular, a specific fatty acid called linoleic acid is essential for maintaining the elasticity and the barrier function of the skin. It is known that dogs which are deficient in linoleic acid will have dry skin, which will then lead to dry, brittle and thin hair. Maintaining the barrier function of the skin helps prevent water being lost through the skin surface, which can lead to the skin becoming dry – and a poor skin barrier will never be as good at reducing the number of bacteria or fungi which are able to cross the skin surface. Other essential fatty acids which are known to have a beneficial effect on skin health are the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are supplemented in all Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition diets.
Some dogs will always have more sensitive skin than others, and Royal Canin has provided the optimum tailored nutrition for these dogs within the Size Health Nutrition range, with the Dermacomfort diets. A low-allergen formula and a patented complex help support optimum skin health and condition in dogs with very long coats or sensitive skin. The patented complex, made up of four B vitamins and one amino acid which act in synergy, has been demonstrated to help maintain the skin’s barrier function and reduce water losses.
Feeding a good quality, complete, balanced diet helps to keep a dog in good health, which reflects in their outward appearance. And opting for tailored health nutrition formulated to help promote skin and coat health –along with regular grooming and brushing – is a great way to help keep a dog looking at its very best.