What Nutrients Does Your Dog Need for Their Skin and Coat Health?

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.

White and black spotted dog looking upward in front of an ocean

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.


Fatty 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
Copper Involved in tissue, pigment and protein synthesis
Gray dog looking to the left on grassy and rocky landscape

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.