Keeping your puppy’s skin and coat healthy is as easy as 1-2-omega-3. Feeding studies have shown that dogs thrive on high-quality animal proteins from chicken, fish, lamb and eggs. IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Smart Puppy Original and other IAMS formulas are made with these highly digestible proteins, which promote excellent skin and coat condition and enhance your dog’s overall health and well-being. When your dog’s coat looks good, the rest of his body will likely be well nourished, too.
Learn more about two important nutrients that can maintain your puppy’s skin and coat health.
Fatty Acids Keep Your Puppy’s Skin and Coat Healthy
Fat plays a key role in keeping your puppy’s skin and coat in top condition. Fat not only provides energy, but it’s also a source of essential fatty acids that are necessary for the skin’s healthy structure. Fatty acids in the diet keep the skin moist and supple. They also contribute to a thick, lustrous and healthy coat. The lack of or imbalance of fatty acids can cause dry, scaly skin and brittle hair. A diet with vitamin-rich fish oils is vital to your puppy’s coat health and appearance.
Although there are many kinds of fatty acids, a few are important to coat health and appearance:
- Linoleic acid is an essential omega-6 fatty acid for dogs and is necessary for healthy skin. It is found in beef, pork, chicken and some vegetable oils.
- Omega-6 fatty acids, including linoleic acid, can be found in the fat or oils provided in ingredients such as chicken and corn in your dog's food.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish oils and in flax. Although not essential to a dog's diet, they have been found to help manage skin and coat conditions and promote a shiny coat.
An appropriate balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids helps maintain your dog’s healthy skin and coat. An optimal range of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty-acid ratios is between 5:1 and 10:1 to enhance skin and coat quality and help nutritionally manage skin and coat conditions.
Natural DHA Supports Proper Brain Development
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a key nutrient found naturally in breast milk and is important for a baby’s neural development. And just like a baby, a puppy’s ability to learn depends on healthy brain development.
At 6 weeks, a puppy's brain mass is approximately 70% developed. At this stage and in the months ahead, feeding your puppy a diet rich in DHA can help support neural development. Premium puppy foods such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Smart Puppy provide DHA in their formulas.
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Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.
4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food
1. Introduce the new food gradually.
When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:
- Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
- Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
- Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food
At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.
2. Watch your body language.
Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.
3. Don't give in to demands.
Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.
4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.
Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.
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