Natural ingredients for skin & coat

Hair and skin is made mostly from proteins. Normal skin and hair growth may account for 25-30% of an animal’s daily protein requirement!  A protein-deficient diet, or a diet with unbalanced or biologically inappropriate proteins (e.g. derived from plants, not meat-based) may not be able to meet an animal’s needs for sufficient quantities of the right amino acid building blocks from the protein to produce healthy skin and hair. This will lead to scaly, thin, discoloured skin and brittle, pale coloured hair which falls out easily and regrows slowly. A high quality diet for a dog should contain real meat as the first - and main - ingredient to not only promote strong, lean muscles, but also a healthy skin and coat.  All Tucker Time varieties contain high quality meat as the #1 ingredient.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (‘PUFAs’), or more specifically omega fatty acids are well known to be associated with healthy skin and coat. Dogs have a requirement for a number of ‘essential’ fatty acids – ‘essential’ meaning that they cannot synthesise them within their body and must obtain them from their food. These are omega fatty acids, with two ‘families’ most important: omega 3 and omega 6. The essential omega-3 fatty acids in dogs include Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The only essential omega-6 fatty acid in dogs is Linolenic acid (LA).  In cats, a second omega-6 fatty acid is also essential: Arachidonic acid (AA), however dogs can convert LA to AA in their bodies.

These fatty acids are essential for many roles within the body, including skin and coat health. Omega 6 fatty acids aid the formation of the skin barrier, optimising water permeability in the skin and helps to provide supple skin and a glossy coat. A deficiency in omega 6 fatty acids can result in dry, flaky skin and a dull, brittle coat, resulting in breakage of the hair shafts and hair loss.  This can make the skin more prone to bacterial infections and itchiness. Omega 3 fatty acids have excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Supplementation of omega 3 is commonly employed for animals with inflammatory skin diseases and has been found to be efficacious as an aid in the therapy of several dermatological diseases.

ALA is found in plant oils, such as flaxseed oil and pumpkin seeds, while EPA and DHA are primarily found in marine fish oils. LA is found in plant oils also such as sunflower oil and safflower oil, with AA primarily in animal fats such as beef fat. The dietary balance between these fatty acids is very important – ideally it should be between 1 to 5 and 1 to 10 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 for maximal benefit for the skin and coat. Many pet foods contain a ratio between 1 to 15 and 1 to 20, which can actually be pro-inflammatory, as some omega 6 fatty acids are precursors for what is known as the ‘inflammatory cascade” in the body and too much of these can trigger this process.

In Tucker Time, we have carefully analysed each recipe and added various supplements, including fish oil, flaxseed oil, Green-lipped Mussel, and sunflower oil, as necessary, to ensure an ideal balance of omega 3 to 6, to help promote healthy skin and coat.

Zinc is an essential mineral which plays a critical role in metabolism of cells, especially those which divide rapidly such as skin cells, which constantly need to regenerate themselves due to wear and tear. Its presence is also essential for the body to produce fatty acids. A zinc deficiency can lead to many clinical signs, but in adult dogs, these are mainly confined to the skin, including skin redness, hair loss, crusting and scaliness on the paws, pressure points and areas where the skin joins a part of the body lined by ‘mucosa’, such as the lips, eyelids, nostrils or genitals. The footpads may become thickened and crack also. Zinc-deficient animals tend to suffer from recurrent skin infections and their fur is typically dull and harsh.  Zinc-responsive dermatoses have been recorded, which resolve following oral supplementation of zinc.  In Tucker Time, zinc levels are optimised to support healthy skin and coat.

Biotin was formerly known as vitamin H, before being reclassified to fit within the family of B vitamins, as B7.  Whilst not considered essential (i.e. needing to be supplied in the diet), as it can be synthesised by the gut microbiota, it is an important nutrient for the body. It aids in cell formation, maintenance of the connective tissues which holds the body together, and it is required for metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. A deficiency of biotin can lead to dry, scaly skin, a dull or thin haircoat, brittle hair, and intense itching, which can lead to hair loss. Supplementation of biotin in the diet of dogs has been shown to lead to improvement in skin and coat condition. Tucker Time rolls are all enriched with biotin at the levels clinically demonstrated to foster healthy skin and a glossy coat.

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