A shiny coat signals a healthy dog. While good nutrition and regular grooming are vital for achieving that glossy coat, supplements such as corn oil can benefit your dog’s appearance, too. Corn and other vegetable oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids can improve not only your dog’s coat but can also provide other health benefits for your canine companion.
Like humans, dogs need a certain amount of fatty acids for good health. While they can produce some of these fatty acids in their bodies, others can only be obtained through food. These fatty acids, typically referred to as essential fatty acids, include omega 6 and omega 3. Most commercial dog foods contain both types of fatty acids, but additional supplements can be given if your dog’s coat looks dull or feels brittle. "Vet on Call," a book of home remedies for dogs, also recommends corn oil for reducing the oiliness of a dog’s coat.
Linoleic acid -- one of the essential omega-6 fatty acids -- is specifically recommended for improving the appearance of your dog’s coat. In fact, some research suggests skin conditions that make the coat look dry or damaged may result from a lack of linoleic acid. According to an analysis published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, more than half of corn oil consists of linoleic acid, so adding 1 or 2 teaspoons to your dog’s dry food can increase the amount of this important fatty acid in her body.
Corn oil is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids, specifically linoleic acid. However, omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, can also be beneficial. Unfortunately, corn oil does not contain as much of the omega-3 fatty acids. According to the National Institutes of Health, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in corn oil is 46 to 1. Ideally, you want a more equal ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, so other types of vegetable oils, such as canola or olive oil, may be more effective supplements.
While essential fatty acids can help your dog's coat look healthier, these supplements can also provide additional health benefits. For example, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce arthritic joint inflammation, improve eye health and reduce the risks of heart problems. Other essential fatty acids can help the immune system function normally, which can help dogs who suffer from allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Omega-6 fatty acids may even be able to prevent puppies from developing allergies to pollen and mold.
- Dog Channel: Go for the Gleam in Your Dog's Coat by Dr. Joanne Healey Howl
- Dog Time: Dog Coat
- Vet on Call: The Best Home Remedies for Keeping Your Dog Healthy by Matthew Hoffman
- Pet Education: Omega Fatty Acids - Sources, Effects, and Therapeutic uses in Dogs
- National Institutes of Health: Essential Fats in Food Oils
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Food Uses and Health Effects of Corn Oil
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-5 Fatty Acids
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