Does your dog’s coat look like it needs a bit of attention? Sometimes Fido’s coat can look less than glamorous after jumping in puddles and rolling in unpleasant things. There’s lots of reasons for a dog’s coat not looking its best.
It could be down to the owner not grooming and brushing their fur enough, but it can also be because of lifestyle, stress and diet. Dogs coats are a bit like our skin in that if we are healthy inside and out, or skin will usually be more radiant.
What does a healthy coat look like?
A healthy coat will be nice and shiny but not greasy, will have a normal doggy smell and be fairly smooth (apart from wire haired dogs). Signs that your dog’s coat is a little under the weather include flaky skin, greasy fur, a strong odour, extremely dry hair or very brittle fur. Skin conditions and bald spots can also be a sign of a coat that needs a bit more care and attention.
We have spoken to a few dog groomers who know their stuff, and come up with some super handy tips to help your dog look amazing. Here’s our guide to keeping your dog’s coat in tip top condition.
One of the best things you can do to keep Fido looking flash is brush regularly. How often you need to brush your dog depends on their breed and coat type. Dogs with thick double coats such as German Shepherds and Alaskan Malamutes for example may need to be brushed daily, whereas labs and golden retrievers might be OK with a good brush once or twice week.
Don’t allow your dog’s coat to become matted, as this will make it much tougher to brush them and it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Brushing your dog regularly gets rid of any knots and dead hair that can build up. It also helps to remove any dirt or debris that gets into their coat.
Try and get your dog used to being brushed and groomed from a young age so that they are easier to groom and don’t become fearful.
The right diet
Your dog’s diet can have a huge impact on how bright and healthy their coat looks. The food they eat can make them healthy both inside and out. Dog’s that don’t have enough protein in their diet can start to have issues with their nails and hair.
If your pooch is looking less than fantastic and their coat needs some tlc, then you might want to get them some special food. Many dog food brands offer specialised dog food that’s great for your dog’s coat. These foods contain ingredients that are beneficial for Fido’s coat, and can get them back to looking their best in no time.
Don’t change your dog’s diet right away, slowly introduce the new food so they don’t suffer with tummy troubles. Simply changing what you feed your dog can have dramatic effects on their appearance.
A good bath every now and then
If your dog is looking a bit shabby, then a good old bath can revive a dull coat. It will also help to remove dirt and make them look cleaner and healthier. However, it’s important not to wash your dog’s coat too often as it can mess with the natural balance of oils in their coat.
Only wash them when they really need it and make sure you use a high quality, natural shampoo with a luscious scent. There’s nothing better than a freshly washed dog, until they instantly jump in a big mud puddle! Take care to wash all the shampoo off your dog’s skin and coat, as leaving soap on them can cause skin irritations.
Try a blaster
You can get special dryers for dogs. Not only do they help to dry your dog much quicker, but they can make your dog’s coat look amazing. They are very powerful and really blast away dead hair, leaving their coat looking like they have had the best blow dry ever!
However, these blasters can be scary and make dogs nervous, so take care when using them. Read the manufacturer’s guidelines, and you might also want to ask your groomer how to use them properly. Don’t blast the air in your dog’s face and check that it doesn’t get too hot.
Adding some fatty acids to your dog’s diet can help to add some pizazz and shine to your dog’s coat. High quality dog foods will often contain some fatty acids in their ingredients.
As well as their normal food, you can try giving them oily fish such as tuna, sardines and salmon. Make sure you feed them in small amounts and introduce them slowly if your dog hasn’t eaten them before. These foods can make your dog’s coat look more shiny, luscious and thick as well as soothe skin conditions.
Coconut oil is also supposed to be really beneficial for a dog’s skin and coat, and general health. Check with your vet before giving it to your dog, and again, introduce it slowly and only ever give small amounts. It can be added to their food or topically to their skin, and it also helps heal wounds. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides which are a good source of fat and can help support their immune system, digestion and metabolic function.
Regular health checks
As well as grooming your dog, it’s also important to give them regular health checks. You can ask your vet to do a health check on your dog, and you can also do it yourself on a regular basis. Check your dog’s coat and feel all along their body to check for any lumps and bumps, parasites or skin issues. This will enable you to spot problems early and rectify any problems that are having an impact on your dog’s coat. Grooming your dog is useful because it helps you to notice things that you otherwise wouldn’t.