How to keep your dog's coat healthy and shiny

Wellbeing

We can all have bad hair days from time-to-time but when it comes to your dog, did you know that the state of their coat can tell you a lot about their health and wellbeing? Short, curly, wiry or long – whatever your canine’s fur may be, it is important to understand the optimum state for your dog’s coat so that you can help them maintain it. A dull or lifeless coat can be a sign of an allergy, skin irritation or potentially even a nutritional deficiency which could have greater impacts on your dog’s health later down the track.

What are the things you can do to keep your dog’s mane at its best? Here are some tips that will leave your dog feeling all #shinyhairdontcare in no time.

A balanced diet made from real food

The key element to maintaining a healthy, shiny coat is your dog’s diet and understanding exactly what goes into your dog’s bowl is crucial to optimising their coat health. Low-quality commercial pet food or a diet that isn’t nutritionally balanced could be a sign that your dog isn’t getting the right nutrients that it needs. Commercial pet food is often made from cheap, bulk grain fillers (such as corn, soy and beet pulp) that offer little nutritional value for your dog and can also cause coat irritation and allergies. Additionally, the essential fatty acids in dry kibble are also prone to oxidation, so feeding your dog fresh food can play a big part in determining what nutrients they actually absorb from their meals. While one option is to supplement your dog’s existing diet with skin & coat enhancing supplements, always consult a professional in relation to the dosage, as too much zinc or Vitamin A can cause problems if they are over-supplemented over a long period of time.

For optimal skin and coat health, the best option is to change a dog’s diet to nutritionally balanced and fresh meals made from hypoallergenic ingredients and the perfect blend of Omega 3 & 6 oils, Vitamins A, B & E and Zinc. Together, these micronutrients will help to reduce any skin irritation and will keep your dog’s skin healthy and coat shiny. In addition to a healthy coat, a fresh nutritionally balanced diet also has a whole heap of other health benefits for your dog.

Establish a bathing routine

Getting into a habit of bathing your dog regularly will really promote coat health whilst also making sure that your pup is cuddle-ready at all times! How often you should bathe your dog will depend on their breed – some dog’s have skin that only needs to be washed every month or so while others need more regular baths! It is important to research the appropriate bathing schedule for your dog but also tailor it to your dog’s needs by monitoring their skin & coat – washing your dog too often can strip the natural oils from their coat and result in dryness while on the other hand, not bathing them enough can result in build up of dead skin cells (and not mention a smelly coat)!

Be sure to always use dog shampoo (no matter how expensive your human shampoo is!) and if possible, try to pick a hypoallergenic, natural dog shampoo with oatmeal or aloe vera as the key ingredient.

Regular brushing goes a long way

No matter what type of coat your furry friend has, most dogs shed throughout the year and regular brushing and de-shedding is one of the easiest things you can do to maintain a healthy coat. Doing this regularly means that you will always have a close eye on your dog’s coat making sure that parasites, ticks or fleas don’t set up shop!

Once your pup’s coat is healthy and their fur shiny and soft, not only will it lead to more cuddles all around but it’s also a great way to stay on top of your dog’s health and wellbeing.

Image: @paulthecorgi

About the author

Andrew is a certified canine nutritionist with a passion for helping all dogs live longer, healthier and happier lives through proper nutrition, care and owner education. Currently a doting Dad to Daisy, a loveable Golden Retriever. Over the years he has loved and cared for Australian Terriers, Border Collies and a particularly sweet Maltese Shih-Tzu.