by Jessi Larson
An important part of being a pup parent is making sure your dog is in good overall health. One highly noticeable way to gauge a dog’s well being is by their coat. Is it healthy and shiny or dull and lifeless?
Unlike humans who might just be having a bad hair day, a dog’s coat reflects their overall health and is a little more complicated than you might think.
What can you do to keep your dog’s mane looking good? Here are four easy tips.
1. Bathe your dog regularly
What’s the magic number for how often you should bathe your dog? Generally, it’s about once a month.
Washing your dog more often than this strips the natural oils out of their coat and causes dryness, leading to a dull-looking appearance. On the other hand, not bathing them enough adds build-up.
When giving your dog a bath, be sure to thoroughly rinse out the shampoo. If left in, it can irritate the skin and make the fur look lifeless.
2. Practice good grooming
Experts recommend grooming your dog’s coat every few days, no matter what fur type or length.
To get started, find a comb or brush that’s appropriate for your dog’s breed, size and fur type. Brushing gets rid of tangles, dander and dead skin cells, which is so important.
For some dogs, however, a good ‘ol professional grooming session is needed from time to time, and that’s totally OK.
In addition to brushing, we also use a deshedding brush on our dog Toby. This strips out loose fur and leaves the coat nice and shiny. As a bonus, you’ll have less dog hair around the house!
We use this deshedding tool but any model will do.
3. Look at their diet
You know that saying, “we are what we eat”? That applies to dogs, too.
Nutritious, quality dog food is incredibly important to maintaining a shiny and healthy coat.
Always check out online reviews of food, read the labels and consult with your vet to get their opinion on your dog’s chow.
4. Add omega fatty acids
Another great way to add extra shine to your dog’s coat is by adding extra omega fatty acids to their diet, like omega-6 or even omega-3.
Without boring you too much, here’s a quick rundown on both, with info courtesy of 1800 Pet Meds:
- Omega-6 is the go-to fatty acid for promoting healthy skin and achieving a shiny coat. Another benefit is that it helps to fight infection. Foods rich in omega-6 include vegetable oils like sunflower oil or safflower oil.
- Omega-3 works to control inflammation, ease arthritis pain and boost your dog’s mood. It is found in fish and fish oil as well as chia seeds, flaxseed and several other substances and can be a big benefit to your dog’s overall health.
You can give your dog these supplements in the form of either a soft chew tablet or a liquid. But just make sure you don’t add too much fatty acid to their diet, lest a tummy ache. And always consult your veterinarian ahead of time.
What if your dog’s coat is looking dull?
Despite your best efforts, sometimes a dog’s coat just looks dull and dingy. According to Web MD, the most likely culprit in this scenario is diet – but not always. The answer could be more complicated.
If you’re doing all of the above and your dog still has issues with their coat, check to see if they are feeling unwell. Do they have any sores? Have they been acting strangely?
Another thing to look for is parasites, like fleas or ticks. Majorly gross, we know. But it can happen.
To check, run your fingers through your dog’s coat to look for black dots, aka flea droppings. If you find this, go to your vet right away. These critters rob your dog of important nutrients and damage their coat, and must be removed asap.