A dog’s coat is just about the most reliable way of assessing your dog’s general health. A glossy, shiny coat is a sign of a healthy dog so it’s an important thing to monitor.
The main factors involved in caring for your dog’s coat are:
• Skin care
• Stress/Emotional well-being
Regular grooming is essential in order to keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny. Brushing is the most important part of the grooming routine so ensure that you are aware of the right brush or comb to use for your dog’s coat and how often you need to be brushing them, as this varies according to breed/type of coat.
You can either take care of the grooming routine yourself, if you have the time to spend or you could look up a reputable professional groomer.
A healthy dog should not be very smelly. That ‘dog smell’ is caused by a build-up of bacteria and oils. Some oil in the coat is necessary, as it works as a protective film. It’s a good idea to give your dog a bath about once a month to get rid of the bacteria and dirt build-up. Any more than once a month can cause the skin to become dry and irritated, however, so no need to bathe them more frequently. Ensure you use a suitable shampoo for dogs.
Brush your dog’s coat at least once or twice a week, depending on their type of coat. This will untangle hair, stimulate oil production and rid the coat of loose bits of dirt, dry skin and creepy crawlies. It’s also an enjoyable bonding activity for you and your pooch!
A poorly coat is also sign of a bad diet, so ensuring that your dog has a balanced diet and is ingesting all the right protein, fat, vitamins and minerals they need to maintain a healthy coat and skin is important for their overall good health.
Make sure you have researched exactly what kind of food your dog’s breed requires and in what quantities, and how often. Invest in a quality dog food such as Simpsons Premium, that is nutrient rich and contains high quality ingredients.
Vets suggest that the most significant nutritional components in maintaining healthy coats and skin are fatty acids and amino acids. Dog hair is largely made of protein so a dull and lifeless coat is a sure sign that they’re not getting enough protein.
Skin care is naturally part of the grooming routine, as a dog with a healthy coat should naturally have healthy skin underneath it.
Illness, stress and poor diet can affect the health of a dog’s skin so it’s important to keep a close eye on whether your dog’s skin is clean and supple, and to look out for infestations, sore, red, flaky or lumpy patches of skin as this will indicate an underlying health problem.
Take your dog for regular health check-ups, don’t over bathe them, keep their fur free of pests such as fleas, ticks, mites and other parasites that will cause irritation and skin problems.
Just like humans, a dog’s emotional state can become very obvious in their physical appearance. Stress and unhappiness can cause your dog’s coat to become unhealthy and develop bald patches (although this is also a symptom of several serious health problems, so keep any eye!) or strong odours and other ailments.
Assess your dog’s environment if they are showing signs of stress and eliminate any factors that might be contributing to their condition.
Take them out for lots of lovely long walks, spend plenty of time bonding with them, keep things calm and relaxed at home and check to see if anything in the garden or outdoor areas is upsetting them, like a predator or trespasser.
Take care that they get plenty of exercise, time off the leash and lots of opportunities for training and obedience games. These are all things that dogs need to reduce their stress levels and feel happy in life.
And as we’ve said before, a happy and healthy dog will have a good healthy coat. It’s up to you to help them stay that way.
Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions about good nutrition.