Written by Ella White
You can often tell a lot about a dog’s health by their coat. So if you’ve been noticing your pet’s isn’t as shiny as usual, it could be an indicator that something’s up – or just that they need a little extra care. You’ll be able to spot when your dog’s fur isn’t as shiny or smooth as usual, or if their skin feels abnormally greasy, bumpy, or dry.
In this blog we will explore the nutrients, supplements, and other care that will help keep your dog healthy, and their coat silky and tangle-free.
Even on wire-haired breeds, a dog’s coat should be soft to the touch and never brittle or smelly. So it doesn’t matter what kind of dog you own, or what kind of coat they have. The key to keeping them at their best – and to spotting any issues – will be largely the same.
They key elements to consider when thinking about how to keep your dog’s coat healthy are:
As with humans, the skin is the largest organ of your dog’s body. Skin cell turnover happens rapidly, and since most of a dog’s skin is covered in hair it’s important to keep both skin and hair healthy through a balanced diet that’s high in protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Think of it just like your own skin and hair – you know that an unhealthy diet leads to lank hair and bad skin. And the same goes for your dog.
Good quality foods are easier for your dog to digest, which means they will be more easily able to benefit from all the nutrition in the ingredients. This goodness will be seen in the quality of their skin and coat, so if they’re not getting the right nutrition, their kidneys and liver are unable to eliminate waste and you might notice a dull, dry coat.
The first port of call should be to consult a vet to rule out larger health issues. There are a number of diseases and illnesses that can affect the appearance and quality of their fur and skin.
So if you have any concerns, a vet will be able to help you rule out any of the following issues:
Similarly, skin issues and allergies can affect your dog’s coat and can be treated using allergy supplements and medications from your vet.
While a healthy and balanced diet that’s packed with nutrition should be enough to help restore the quality of your dog’s coat, there are certain ingredients and supplements that can be added to their diet for further assistance.
Healthy fats found in animal protein and many vegetables are key to keeping your dog’s coat healthy. Most dog foods should contain the right level of fatty acids to keep your pet’s coat looking great, but if you’re feeding them a low-fat diet or low-quality food you might notice that its shine is dulled.
By monitoring the level of healthy fats your dog eats, you should be able to keep their coat sleek and their skin supple and avoid any dryness or itchy patches.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid usually found in fish and other oils. They’re known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used to soothe allergies or heal skin diseases and disorders. But you shouldn’t wait until your dog has a skin problem to check their Omega-3 intake. A healthy, balanced diet should already be rich in Omega-3 ingredients like fish and flaxseed oil.
Omega-6 is another kind of fatty acid usually found in natural oils. It’s great for a dog’s skin and coat, so if their regular food doesn’t contain enough of it there’s any easy way to rectify the issue from home (while you look for a more nutritional dog food).
Simply stir a teaspoon of sunflower or safflower oil into their meal right before they eat. Leaving oils exposed to the air can oxidize them and undo the goodness that’s contained in fresh oil.
Vitamins A and E are known to contain properties that are beneficial for the skin and hair. Foods rich in these vitamins can be used to treat allergies, but also to maintain a healthy coat and skin in all dogs.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one supplement designed to keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy – whether they suffer from disorders or not – Front of the Pack’s Soothe might be the solution. It’s made with Omega-3 fish oil to nourish dry, itchy skin and restore inflammatory balance, postbiotics that support a strong and healthy gut microbiome and reinforce healthy skin, and protein-rich egg membrane to promote healthy immune response.
All dogs need grooming. It removes dirt, parasites, loose hairs, and dead skin cells: all of which can lead to poor quality skin and coat if not looked after. Brushing your dog’s coat regularly also helps to distribute the natural oils found in their fur, so it will look sleeker and glossier all over.
Checking your dog’s fur daily not only helps keep it clean and in good condition, but will also help you notice any changes like fleas, lumps, or sensitive areas on your dog’s body.
How often your dog visits a professional groomer, however, depends on the type of coat. Longer or curlier coats should be brushed daily and treated professionally more often than those with shorter hair. Some owners even choose to bathe their dogs from home when their coat becomes naturally dirty or smelly. This keeps them clean, and also means they won’t be ingesting any extra nasties when self-cleaning.
If you do bathe your dog at home, be sure to use a specially-formulated dog shampoo. This is softer than human shampoo, as dogs have more sensitive skin and a different pH to us.
Like humans, dogs can suffer from dry skin in cold, dry climates. So in winter you should pay attention to their coat and potentially take more care to groom them during this kind of weather. Others might suffer from allergies during spring, similar to how humans often develop hay fever and other pollen allergies during this time. This can cause itching for dogs, which can be soothed by supplements and other dermatological medications.
If your dog is allergic to fleas, ticks, and other parasites that can affect them during wet times of year, be sure to keep an eye on their coat for insects – especially after walks. A vet will be able to advise whether your dog needs a change of diet, prescription drugs, or another remedy for their allergies.
But, as we’ve already mentioned, professional help should be your first turn if you do notice any changes to your dog’s coat. It might be that they need a wash, more fatty acids in their diet, or are suffering from allergies. But at worst, a poor-quality coat could be a sign of something more serious.