Just like people, good skin and coat health is vital to the overall health of a dog. Not only does a dog with a clean, shiny coat look healthier, it can be a key indicator of the overall health and comfort of a dog. The effort required to achieve a healthy skin and coat varies significantly between breeds with some requiring little to no care and others requiring daily attention. The basics of a healthy skin and coat boil down to two essentials – grooming and nutrition.
– Grooming –
Regular grooming, especially in periods of shedding (or blowing) coat, is very important to maintaining a healthy coat. The best strategy is to establish a regular grooming schedule as a puppy and to stick with it throughout the dog’s life. This not only trains the dog to tolerate – and even enjoy – brushing, but also trains the caregiver to do so at a regular interval. In times of heavy shedding, coats may need to be brushed daily to help in the removal of the hair.
Brush selection relative to the type and length of hair on the dog is vitally important. If the brush bristles are too short, the undercoat will not be stimulated and will mat. If the bristles are too long, they may injure the skin. The best way to pick out a good brush is to confer with your groomer or a specialist at a pet store who understands the specific needs of the dogs breed and your chosen grooming style.
There is no hard and fast rule for how often to bathe a dog, although it must be done regularly. The best way to determine the need for a bath is to observe if the coat is dirty, too oily or smelly (from too much accumulation of sebum oils). Bathing too often risks drying out the skin and coat, so don’t overdo it. Dry shampoos are available for an easier bathing solution between professional grooming too.
– Nutrition –
Key To Skin & Coat Health
As a major component of the body’s immune system, the skin is metabolically highly active and places significant demands on bodily nutrition.
A complete, balanced diet is required for the overall health of a dog, and this includes the coat. A healthy animal requires a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and calories to be at their best. While healthy fats are beneficial throughout the body, they are especially important in nourishing the skin and protecting the coat. Be sure to choose a balanced dog food that includes the proper proportions of quality, healthy fats. A good way to ensure that your pet is getting a sufficient supply is to supplement their diet with a quality skin and coat supplement that contains healthy plant based fats, like those from coconut or omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish oils.