Getting The Shine On
Taking care of your dog’s coat is a chore that’s often neglected, but it’s an important aspect of your pet’s care. The condition of a dog’s coat can be a barometer to his health. A lush, shiny coat is a joy to pet, and often implies good health, while a dull, brittle coat can indicate a problem, even in dogs with hard coats like the terriers. Conditions such as dry skin, hot spots, excessive scratching or chewing, and bald patches are telltale signs of a problem.
To begin to improve your dog’s coat, first bathe him in a mild herbal shampoo that is formulated for dogs. Don’t use human shampoos as the ph of a dog’s skin is not the same as human ph. Make sure that all the soap is rinsed off thoroughly. Even a little soap left on your dog can irritate his skin and dull his coat.
Brush your dog. Brushing your pet will distribute the oil in his fur and stimulate his skin as well. Brushing has the additional benefit of a bonding time with your dog, and he will love you for it. Long haired breeds should be brushed daily and short haired breeds every few days, or more as needed.
Investigate the nutritional quality of your dog’s food. Look at the ingredient list. Is the first item a quality protein such as chicken, lamb, or beef? Dogs need adequate protein to maintain their health and grain based foods can leave your dog wanting.
Adding a teaspoon to a tablespoon of oil to your dogs food may help his coat immeasurably. Vegetable and olive oils can help, but omega 3 oils are of great benefit, not only to his coat, but to his overall health. Dog’s diets, just as human diets, tend to fall short in omega 3 oils.
Making sure that your dog has enough stimulation can also help. Many dogs will bite or chew themselves when they are stressed out or bored. It’s important for them to have an outlet for their energy, and sufficient daily exercise can help alleviate the stress and improve your pet’s health. Leaving chew toys out while you are away from home may help relieve anxiety and boredom as well.
If you see no improvement after implementing these changes, it may be time for a visit to your veterinarian. There are many ailments that can affect a dog’s coat that need to be treated. Fleas, worms, fungal infections, allergies, hormonal problems, and even stress can all have an adverse effect upon your dog’s skin, which will show up in his coat. Your vet will be able to determine any conditions that need treatment and advise you further.