After a long day of work or school, nothing beats the feeling of coming home, curling up on the couch, and snuggling up with your soft and fluffy dog. Stroking your hand across a shiny and silky coat really can melt the day’s troubles away. Lately, have you noticed that your dog’s coat has lost some of its luster or feels more coarse than usual? Your loyal companion’s coat may need a little extra TLC.
Wapiti Labs understands how vital it is to keep every aspect of your dog’s body healthy and strong. If you want to learn how to maintain your dog’s healthy coat, it’s important to know a little about the causes and signs of an unhealthy coat first.
Your Dog’s Coat Is a Reflection of Health
Just like their humans, dogs are prone to having an occasional “bad hair day” with tangles and the like, but if your dog’s hair looks drab it may indicate that he or she has an underlying health issue. Since dogs don’t have the ability to communicate certain signs and symptoms of serious medical problems, such as thyroid imbalances, diabetes, or Cushing’s syndrome, the health of their coat can be a potentially life-saving indication of health.
Poor Health and Your Dog’s Coat
When your dog is unwell, the body works hard to protect the vital organs, such as the brain and heart, first. As a result, organs like the skin are depleted of nutrients. When this occurs, the skin may become dry, and the coat may feel coarse and brittle. Although various diseases and deficiencies affect a dog differently, the coat is often one of the first organs affected.
Signs of an Unhealthy Coat
It’s important to keep in mind that the appearance and quality of a dog’s coat depend on some significant factors such as breed and the frequency of grooming. Despite varying factors that can determine the appearance, feel, and quality of a dog’s coat, some of the most common signs of an unhealthy coat include the following:
- Dull in Color, Lacking Shine
- Coarse and Brittle
- Hair Loss (Different from Regular Shedding)
- Skin is Flaky, Greasy, Bumpy, or Irritated
If your dog exhibits any of these signs, it’s a good idea to contact your veterinarian as soon as you are able. Although there are several easy ways to maintain a healthy coat, you should receive professional advice on how to fix a troublesome coat. By visiting the vet, you should be able to get to the root of the issue rather than play a dangerous and confusing guessing game.
Providing the Right Food
Want your dog to have a shiny and soft coat? Give your four-legged friend adequate nutrition. You may give your pup a blend of homemade kibble or have him or her on a diet to help control weight. Whatever diet you and your vet decide on, it’s important to make sure it’s high-quality and well-balanced.
Head to your local pet specialty store or even the grocery store and you’ll probably be overwhelmed by all of your dog food options. Each one seems to promise something better than the other and when it comes down to it, doesn’t your dog just need food? If in doubt, talk to your veterinarian or an expert in the store. Although dog food can be expensive, try to avoid buying the very inexpensive blends, as they may not have all the adequate nutrients.
When selecting a high-quality dog food, your options may continue to be overwhelming, but according to the American College of Veterinary Dermatology, you want to find a blend that has essential fatty acids, like omega-6, as fatty acids are important to the health of your dog’s skin and coat.
Avoid Bathing Your Dog Too Much
Some of the most loving, well-intentioned dog owners, who have had dogs in their lives for decades, make the mistake of bathing their beloved pup too frequently. It’s an easy mistake to make. After all, who doesn’t love the smell of a fresh and clean dog? If your dog smells, his or her coat may be the culprit, and it’s often a buildup of bacteria and oil. A bath should usually eliminate the odor.
If your dog’s coat continues to stink, avoid the temptation to bathe it too often as this could make a skin issue worse. As a general rule, a bath every few weeks should be plenty. When it comes to selecting dog shampoo, talk to your vet about what works best. Some dog owners use a regular dog shampoo while others use one with colloidal oatmeal or tea tree oil.
Just like bathing, your dog’s need for grooming will depend on his or her coat and skin, as well as the type of breed. For instance, some dogs with a “silky” coat may benefit from daily brushing while other dogs may only need to be brushed once a week. Brushing can help distribute natural oils, remove dead skin, and circulate blood flow.
Having the right tools, such as brushes and combs, can make all the difference, so talk with your vet or find a trusted groomer in your area for advice. Although your dog can benefit from home grooming, you (and your dog) may be more comfortable working with a groomer who can work quickly, calmly, and efficiently.
Grooming and bathing only do so much for your dog’s skin and coat. Even with a high-quality dog food, your favorite canine may be missing some important vitamins and minerals for its skin and coat. There are many pet supplements on the market that promote healthy skin, but it’s best to find one that is multi-purpose. Mobility and Strength products from Wapiti Labs contain Elk Velvet Antler and natural herb extracts to help keep your dog’s entire body healthy.
When your pup’s coat is soft and shiny, not only are they more fun to cuddle with on the couch, but you can be confident that they’re healthier and happier too.
Call or message us today for more methods of keeping your dog in top shape!