BAD HAIR DAY… Tips for a healthy shiny coat
A dogs coat tells us more than just whether they are clean or not, it is a vital indicator of their overall health. If your dog is soft and shiny on the outside, they will be strutting their feel good demeanour all day long. Here are some tips to keep your pups coat in tip top shape to ensure they feel their best and never miss out on a snuggle session!
Tales of a healthy coat
If your pup has a healthy coat, the coat will be shiny and soft and their skin will have no irritation. When things start to go wrong you will notice your pups coat may become hard and brittle, it may lack the lustre it once had or you may notice your dog itching incessantly from dandruff or skin irritations. This is an indication to investigate further and find the underlying cause to your pups bad hair day.
Some potential causes to your pups coat crisis may include:
- Poor diet
- Fleas and ticks
- Naturally dry or oily skin
- Lack of Omega fatty acids
- Depression and boredom
- Overbathing or underbathing
- Thyroid disorders
If you can’t find the root cause yourself, it may be worth taking your pup to their vet to investigate further as some causes may have deeper underlying health concerns that will only be shown by a veterinary workup.
Diet tips for a healthy skin and coat
Enabling your dog access to a high protein, balanced diet is essential to the health of their skin and hair, after all “you are what you eat”. Product labels in Australia should clearly state the percentage of protein in a given food. Ideally protein should be listed as one of the first ingredients which shows it makes up the largest volume within the food. If you see grains and other fillers listed as the top three ingredients, you can probably assume that this is not a high protein diet and may be contributing to your pups lack lustre coat.
If you make your dogs food at home, some great ingredients to add shine to your pups coat include liver, peanut butter, eggs, chia seeds, chicken, coconut, yoghurt and oats (stay clear of the oats if your pup requires grain free or is on a low inflammatory diet).
There are a large range of supplements available for your dog and many times it can be just as confusing as choosing a supplement for yourself. Fish oils are a simple and effective supplement for a range of conditions and they are available in human health stores as well as pet stores plus they won’t break the bank! The Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in the fish oil acts as an anti-inflammatory for organs and joints, reduces itchy skin and dandruff and promotes a healthier shinier coat.
Grooming your pup for stardom
Grooming you dog correctly plays a large part in the overall health of their hair and skin. Plus it is a great bonding time for you and your dog and enables you both to relax. Brushing your dog is best done daily to ensure there is no build up of loose hair, dirt and other irritants. Use an all purpose brush suitable for your dogs coat length to ensure that the experience is enjoyable and you are not inadvertently scratching your pups skin.
How frequently you bathe your dog will be dependant on their breed, their coat length and your lifestyle. Make sure that you use a shampoo suitable for dogs and NOT humans, as the ph levels may affect their skins moisture. You may find that your pup requires a more gentle shampoo or one specific to a particular skin condition.
Living an active lifestyle with your pup means that they are going to get dirty and sandy on a regular basis. A great way to extend the life of your bath is simply to rinse your dog between baths and after activities such as beach runs or hikes to ensure their coat is free from irritants. You can also use deodorisers to keep them smelling fresh. The Happy Jack Co have a range of deodorisers available that are all natural and made right here in Australia.
The power of mental stimulation
When you feel good inside, it projects outwardly. Dogs can suffer depression the same as people and is often shown by excessive licking which leads to hair loss. Ensuring your dog is mentally stimulated will prevent destructive behaviour and keep them feeling mentally strong. “Hunting” a toy is primal to a dogs innate desire to hunt, conquer and feel powerful within themselves. Interactive dog toys are best because they will give squeak, a roll or a tug and keep you pup entertained for longer periods. Regular walks and exercise is also vital to your pups mental health and is a great opportunity for us to burn some calories too!
Some final thoughts
Your pups coat is a key indicator of their overall physical and mental health. Following these tips will ensure your pup feels great and is evidenced by a healthy shiny coat. If you find your pups coat is depreciating and you can’t find the root cause, be sure to visit your local vet as your pup may need a little extra help to get back to feeling their best.