Is your dog stuck in bad hair mode? Are you wondering how to bring that natural gloss back to your canine friend’s fur?
No worries. We’ve got you covered, humans! Say goodbye to dull, lifeless and coarse hair. Soon you’ll be running your fingers through your pet’s luxuriant and soft fur.
Check out our tips on how to make your dog’s coat shinier and healthier.
First off, let’s talk food.
1. Yum! Quality food and a balanced diet
High-quality dog food contains the nutrients to keep your dog’s coat glossy and his skin healthy. Poor-quality food or improperly balanced homemade meals (such as a diet of pure chicken) will result in your pet getting too little of the nutrients he needs, and his coat will show it. Young dogs on very low-fat diets, for instance, have been known to develop coarse hair and irritated skin lesions.
Invest in reputable commercial dog foods, and watch out for low-fat diets.
2. Omega-6 isn’t just for your grandpa’s heart
Omega-6 fatty acids are important for keeping your dog’s coat shiny. Most high-quality dog food already contains this, provided it is stored properly. Leaving dog food exposed to open air for months will oxidize the fatty acids in it and make it ineffective.
To supplement your pet’s diet, you can add a spoonful (tsp. for small dogs and tbsp. for large ones) of safflower oil or sunflower oil to each meal. The oil must be fresh and not rancid.
3. Omega-3: Fish isn’t just for cats, either
Omega-3 fatty acids help with skin disorders your dog might have. Fish oil or flaxseed oil are good sources for this. The oil must be fresh in order for the fatty acids to take effect.
As with a lot of natural solutions, the effect isn’t instantaneous. It should take about 6 weeks for your dog’s skin and hair to improve after starting omega-3 supplements.
Pro-tip: Give your dog fatty acid supplements in moderation. Too much could upset your pet’s stomach and cause vomiting.
4. Quality treats mean happy—and shiny—dogs
An alternative to oils for supplementing your dog’s diet is quality pet treats. You can use them as small rewards throughout the day and they’ll make your canine buddy extremely happy.
Look for products with healthy natural ingredients, such as the Lily’s Kitchen brand. They’ll have the needed supplements to help make your dog’s coat shinier.
For your dog’s health (and even your own!), make sure you’re into the habit of reading all the labels and ingredients list of everything you put inside your grocery cart.
5. Herbal supplements if, you know, you want to get all organic and such
Most health buff owners are discriminating about what they feed their pets too. This means giving your canine buddies herbal supplements.
Horsetail is high in silica and helps maintain healthy fur, skin, and bones. Spirulina is rich in vitamin B and protein. Consult your vet regarding dosage.
Next, let’s talk hair.
6. Brush regularly: 100 strokes for your dog, folks
Do you regularly brush your dog’s fur? As a pet owner, you have to invest time in brushing your buddy’s mane.
Brushing your dog’s fur on a regular basis results in higher production of skin oils that keep his coat glossy, removal of dead hair and skin, and also energizes skin and hair follicles to encourage growth.
It also allows you to check your dog carefully for skin parasites. You don’t want to be sleeping next to a colony of parasites do you?
Parasites feed off the host and steal needed nutrients, causing fur to lose its gloss. Consult your vet if you discover any.
7. Bathe around once a month. Your dog, I mean.
Bathe your dog regularly, but not often (depending on how dirty he gets). Too-frequent washings remove the natural skin oils that make your dog’s coat shiny.
Select a mild, moisturizing shampoo, and an organic conditioner that won’t irritate your pet’s skin. Products that contain vitamin E are soothing for both the skin and hair. If you aren’t getting the results you want with your current brand, feel free to switch until you find a brand that goes well with your pet’s fur.
8. Coconut oil—eat it or wear it
Coconut oil taken externally or internally will help make your dog’s coat shinier. It moisturizes dry dog skin, fights infection, and is good for the coat.
You can opt to massage your dog’s coat and skin with coconut oil for a few minutes before or after giving him a bath. You may also include it in the bath itself by adding a few drops to the shampoo.
Giving your dog a teaspoon of coconut oil a day with his meal will also aid in his skin and coat health, as well as his digestion.
9. Oatmeal takes the itchies away
Does your dog have dry, irritated skin that he constantly scratches? Dogs can also lose the shine in their coats, not to mention wound themselves, when they scratch themselves too much.
Soothe him with an oatmeal bath. Mix as much finely ground oatmeal as you’d like in a tub of water and stir. Soak your pet in it for 5-10 minutes and pour some over his back. Rinse and gently pat dry afterwards.
An alternative to oatmeal baths for itchy or inflamed skin is supplements that contain EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Consult with your vet for dosage. (We prefer the oatmeal baths though because it’s a much simpler solution.)
Did you know that we humans use oatmeal baths for irritated and sunburnt skin too?
10. If all else fails, consult your vet
Tried everything and nothing works? Your pet’s dull coat could be a symptom of something more serious. Internal parasites like worms, for instance, can rob your pet of his needed sustenance and cause his coat to lose its shine.
Some skin diseases require carefully monitored dosages of supplements as well. To make sure, take your dog to your friendly neighbourhood vet for a checkup.
Here’s to seeing you make your dog’s coat shinier and healthier!