7 Tips for a Shiny & Glossy Dog Coat
Many people have asked me how our pup Django’s coat is so lustrous. So many, in fact, that I spoke to our vet to better understand (1) how to promote healthy and shiny coats (2) why some dogs’ coats are less glossy than others.
Food For Thought
The key factor for a glossy and shiny coat is diet. A balanced diet rich in protein and essential fatty acids (omega-3s, omega-6s) is most important for skin and coat health. If you already use a high quality commercial food, consider these add-ons:
Clean protein. A strand of hair is composed of mostly protein, so if one’s diet lacks sufficient protein, hair health will suffer. Fully-cooked chicken, turkey and fish are excellent sources of protein for dogs and can compliment a high quality commercial food diet. Try to avoid meat by-products, preservatives, and grains (corn, wheat, and soy) which are often used as food fillers and offer little nutritional value.
Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. For dogs and humans alike, omega-3 and omega-6 are saviors for the skin. Omega-3s fight inflammation, arthritis and help to relieve dandruff and other skin irritations. Omega-6 fats replace skin oils that keep skin looking young and hair shiny. Both can be found in many dog-friendly foods: salmon, sardines, tuna, anchovies and mackerel
Quick Tip: Try canned wild alaskan salmon or pre-packaged sardines. Both are affordable and easy options - no cooking required - and both can be found at local grocery stores
Eggs. Fully-cooked eggs are an excellent source of digestible protein, omega-3 fatty acids (in the yolk only), iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5 (among other disease-fighting nutrients). One egg every week or two is a fantastic nutritional add-on for your pup
Quick Tip: Don’t feel like waiting 10 minutes to boil eggs? Put an egg in a microwavable bowl, stir it up, and cook for 1 minute. Re-stir and cook for another 15-30 seconds until fully cooked
4 More Simple Steps For Glossy Hair
Brushing. Regular brushing helps distribute the natural oils in the skin to the coat, moisturizing the hair and leading to a shinier, glossier coat.
Limited bathing. According to our vet, the general rule of thumb is to bathe a healthy dog once a month with a mild dog shampoo or human baby shampoo (we use Johnson’s baby shampoo).
Oatmeal. Oatmeal cleanses skin, locks in moisture, and relieves itching. To make an oatmeal bath, grind a cup of oatmeal into fine pieces and add to warm bath water. Bathe your pup for 10-15 minutes, gently massaging the water into his hair or fur. Rinse fully.
Other nutritional supplements. Some people swear by dog-friendly omega-3 and omega-6 supplements. Please speak to your vet before adding these to your pup’s meal, as too many add-ons could cause indigestion or diarrhea.
What Causes a Dull Coat?
Keeping in mind that genetics and age do affect skin and coat health to an extent, the following factors are common culprits behind unusually dull locks:
- Low-quality commercial dog foods
- Improperly balanced homemade diet
- Ticks, fleas and other parasites
- Other health problems
Parasites like tapeworms, hookworms and roundworms can deplete your pup of key nutrients that help keep the coat shiny. Other health problems can similarly dull a dog’s coat, so always make sure your little one has a clean bill of health.
If your pup starts exhibiting extreme shedding or other unusual hair loss, contact your vet immediately.
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