FREE SHIPPING ON ALL U.S. ORDERS!

How to Promote a Shiny and Healthy Dog Coat

December 06, 2016 1 Comment

Tips for shiny and healthy dog coat and dog hair

Updated October 2019

The condition of your dog's coat is a good indicator of his or her health. Dog coat problems can be signs of an allergy, parasitic infection, or other serious underlying health condition. In this article we break down everything you need to know about dog coat health: what a healthy dog coat should look and feel like, signs and potential factors behind an unhealthy dog coat, and how to best promote a healthy dog coat in your four-legged best friend.

Coat Appearance in Healthy Dogs

Although dog coats vary widely in type and texture across dog breeds, the characteristics of a healthy dog coat are generally the same across every pup. A healthy dog coat is shiny and smooth. The fur or hair should be soft and glossy without being greasy.

Signs of an Unhealthy Dog Coat

Signs of an unhealthy dog coat include dog hair or fur that grows increasingly dull, faded, and limp. The coat may become increasingly dry, brittle, and coarse. The changes in your dog's coat may not happen overnight but occur over time. Old age aside, such symptoms can be a sign of malnutrition, allergy, illness, parasites, or other health problems. For these reasons, it is important to contact your vet as soon as you notice any changes in coat health.

Tips to Keep Your Dog's Coat Shiny and Healthy

Food For Thought

"You are what you eat" holds true for humans and dogs alike. Genetics aside, diet is the #1 external factor affecting dog coat health. 

A balanced diet rich in protein, essential fatty acids (omega-3s, omega-6s), and carbohydrates is key for dog skin and coat health. If you already use a high quality dog 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 and even online.
  • 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.

    LEARN MORE: HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST DOG FOOD

    Additional Ways to Promote a Healthy Dog Coat and Skin 
    • Brush daily. Regular brushing helps distribute the natural oils in the skin to the coat, moisturizing the hair and leading to a shinier, glossier coat.
    • Limit bathing. The general rule of thumb is to bathe a healthy dog once a month.
    • The right shampoo. Use an all natural, mild, and hypoallergenic dog shampoo or human baby shampoo. Consider shampoos with moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera and oatmeal. Avoid shampoos with added chemicals and toxic ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, synthetic fragrances, triclosan, and polysorbates.
    • 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 in the oatmeal solution for 10-15 minutes, gently massaging the water into his coat. 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 dog coat appearance to an extent, the following factors are common culprits behind dull locks:
    • Low quality dog food. Lower quality dog food makers often skimp on or completely exclude high quality animal protein sources. Instead, they opt for cheaper and lower quality alternatives like “animal digest”, “animal by-products”, “animal fat”, unspecified meat meals, corn, and rice flour. Dog food made with low quality ingredients will not give your pup the best nutritional profile and can ultimately affect his overall health and coat texture and appearance. Not sure which ingredients in dog food are good and bad? Here is a comprehensive resource for identifying the best and worst ingredients in dog food.
    • Improperly balanced homemade diet. Although making meals for your dog is a wonderful way to ensure quality and freshness of ingredients, please always speak to your vet before cooking to ensure you are including every essential nutrient your pup needs to stay healthy.
    • Ticks, fleas and other parasites. Parasites like tapeworms, hookworms and roundworms can deplete your dog of key nutrients that help keep his or her coat healthy and shiny.
    • Other illness or health problems. Other illness or disease can similarly dull a dog’s coat, so always make sure your little one has a clean bill of health by visiting your vet regularly.
    When to Visit the Vet

    If your dog has excessive shedding, sudden or unusual hair loss (i.e. bald spots), or shows other signs of ailing coat health, please arrange a wellness appointment with your veterinarian.

     

    Additional resources





    1 Response

    Dog  harness vest
    Dog harness vest

    September 27, 2022

    Article is good. Thanks for sharing

    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.


    Also in DJANGO Dog Blog

    13 BEST GIFTS FOR DOGS AND DOG LOVERS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
    13 BEST GIFTS FOR DOGS AND DOG LOVERS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

    November 30, 2022

    Need some holiday gift ideas for the dog parent in your life? Looking for the perfect present for a pandemic puppy or a frosty-faced senior dog

    We have rounded up the best gifts for dog lovers and dogs this year, including luxury dog accessories, "pawesome" household accessories, drool-worthy dog food and dog treats, and epic monthly dog toy subscription boxes. Our present picks are based on our own bestsellers, consumer reports, customer reviews, and product testing.

    View full article →

    DJANGO Dog Blog: Are fermented foods good for my dog? A Q&A with Dr. Billinghurst and Rob Ryan, the founder of GussysGut.com
    Gussy's Gut Q&A: Are fermented foods good for my dog?

    November 28, 2022

    What is been missing from dog diets ever since we started feeding them processed pet foods? Naturally occurring probiotics from whole foods, says Dr. Ian Billinghurst, the father of biologically appropriate, ancestral nutrition for dogs. Thirty years ago, he taught us about the evolutionary diet for dogs with his book, Give Your Dog a Bone. He also famously coined the term “BARF” (Biologically Appropriate RAW Food).

    In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we host Dr. Billinghurst and Rob Ryan, the founder of GussysGut.com for a conversation on good bacteria. Dr. Billinghurst and Rob Ryan also address why relying on probiotic supplements may not be the best long-term answer for our pups.

    View full article →

    Gussy’s Gut: Fermented Superfood that Promotes Dog Gut Health - DJANGO Dog Blog
    Gussy’s Gut: Promoting Dog Gut Health with Fermented Foods and the Superfood Topper

    November 16, 2022

    While interviewing Dr. Ian Billinghurst, the father of the raw dog food movement, we discovered he is the senior advisor to Gussy's Gut. Dr. Billinghurst came out of retirement to create the dog supplement company which produces a fermented and probiotic rich dog superfood topper called “Daily”.  He’s called the product “the single most important upgrade to canine nutrition in over 25 years.”

    They source the highest quality and most responsibly-sourced organic ingredients. The supplement is made from 19  superfoods that come from biodynamic, grass-fed, organic, and regenerative farms.

    Unlike raw vegetables, fermented foods like Gussy's Gut are easier for dogs to digest and their nutrients are more accessible to them. Studies show that dogs regularly given fermented foods often have fewer allergies, better blood sugar levels, and healthier stools.

    If you are considering adding a high-quality dog food topper to your pup's diet, or if you simply want to better understand the canine health benefits of fermented foods, this DJANGO Dog Blog article is for you. Here is our comprehensive overview of Gussy's Gut, the freeze-dried, probiotic rich dog food topper. 

    View full article →