Saying that a coat is glossy or shiny is often an indicator that your dog seems fit and healthy: the coat is the first thing we see and it’s how we assess a dog’s general health. But despite what you may think, maintaining your dog’s hair or fur certainly doesn’t have to be time-consuming, nor does it require constant trips to an expensive dog groomer.
Has Your Dog’s Coat Got You Feeling InFURior?
You and your best friend are strolling along your favorite hiking trail when you run into another human-dog couple walking towards you. You make eye contact, smile and nod… The dogs greet each other, maybe doing the butt-sniff thing that they tend to do. But this time you can’t help notice the shininess of the other dog’s coat. His wavy hair seems so smooth, glossy, and radiant in the sun.
“Your dog looks so healthy,” you compliment. “I wish I could take my dog to the groomer more often.” “Oh, I wish I could, too,” the dog’s human responds. “I just try to brush often.” You glance back at your own dog: in her eyes, you interpret a judgmental stare, blaming you for her coat envy. You just can’t shake that tinge of guilt for the rest of the hike.
The good news is, healthy fur isn’t rocket science and doesn’t have to take any more than 5-10 minutes a day of quality time with your furry BFF.
Is it Hair or Fur?
1. Grooming Your Dog’s Coat
Brush your dog’s coat on a regular basis
Estimated Time: 5 minutes a day (more for larger or longer haired dogs)
After playing in the great outdoors—or getting into the fridge in your house, for that matter—your dog can bring in debris such as dirt, leaves, and even foxtails and burrs. Brushing your dog will ensure that you can catch parasites such as fleas and ticks, and make sure that they’re not setting up shop on your dog and the rest of your house.
The easiest and best way to maintain your dog’s fur and skin is to brush often, and this can take only five to ten minutes a day (depending on the size of your dog and the fur volume). Use a soft brush to remove the regular dead skin and loose hairs: this will help increase production of natural skin oil that will make your dog’s coat glossy and shiny. Brush in the direction of the fur to distribute the oils and then use a comb to get rid of tangles.
Double bonus: Brushing will also help increase oxygen to your dog’s skin. Make sure to only use brushes specifically meant for dogs because they are specially designed to get rid of tangles, dander, and dead skin cells. Whether your dog is short-haired or long-haired, brushing often is key. For short-haired dogs, once every several days is enough. For long-haired dogs, daily brushing is recommended.
Limit her bathing and shampooing
Estimated Time: 20 minutes a month (40 seconds a day)
It may be surprising to know that the frequency of bathing and shampooing should be limited, especially during the colder months. If your dog is like many dogs and hates baths, then this should be a relief for her! Frequent bathing can unnecessarily dry out your dog’s skin.
A full shampoo bath should be done only when necessary in the drier winter months. Much of the time, a simple water bath can be enough. In general, washing your dog once a month is recommended.
It may be tempting to wash your dog more often, but remember that more bathing can lead to natural oils drying out, which often can lead to a duller coat.
2. Use an air humidifier near your dog’s bed at night
Estimated Time: almost 0 minutes a day
Here’s a simple trick: By having a humidifier working while your dog is sleeping, you’re keeping his or her coat healthy with no effort at all!
It’s also better for them if you don’t use room deodorizers or carpet cleaning products near where they sleep. Remember that your dog’s sleeping level isn’t as high up as your bed.
3. Diet plays the biggest role in the condition of their skin and coat
Estimated Time: almost 0 minutes a day
A nutritious, healthy diet is the most important factor in maintaining your dog’s skin and coat health.
No matter how diligent you are grooming her coat, without proper, optimal nutrition, your pooch just won’t be getting the shiny coat that would make both of you happy.
If you feel that more could be done to improve your dog’s coat, there are some simple steps you can take.
- Make sure the first ingredient in your dog’s food is protein. A dull coat is often the result of a poor diet or poor food quality. Dogs’ hair is about 90% protein, so it makes sense that feeding higher quality protein will improve your dog’s fur. When shopping for dog food, make sure that the first ingredient is a protein source, such as beef, chicken, or lamb. Avoid any foods where the first ingredient is anything other than protein, such as chicken meal, soy, or corn.
- Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for a glossy coat. Omegas have good anti-inflammatory effects that can be beneficial to many skin and coat issues. You can add small amounts of fish to your dog’s diet (raw or cooked). In about a week, you’ll see results. If your dog isn’t keen on fish, you can add a teaspoon (for small dogs) or a tablespoon (for big dogs) of fish oil or flaxseed oil into your dog’s usual food.
Treats are great for improving skin and coat health
Estimated time: 30 seconds a day (depending on how excited your dog gets)
Diet and supplements for a shiny dog coat are affordable and go a long way in maintaining good coat health. If it seems your dog can still use more of a boost, or if you’d just like a more convenient way to make her coat shine, then healthy treats are a way to go!
Make sure to choose treats that are healthy, natural and organic, use high-quality ingredients, and use the no-heat no-cook process, just like our Active Chews Omega Skin & Coat Treats for Dogs.
Taking care of the dog’s coat is one of the most important things to do to ensure good health. After their adorable faces, their hair or fur is probably their most noticeable feature.
Whether your dog has long or short hair, water repellent or double-coated, daily care is necessary for your dog’s health. Plus, you’d want your pooch looking and feeling her best!