Archive for May, 2010

Dog Coat Care Tips

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Giving your dog a shiny coat isn’t just about beauty. A shiny coat is the result of your dog being healthy. And all dogowners want a healthy dog…right? So how do you keep your dog’s coat healthy and handsome? Use these tips from the experts to keep your dogs’ coat glowing — and growing.

Nutrition

Like humans, dogs are only as healthy as what they eat, says Michael Weiss, a veterinarian at All Creatures Veterinary Care Center in Sewell, N.J. Two things to look for in your dog’s food:

Protein. If your dog lacks this vital nutrient, its body will dedicate protein to muscle first, leaving its fur and skin dry and dull. Make sure your dog’s food is rich in protein.

Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. These essential building blocks keep your dog’s coat healthy, thick and lustrous. They may also help reduce itching, dandruff and allergy-related skin problems. On the ingredients panel, look for fish oil, fish meal or flax, all excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Exercise

Exercise not only keeps your dog slim, it may also help keep her fur in top condition. Weiss says regular exercise benefits your dog’s overall health — and a healthy dog is more likely to have a healthy, shiny coat.

Grooming

The fact is you can’t keep your dog from shedding. But with a few key products and techniques, you can easily take great care of your dog’s coat at home to keep it looking its best:

Brush at least once a week. In order to keep your dog’s mane manageable, give the fur one good brush each week with a de-shedding brush to get out the undercoat, says New York City-based groomer Lisa Caputo from the dog service company Biscuits and Bath. Part the hair and brush from the skin out to avoid matting, moisture and heat build-up, which can cause yeast and bacteria. For an even slicker look, give your dog a quick brush every day.

Bathe with gentle shampoos and conditioners. If your dog has sensitive skin, try a hypoallergenic or oatmeal shampoo. Caputo recommends washing your pooch every four weeks.

Vet Visit

If you notice your dog has consistently itchy, uncomfortable skin or is shedding more than usual, your best bet is to take him to a veterinarian. “There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and each dog is different,” says Weiss. “It could be something as small as a food allergy to a more serious problem, like ringworm.”