1. Ensure protein is in their diet
Here are some tips to give your dog a shiny coat. A lacklustre and dull coat is often the result of a poor diet or poor quality food. Like human hair a dog’s coat is made up of roughly 90% protein, so when a diet is deficient in protein hair quality naturally suffers. When buying dog food look for foods that have a protein source as the first ingredient, you generally don’t want to go with something that has grains, preservatives or animal byproducts as the first or main ingredients. So for example it would be best to go with something that has chicken, turkey or lamb as the first ingredient rather than chicken meal, corn, soy or wheat.
Once your dog has a balanced diet with plenty of protein and amino acid content then they have the building blocks of the hair’s natural structure and should be on the path to shiny locks worthy of a hair commercial!
2. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are essential
Omegas have very good anti-inflammatory effects and can be beneficial for other skin problems too.
You can look for dog food that contains omega-3 fatty acids or you can add fish, fish oils or flaxseed oil to your dogs diet. If you’d like to use fresh fish then you can add a small amount (roughly two tablespoons for a medium dog) of raw or cooked fish (salmon, tuna or sardines are some of the tastiest options) to their diet to improve the dog’s coat. Around once a week will suffice to see results and it’s no harm to give your pooch such small amounts more frequently.
Adding flaxseed oil or fish oil to their diet by stirring one teaspoon into your dog’s food. Just make sure you only do either methods, not both, and make sure not to go overboard on the oil as too much can upset their stomach and lead to diarrhoea.
The omega-6 fatty acids also play a major role in the health of your dog’s coat and skin. A lack of these can lead to dry skin, hair loss and overall irritation. Supplements are widely available at your pet store or adding vegetable oils is also an option, which are a great source of omega-6 fatty acids, to your pooch’s diet can supplement the need for Omega 6. Adding a teapoon of sunflower oil, safflower oil or rapeseed oil per meal is easy to add into your daily feeding routine. The rough guideline is one teaspoon for a small dog and one tablespoon for a large dog.
3. Treats are great,make sure the ingredients are as well
If your dog had problems with oils or if you’d just like a more convenient alternative then healthy treats are an equally good way to work all the necessary ingredients into your dog’s diet. Make sure to use a healthy, natural and organic product and check that they use high quality ingredients. These three treats in particular would have your dogs coat gleaming and can be worked into their diet as reward treats.
Brushing your dog often is a major factor for a glossy coat. Brushing is vital to removing dead skin and hair, it stimulates the skin and hair follicles and this also increases the natural production of skin oils that make the coat glossy. This means you are routinely able to keep check on their coat and make sure no ticks, fleas or other parasites are setting up shop on your dog.
5. Bathing your pooch is very important
The trick with bathing your dog is not to do it too often so as not to strip the essential oils from their skin. How often depends on a number of factors;
- The type of fur they have
- The length of the coat
- How dirty they get
Here are some general guidelines:
- Dogs with an oily coat, like Basset Hounds, may need bathing as frequently as once a week.
- Many short-haired breeds with smooth coats, such as Beagles and Weimaraners, do just fine with less frequent baths. Short-coated Basenjis are fastidious in their personal hygiene and rarely need a bath.
- Breeds with water-repellent coats, such as Golden Retrievers and Great Pyrenees, should be bathed less often so as to preserve their natural oils.
- Dogs with thick, double coats — such as Samoyeds, Malamutes, and other Northern breeds — do best with fewer baths and a lot of extra brushing (which gets rid of loose, dead hair and helps distribute natural oils that keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy).
A good general recommendation is once a month. Now you may be tempted to wash your dog weekly but this could actually be what is making your dog’s coat dull as you’re striping away the oils too often.
If given an alternative use natural products that won’t cause any skin irritation. For shinier coat use a moisturising dog shampoo and follow up with a natural conditioner afterwards (conditioners that contain vitamin E are soothing to the skin and hair).
6. Sooth dry and itchy skin with an oatmeal bath
Skin problems can be the cause of a dull coat as they lead to excessive itching and irritation the skin. To relived irritable skin try an oatmeal bath, it can help sooth the skin, tame itching, and it contains vitamin E that will leave the coat soft and shiny.
Grind as much oatmeal as you’d like in your blender/food processor until a flour-like consistency is reached, then fill your sink or a tub with lukewarm water, add the powder and stir until the water goes cloudy. Pop your pooch in the bath, pour the mix down their back and head and then allow them to soak for ten minutes (or if your dog doesn’t love bath time then 5 minutes will do). Finally rinse them off, pat dry and bask in the softness of their gorgeous coat.
7. Ask your Vet for advice
If your dog is persistently plagued with flaking and itchy skin it could be vet time!
Many medical issues exist that can affect the overall health of your dogs coat. Parasites (like roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms) fleas and ticks, infections and kidney or thyroid conditions can all drain your dog of the key nutrients for a healthy coat. One sign of fleas, fungus or a bacterial infection can be when a foul or strong musky odour remians on dry fur even after your dog has been bathed.
Also a chronically unhealthy coat could be emotional problems such as stress or anxiety.