By Barking Good Grooms, Sep 9 2014 07:16PM
Healthy Coat for Our Santa Barbara Dogs
By Barking Good Grooms
A shiny coat is a sign of a healthy dog. Diet is a large part of your dog's routine that greatly affects his/her health. Although bargain brands save you money now you end up paying for that later in vet bills and supplements. If your dog's skin and coat seem itchy and dry be sure to check your dog food ingredients for essential fatty acids. Fatty acids can also help with arthritis, allergies, autoimmune conditions, yeast infections, and cancer; and are beneficial to the eyes and heart as well as the coat. Adding one tsp to a tbs of olive oil to your pet's food will help ensure a healthy coat. Coconut oil may also help with skin conditions.
When bathing your dog its best to use an oatmeal shampoo unless directed otherwise by your vet. Oatmeal contains vitamin E which is a natural softener. Conditioner will help as well. Be sure to massage into coat before rinsing it out. Shampoos and conditioners that are coconut based are recommended because they lather up naturally versus other products that have a chemical placed in to create an unnatural lather. Keep to a routine and pay attention to your dog's skin to know when it’s the best time for another bath. Talk to your dog groomer about what shampoos and conditioners could be used as well as how frequently your pet should be bathed.
Brushing your dog will assure the natural oils of the skin are spread throughout the length of the coat. How often you need to brush depends on the breed of the dog. Dogs that shed should be brushed about three times a week. Long haired dogs like Maltese should be brushed daily to prevent tangles and mats. Others would be fine with once a week; however brushing your dog everyday is perfectly fine for your pet. Brushing also stimulates the blood vessels in the skin, improving circulation so more nutrients can reach the hair follicle. This time spent with your dogs also strengthens your bond and gives you the opportunity to check the overall health. Keep an eye out for hot spots, other skin conditions that should be checked out by a vet as well as new lumps or bumps that would cause concern.
Exercise improves your dog’s circulation, which results in more beneficial nutrients reaching the hair follicles, leading to a healthier coat. Stress also contributes to a dull coat. Long walks and plenty of playtime significantly reduce your dog’s stress level. In addition, many dogs exhibit detrimental, excessive licking as a result of boredom and separation anxiety, both of which you can decrease by lots of exercise.
Fleas are another thing that could affect your dogs’ skin and coat as well as overall health. Left untreated it can cause a chain reaction of fleas, worms, mites, hot spots, digestive problems, anemia and more. Spot on treatments may work for your dog, but I have personally found that oral pills provided by my vet to be much more affective. A treated dog put into a flea infested environment makes it tough to resolve the problem. Be sure to keep carpets vacuumed, dog bed washed and clean, as well as any other fabrics your dog comes into contact with. If you did get an infestation I recommend treating your house and yard. All or most pet stores carry products that will rid fleas of your dogs’ environment. Remember each flea lays up to fifty eggs a day so the longer you put it off the more work you’ll give yourself to get rid of the infestation. Also remember that you usually only see one out of every hundred fleas that are actually present.
If you have been doing all of the above but your dogs’ skin and coat don’t seem healthy then get to the vet as soon as possible as it may be an indication of a deeper health issue. Your dog’s coat is one of the best ways to gain insights into your dog’s condition, be it physical or emotional.