Healthy skin and lustrous fur make dogs a real pleasure to pet. Itchy skin, dull coats and ‘unwanted guests’ on your dog’s fur, however, can sometimes strike. And when they do, what’s a pet owner to do?
Protein and fatty acids a day keep dull coat away
Given today’s quality of pet food, it’s hard for dogs to suffer from severe nutritional deficiency (unless they are not getting any food at all). If you are making your pet’s food at home, however, you may want to skip the all-chicken or low-fat diet as these are not properly balanced to give dogs that healthy and happy glow. The most important nutritional component of your dog food is protein, but quality pet food usually has that covered so there’s little to worry about if you are feeding your pooch top of the shelf dog food.
A less obvious nutritional deficiency, however, is the lack of essential fatty acids in their diet. The first signs of this type of nutritional deficiency, especially of Omega-6, are skin lesions that often lead to infection, and coarse, dandruffy, or dull coat. While it’s a rare (most likely street) dog that suffers from true nutritional deficiency, it would help to supplement dog food with natural sources of Omega-3 (for its anti-inflammatory properties to combat skin allergies) and Omega-6 like flaxseed and fish oil, and safflower or sunflower oil, respectively. For smaller dogs, mix one teaspoon of oil per meal; for a bigger dog, you can use one tablespoon per meal. If in doubt, always consult your veterinarian if these oils are safe for pet consumption as they can go rancid if they had been kept in the pet shop for too long. Also, do not think that more is better: A diet too rich in essential fatty acids may cause upset stomachs among pooches.
Bathe in infrequent intervals
It’s nice to play with dogs that have just taken their baths. Bathing the dogs frequently, however, may leave their coat dry, in the same way that frequent bathing in humans can strip our skin its natural layer of oils. Dry skin could lead to dogs scratching themselves more often, which in turn may result to lesions that are prone to infection. To moisturize dry skin and soothe irritated skin, use conditioning shampoo that contains oatmeal extract. If an unpleasant smell lingers after a bath, it may be time to visit the vet as there could be fleas, bacterial infection or fungus lurking somewhere in your dog’s fur.
Brush the coat regularly
On top of having clean fur, parasite-free coat comes when the coat is frequently combed to root out unwelcome guests as they can set up shop in dirty, matted hair. Brushing your pet’s fur regularly also establishes stronger bond, and can actually be relaxing for both you and your pet, especially if that is all the energy you have at the end of the day.