How to Give Your Dog a Healthier Coat

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on June 4th, 2024

Want to improve the quality of your dog’s coat? There are a few simple changes that can make their skin and fur healthier, softer, and more comfortable (no more endless scratching and licking!) And, don’t be surprised if your pooch receives more compliments and attention every time you leave the house!

Take a look at these tips for better skin and coat health for your dog!

Learn more about your dog’s unique grooming needs
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes—and coat types, too! Whether you have a wire-haired Vizsla or a silky-haired Shih Tzu, different dog breeds have their own grooming needs. So, you’ll want to do a bit of research into what your dog’s coat requires. If you have a mutt, consider booking an appointment with an experienced groomer who can give you more insight into your dog’s fur type. 

Here’s a general breakdown of grooming needs for different fur categories:

  • Short-haired coats (Pitbulls, Labradors): Weekly or twice-a-week brushing with a soft-bristled brush, and weekly to monthly bath.
  • Medium-length and double coats (Border Collies, German Shepherds): These types of coats will require more frequent brushing to prevent matting. You can use a comb to brush out the underlayer and distribute their natural oils. They may need monthly baths or a bath every few months.
  • Long-haired coats (Shih Tzu, Pomerianians): Dogs with lusciously long locks will need more involved grooming habits, such as daily combing to prevent knots. They may require more frequent baths.
  • Specialty coats (Wire-haired, Curly, Corded, etc): There are a few other types of coats that need specific grooming practices, such as hair stripping or cording. 

Take the extra time to dry off properly
Letting your dog air dry after a bath may be okay for some coat-types. But for others, it could lead to bacteria growth or mildew. This is especially true with dogs who have wrinkled faces, such as Bulldogs and Mastiffs, but could also be the case with dogs with thick double coats that don’t dry quickly, such as long-haired German Shepherds or Malamutes.

If your dog’s fur dries slowly, incorporate a hair dryer into the routine. Just make sure the heat is low so that it doesn’t dry out their skin.

Make sure they’re getting a balanced diet
Proper nutrition has a lot to do with the shine and health of your dog’s coat! If their fur is looking a bit lack-luster, you might consider transitioning them to a higher quality food brand, or swapping out their store-bought treats for veggies that are high in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C. These include carrots, squash, pumpkin, melon, strawberries, tomatoes, and mangoes. 

Of course, any time that you adjust your dog’s diet, it’s a good idea to talk to your vet first! They’ll help you find a balanced diet that is right for your dog.

And don’t forget about hydration
We humans are constantly reminding ourselves to drink more water for better skin, and our dogs can benefit from this habit, too! Proper hydration will reduce itchiness in the derma and promote healthy fur growth and oil production.

You can encourage your dog to stay hydrated by providing them with fresh, clean water in an easily accessible area of the house. Also, have a water bowl and fresh water with you any time you’re away from home.

Stay up to date on tick and flea medications
If you see your dog constantly itching, licking, and nibbling on their fur, it could be a sign that they’re dealing with external parasites like fleas or ticks. Make sure to check them for signs of parasites after visiting areas where your dog may be exposed to these little critters and keep them up to date with their preventative medication.

Be aware of sun exposure
Just as with us humans, too much sun can lead to dry, cracked, and sunburned skin. This is especially true with short-haired or hairless dogs as their fur doesn’t provide as much protection against the elements. Consider staying out of the sun in summer during peak UV hours or finding a sun protective bodysuit that your dog is comfortable wearing.

Lower their stress levels
Ever wake up to find a brand new pimple on the day of your big work meeting? As it turns out, your dog’s stress levels can have a similar effect on their fur. Dogs who are stressed may shed more frequently, even to the point of hair loss. If you think stress may be preventing your dog from enjoying a full, beautiful coat, consider the following remedies:

  • Work with an animal behaviorist to find out the root of the problem
  • Give your dog a quiet place to sleep where they won’t be interrupted
  • Consider increasing their daily exercise and mental enrichment

Install BreezeGuard Screens on your car
Your dog may love to stick their head out the window during car rides, but this could dry out the skin on their face and nose. Plus, there are other hazards, such as your dog getting hit by a flying object or falling or jumping out of the open window.

BreezeGuards are secure, easy-to-install screens that cover your back windows while still allowing air to pass through. So, your dog will enjoy all the mental enrichment of smelling the fresh air without the downsides of sticking their head out of the window.

Launder their bedding
Dog beds and blankets can trap allergens, dust, plant burs, and even flea eggs, all of which can lead to itchy, irritated skin. So, make sure to throw their bedding in the wash at least every couple of weeks, using a pet-friendly unscented laundry detergent.

Your dog is going to be red carpet ready!
If you implement some of the changes on this list, you’re likely to see an improvement in your dog’s coat! So, stock up on the right grooming supplies, chop up some vitamin-rich veggies, and put on some calming music so that you can boost your dog’s coat health!


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