(Family Features) The condition and appearance of your dog’s skin and coat can serve as outward indicators of his or her overall health. While grooming is one of the most important steps to maintaining a healthy coat, other factors can play a role in the look and feel of your four-legged friend’s fur.
For example, dull, dry or flaky coats can be external indicators of internal issues. Stress, illness and inadequate nutrition can all lead to lackluster fur. Breed can also play a role in the shininess of your pet’s coat.
To get a better understanding of how you can improve your pet’s skin and coat, consider these facts and misperceptions from the experts at Petcurean, makers of the Go! Solutions line of premium pet food.
Fiction: Frequent washing dries out dogs’ skin and coats.
Regularly bathing your dog removes dirt, dander, debris and odors, and can help clear irritation-causing allergens. However, bathing too frequently removes natural oils, which keep skin supple and the coat soft and pliable. For best results, use a high-quality pet shampoo that’s gentle on the skin and coat then follow up with a nourishing conditioner for smooth, shiny fur.
Fact: Dogs should be groomed regularly.
Regular brushing with proper tools – sometimes as often as daily – is important. Not only can it help prevent matting in long-haired or double-coated dogs, it also stimulates blood flow to the skin, which helps keep it healthy, and ensures you notice any changes in your pet’s skin and coat. Grooming should also include cleaning ears, brushing teeth and trimming nails.
Fiction: Poor hydration does not affect skin or coat.
Fresh, clean water is essential for all bodily functions, including the maintenance of healthy skin. To help keep dogs hydrated, be sure fresh water is available to them, particularly at mealtimes.
Fact: Flea and tick control is essential for healthy skin and shiny coats.
If not controlled, fleas and ticks can wreak havoc on skin, which in turn affects coat quality. The irritation they cause typically promotes excessive scratching and licking.
Fiction: Dogs don’t need to use pet shampoo.
Human skin and hair are different from the skin and fur of dogs and should be treated as such. Shampoo designed for humans can strip oils and lead to dryness when used on dogs, which can result in infections and skin irritations. Be sure to use a shampoo specifically formulated for pets to maintain skin and coat health.
Fact: A high-quality, balanced pet food recipe is key to healthy skin and a shiny coat.
Because every dog is different and has varied energy requirements, the right blend of ingredients – rather than any one specific ingredient – tailored for individual dogs can help achieve healthy skin and shiny coats. For example, recipes like Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Large Breed Puppy and Adult Salmon Recipes with Grains are tailor-made for large breed puppies and adults with single-source animal protein from salmon to help build strong muscles; Omega fatty acids to support healthy, hydrated skin and a shiny coat; and the proper balance of nutrients to meet the unique needs of large breed dogs throughout their life stages.