If your pooch’s fur is glossy and smooth, and their skin is supple and clear, then the chances are that your beloved best friend is in good shape.
The general condition of a dog’s skin and coat is usually a good indicator of how healthy they are; picking up on changes to either of these in time, can help you prevent diseases and ill health.
Nutrition and your pet’s hair and skin:
A properly balanced diet comprised of quality digestible proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins, will help your pooch maintain the good condition of their skin and coat. A poorer quality diet is more difficult for a dog to digest, and when digestion is poor, organs such as the liver and kidneys are forced to work harder to try and eliminate the waste that hasn’t been digested.
The best diet for a dog should be tailor made to meet their nutritional needs at every different stage of their life, for instance, a young dog will have different dietary needs to a senior dog, as will a sick dog. In much the same way as a balanced diet made up of quality ingredients is beneficial for human health, it is the case for dogs, too. You will often find that a dog whose dietary needs are not being met properly, will have a coat lacking lustre and they will likely shed their fur in excess, too.
What diseases can affect the condition of a dog’s coat and skin?
Any type of illness or stress can affect the appearance of a dog’s coat and skin, and the more chronic or long lasting the condition, the worse it will get. Two of the first things to deteriorate with a dog’s coat when there is an underlying health issue or stress, will be its shine and texture. Excessive fur shedding is common when a dog is stressed, too, and some examples of illnesses that can have a negative impact on their fur and skin are hormonal imbalances, chronic diarrhoea, intestinal worms, fleas, ticks or mites and cancer.
In most cases, when an underlying health concern is diagnosed and treated, the general condition of the dog’s coat and skin will quickly improve, and with dietary changes the improvement can be dramatic.
Bathing your dog and how often you should do it:
Regular bathing, while it may make your pet smell fresh and give their coat a silky, softer feel to the touch, can do more harm than good since if carried out too often, it can strip away the natural oils in a dog’s coat. So, bathing a healthy, non-shedding dog every 6 to 8 weeks is recommended, but if your pet gets very dirty, then of course this may need to happen a little more often. Bathing a dog with a thick undercoat should be carried out in the spring or fall, when they are undergoing their seasonal shedding.
The rule of thumb, however, is that it’s always best to check with your local veterinarian, particularly if you’re worried that your pet may be sick, or if they are aged.
If your pet’s coat has lost its lustre, it may be a sign of something more serious, so make an appointment to see your local veterinarian as soon as possible.