Taking care of your dog’s coat forms the basis of a good grooming routine. A simple daily brushing should be enough for most dog breeds. And, if you start when your dog is young enough, they will come to expect their daily grooming session. They may even enjoy it!
But looking after the health of your dog’s coat goes beyond just brushing. It also includes regular inspections of the coat, skin care and healthy nutrition. And one advantage of a healthy coat is that shedding will be reduced.
Dog coat health: the benefits of regular coat care
Removal of dead hair from the coat
Brushing removes dead hair from the coat. Without this there are two things that can happen to dead hair:
- It can remain on the coat and become tangled and matted.
- It can end up in your clothes, carpets and furnishings.
Removal of external parasites
Brushing also reduces the likelihood of your dog suffering ticks or a flea infestation. Doing so daily, while at the same time doing a visual inspection of the skin and coat, reduces it to more or less zero.
Distribution of natural oils
Brushing helps to distribute the natural oils throughout the fur. This in turn helps to promote a healthy and shiny coat.
Removal of dirt and organic matter
If your dogs are anything like mine then they come back from their walks dragging all kinds along with them. Leaves, grass seeds, thorns and even sticks can all become caught in long coats. This then causes matting and knots. A daily brush of the coat helps to prevent this problem.
Identification of coat and skin problems
As you brush your dog, make sure you check the condition of their skin and coat. Keep a lookout for any signs of health or nutrition problems. These include things such as a brittle coat, skin rashes or canine “dandruff”.
Grooming short-haired breeds
- Slicker brush.
- Bristle brush.
- Grooming comb.
- Brush the coat with the slicker brush to get rid of any matts and loose dirt.
- Use the bristle brush to remove any dead hair as well as any remaining dirt and debris. Be sure to give your dog’s coat and skin a thorough visual inspection at the same time. Keep a good lookout for fleas, ticks, sores, rashes or other skin disorders.
- Run the grooming comb through the fine hair on your dog’s tail and hindquarters. Trim any stray hair if required.
Grooming long-haired breeds
- Slicker brush.
- Pin brush.
- Grooming comb.
- Brush the coat with the slicker brush. Untangle any matted or tangled hair.
- Use the pin brush to brush the hair through again. There should be no tangles or matting left in the coat.
- Use a wide-toothed grooming comb to work through the fur again. Be sure to pay special attention to the fine hair on the legs and hindquarters.
- Trim any long hair around the feet, especially between the toes.
- Trim around the hocks with a sharp scissors. This will prevent debris becoming trapped and tangled in the fur.
The importance of good skin health
The condition of your dog’s skin has a direct effect the quality of their coat. In fact, unhealthy skin can reduce the “life cycle” of the hair from about 44 days to under 30 days.
And the end result is that your dog sheds more and their coat ends up dull and brittle. So, as a matter of routine, you should check the condition of your dog’s skin as part of your regime. Be sure to consult your vet over any problems you find.
The importance of proper nutrition
Diet plays an important part in the health of your dog’s coat. It’s a fact that poor coat condition is often a direct result of poor nutrition.
Some dogs also suffer from diet-based skin allergies which have a direct impact on the coat. If this is true of your dog, ask your vet to recommend a special formulation dog food. Many of the premium dog food brands have varieties which aim to promote skin and coat health.
Keeping your dog’s coat healthy is easy provided you follow an effective, regular routine.