Grooming Tips and Coat Care for Your Dog
Paying attention to your dog’s skin and coat is very important. A dull coat can indicate possible internal diseases, nutritional deficiencies, dirty coat, etc. Regular brushing will help keep the coat shiny and smooth. It also gives you time to feel around your dog’s body for any lumps or bumps, parasites like fleas and ticks, and skin irritation and inflammation. If you notice anything concerning, please consult with us or your local veterinarian to discuss potential testing and treatments.
This article was written by a FirstVet vet
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How to Care for Your Dog’s Skin and Coat
Omega fatty acids can improve your dog’s skin and coat health. There are many dog-specific omega fatty acid products available that have the appropriate omega ratios in them for the best results. To learn more about how fatty acid supplements can help your dog, check out the Veterinary Partner website.
Feeding a high-quality dog food will also help keep your dog’s coat healthy. Providing proper nutrition based on your pet’s breed and age can keep her healthy, inside and out! Be sure to talk with your vet or schedule a video appointment with FirstVet if you have questions or concerns about your dog’s diet.
Keeping your pet current on flea and tick control medications is recommended in most regions. There are many oral and topical options available. For more information on flea and tick control, check out our article and the Pets & Parasites website!
Not all dogs have the same type of fur, so it’s a good thing there are numerous brushes available. What’s the best option to try for your pup? Let’s find out!
Short Coated Breeds (Chihuahuas, Boxers, Pit Bulls)
Short coated dogs shed just as much as longer coated dogs. Brushing your pup twice weekly will help keep their coat smooth and shiny by distributing their natural oils and removing loose fur. A glove-style brush works great for this coat type, and your pup will feel like she’s just getting pampered with a massage!
Long Coated, Single Layer Breeds (Yorkies, Shih Tzus, Maltese)
Wire slicker brushes work well for these breeds. While these dogs tend to shed less, they have a harder time freeing the shed fur from their long coats which can lead to matting. Brushing twice weekly is ideal. Separate their fur into small sections to make brushing easier and to better identify matted areas. If the matted areas are close to the skin, please schedule an appointment with a groomer or your vet (if they offer grooming services) to have these safely removed. Your vet can check for sores on the skin that can develop below the matted area.
Double Coated Breeds (Huskies, Chows, Border Collies)
If you have a double-coated dog, you’re likely very familiar with shedding. These breeds will blow their coat once to twice a year as the weather changes, causing a noticeable increase in shedding. A Furminator style brush and undercoat rake are ideal to help brush out the excess fur. You may need to brush them daily when they’re blowing their coat. This will help keep the shedding down and allow airflow against the skin to keep it healthy and your dog cool.
Bathing Your Dog
Be sure to brush your dog out before and after bathing. Use a gentle shampoo, specifically designed for dogs, or make your own at home. After the bath, use an absorbent towel to ensure your dog is dried thoroughly. However, be careful not to be overly aggressive when towel drying as this can lead to severe inflammation and possible infections of the skin that are very painful (furunculosis).
We do not recommend using a hairdryer on your dog as it can easily burn the skin if used on the hot setting.
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