Dog Skin, Coat and Dental Care

Dog with Fuzzy Fur and tongue sticking out

The health of your fur baby is reflected in his or her outward appearance and the coat is viewed as a mirror of health and well-being.

The Importance of a Healthy, Shiny Coat

Grooming your dog is a sweeping task that goes beyond brushing and clipping its claws. The general condition of your dog's skin and coat are good indicators of his health. A healthy coat should be shiny and smooth, not brittle or coarse, and healthy skin should be supple and clear, not greasy or flakey. After all, the health of your pup is reflected in his outward appearance and a dog’s coat is viewed as a mirror of health and well-being.

Differences in Coat and Grooming Requirements?

Regular grooming and skin care on the outside will help keep your dog's coat clean and free of tangles, no matter what type of hair your dog has. Some breeds have hair that grows continuously and does not shed much. These dogs require regular trips to the 'doggy salon' for a shampoo and cut. Breeds which have long, thick hair such as Siberian Huskies and many Retrievers have both an outer coat of guard hairs and an undercoat of fine hair that serves as an insulating layer. These dog breeds often go through two heavy shedding cycles per year, during which much of their undercoat falls out in chunks. Many short-haired breeds lack an undercoat, and these breeds often shed only moderately all year round.

No matter which type of coat your dog has, you should develop a regular grooming routine to improve your dog’s well-being. Regular brushing, combing and checking for skin parasites such as ticks and fleas is an important part of grooming as these insects can be the carriers of diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dogs carry a high risk of tick bites and tick-borne diseases. Vaccines are not available for most of the tick-borne illnesses that dogs can get, and they don’t keep dogs from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it’s important to check your pup for ticks daily and use a tick preventive product for your dog. And don’t forget to check your fur baby’s ears regularly as they are a popular hideout for ticks. Regular ear hygiene also reduces the risk of infection and inflammation of the ears.

Oral Hygiene for Dogs

When it comes to keeping our dog healthy, many pet parents overlook the importance of oral hygiene. It is important to check your pup’s teeth regularly to prevent tooth decay. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, it is estimated that the majority of dogs show signs of canine periodontal disease. by just three years old. Periodontal disease can cause some serious health issues for our cuddly companions, so it’s important to maintain adequate oral hygiene. Untreated dental disease can cause tooth loss, permanent jaw damage and it can lead to painful abscesses, infections and increased risk of heart disease. So how can we keep our dogs’ teeth clean? According to the American Kennel Association, these are the best ways to keep your dog’s teeth clean:

Brushing your dog’s teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth might be stating the obvious, but it’s an excellent way to prevent plaque buildup. You don’t need to brush your pup’s teeth daily, although the more often the better. Most dogs aren’t too excited about the idea at first, but you can train your dog to have his teeth brushed the same way you would to have his nails trimmed. Make sure you use a toothpaste made specifically for dogs - chicken or peanut butter flavor are our dogs’ favorites!

Use Dog Tooth Wipes
For those pet parents that are unable or unwilling to brush their pup’s teeth, dog tooth wipes can be the answer. While they might not be able to get into the tiny nooks and crannies that a brush can they help to remove plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth.

Dog Dental Treats
Dogs love treats, and dental treats for dogs are one of the best ways to improve your pup’s dental health. They are made specifically to remove plaque buildup and often contain ingredients that freshen your dog’s breath. Most dogs prefer a treat to a toothbrush or wipes. and they do a great job of keeping your dog’s mouth clean. Dog dental treats come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors, so you can be sure to find a treat your dog loves.

Dog Chews
The act of chewing actually benefits your dog’s oral health regardless of what your dog chews on. The gnawing scrapes plaque off your pup’s teeth, and many all-natural chews made from meat contain enzymes that help promote dental health. Chews like cow ears, bully sticks, and chicken strips are a great way to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Professional Cleanings
Perhaps the best way to improve your dog’s oral health is to have him undergo a professional cleaning by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian knows what’s best for your pup’s teeth and will be able to address any issues he finds. Although much more expensive than the other tips on our list, a professional dental cleaning is probably the best way to maintain your dog’s dental hygiene.

The Importance of Nutrition for a Healthy Coat and Skin

Fortunately, as responsible pet parents, we can support our fur babies by taking care of their coat and skin from the outside, but also from the inside. There are a variety of all-natural dog supplements and vitamins that contain nutritional fatty acids which play an important role in keeping your dog’s coat in good condition. According to Pets WebMD, dogs on commercial dog foods or improperly balanced homemade diets may not get enough nutrients to keep a healthy skin and coat. Especially when feeding your puppy a mostly raw diet (BARF Diet), adding fatty acids is key as your dog’s body cannot produce these in the amounts he needs. Dogs that eat very low-fat diets can develop coarse, dry hair and skin lesions that become prone to infection. Dietary dog supplements containing omega fatty acids can help balance your pup’s diet and provide your fur baby with the nutrition he needs for a shiny coat and smooth skin. A good way to boost your dog’s skin and coat care is to add Salmon Oil to your dog’s food. It contains DHA and EPA fatty acids, which are said to help support your dog’s skin and coat health.

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