Total Fur Care for Dogs
Fur care for dogs involves proper nutrition and exercise as well as basic grooming. Good nutrition keeps your dog’s coat and skin healthy, supple and shiny. Proper grooming keeps him clean and beautiful, and contributes to good health.
Caring for Your Dog’s Coat through Diet and Exercise
In order to have a shiny, healthy coat, your dog needs an adequate level of protein in his diet. Meat-based dry food contains higher levels of protein than grain-based food, and is easier for your dog to digest.
Omega-3 fatty acids can also help maintain the health of your dog’s skin and coat. Most foods, especially those containing whole grains, provide some amount of this essential fatty acid, though it may not be listed as an ingredient. Supplement your dog’s diet with avocados or brown rice.
Daily vitamin supplements can also enhance your dog’s appearance by keeping his skin and fur healthy. Flaxseed oil, salmon oil, and cod liver oil are great for his fur. Regular exercise also helps to keep your dog’s skin and fur healthy, by promoting blood flow. Exercise is also good for your dog’s health; if your dog is healthy, his fur will be healthy too.
Bathing Your Dog
The ASPCA recommends that dogs should be bathed every three months at minimum. Dogs who play outdoors a lot may need more frequent baths. You shouldn’t bathe your dog too much, however, as this can dry out his skin. Those who live in warm climates shouldn’t bathe their dogs more often than once a week; in cooler climates, don’t bathe your dog more than once a month.
Use mild shampoo when bathing your dog. Before you bathe your dog, brush him thoroughly to remove dead hair from the coat. Use a rubber bathtub mat to give your dog secure footing.
Use a spray hose to gently wet and rinse your dog in warm water. Massage shampoo into the fur, avoiding the ears, eyes, mouth and nose; dry your dog with a towel or with a blow dryer on low heat. Take this opportunity to examine your dog’s skin for lumps, bumps, lacerations and other abnormalities. Check the ears for foul odors and debris.
Brushing Your Dog
Regular brushing contributes to fur care by spreading natural oils through the fur, removing dirt and preventing tangles. Brushing also helps you check for fleas.
If your dog has a smooth, short coat, brush once a week. Use a rubber brush to loosen dead skin and dirt, and a bristle brush to remove dead hair. If you like, you can rub your dog’s fur afterward with a chamois for maximum shine.
If your dog’s fur is short, dense and prone to matting, brush once a week with a slicker brush to remove tangles. Remove dead hair with a bristle brush. Don’t forget the tail.
If your dog has very long hair, you’ll need to brush daily. Remove tangles and tease out mats with a slicker brush. Use a bristle brush to remove dead fur. Don’t forget the tail, hocks and feet.