When it comes to your dog’s health and hygiene, it’s important to implement a consistent grooming routine. In addition to keeping your pooch looking spick and span, regular grooming will help to keep him clean and comfortable. It will also give you a chance to do a quick home health check to check for any skin and coat abnormalities.
That being said, a grooming routine isn’t “one size fits all.” The best supplies and methods to care for your dog’s coat depend on his breed, coat type, and health needs.
Dog Coat Types
Different coat types require different types of care. Basic dog coat types include:
A dog’s fur can tell you a lot about his health—the shinier the coat, the healthier the dog. When it comes to breeds with long, silky coats such as Shih Tzus, Collies, and Yorkshire Terriers, this is especially noticeable. Brush and bathe your silky-coated dog regularly to keep his fur looking healthy, shiny, and free of tangles.
Short, smooth coats are some of the easiest dog coat types to maintain, since they don’t tangle and tend to be naturally smooth. Examples of breeds with short, smooth coats include Greyhounds, Dachshunds, and Beagles.
Because regular brushing can help to maintain the cleanliness of a short coat, short-coated dogs can bathe less frequently than other breeds.
Dogs with double coats, such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and German Shepherds have two types of fur. The outer layer consists of thicker, tougher fur, while the undercoat is softer and fluffier.
Double coats can act as built-in climate control, offering insulation from the cold and protection from the sun. Because of this, dogs with double coats should never be shaved. Instead, groom your pup regularly to remove any loose hairs and keep him cool.
While they’re not known for shedding, curly or wool-coated dogs such as Poodles (and Poodle crossbreeds) and Bichon Frises require regular brushing and trimming. After all, that curly fur can grow quickly and become tangled.
Keep your curly-haired dog’s coat shiny and fluffy using a detangling comb followed by a slicker brush.
Wire coats, such as those on Irish Wolfhounds and Jack Russell Terriers, tend to be relatively easy to maintain. While grooming itself can be more difficult than with other types of fur, dogs with wiry coats don’t need to be groomed very often.
Because wire coats require stripping instead of clipping, many of these pet owners prefer to leave the grooming to the professionals.
How to Keep Your Dog’s Fur Healthy
Regardless of your dog’s type of fur, there are several steps that any dog owner can take to maintain their dog’s coat.
For starters, always brush using the appropriate tool for your dog’s coat type. Brushing helps to remove tangs, dirt, and debris from your dog’s fur, while also activating the natural oils to promote a sleek, shiny coat. Brushing can also help to keep shedding under control, as it collects loose or dead fur before it ends up around your house or on your clothes.
While brushing shouldn’t replace baths, regular brushing can certainly reduce their frequency. In fact, bathing too frequently can strip the natural oils and try out your dog’s skin. Use a high-quality dog shampoo depending on your dog’s needs. Some pet owners opt for de-shedding shampoos, or even oatmeal baths to soothe itchy skin.
You can also care for your dog’s coat from the inside out by feeding him a well-balanced diet of high-quality dog food. If you suspect that your dog is struggling with food allergies, talk to your vet about implementing an elimination diet.
Omega fatty acid supplements, such as PetHonesty’s Omega SkinHealth Chews can also help to boost your furry friend’s skin and coat health.
Additionally, protect your pet from pests such as fleas and ticks by staying up-to-date with preventative medications. Pests can latch onto the fur and irritate the skin, leading to both skin and coat problems.
Common Skin Problems in Dogs
If your canine’s coat is suffering, there’s a good chance he’s dealing with skin problems as well. Common signs of skin problems in dogs include:
- Rashes and redness
- Scabs and sores
- Lumps and bumps
- Hot spots (painful, swollen areas of skin)
- Dry, flaky skin
- Hair loss
Skin problems can have many causes: seasonal allergies, infections, pests, nutritional deficiencies, excessive licking/chewing, and underlying health conditions. If you suspect your pooch is struggling with his skin and coat health, talk to your vet for a proper diagnosis and care plan.