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Chances are, you’ve changed up your shampoo a few times and you cut your hair regularly—maybe you’ve even tried one of those supplements to make it fuller/bouncier/more supermodel-ish. Your pup’s fur deserves the same treatment! Not only is a dog’s coat something to parade around the park, it can be a reflection of their overall health. Steve Weinberg, CEO and founder of 911 Vets shares the best ways to keep your pup’s fur looking and feeling its best.
The texture of your pup’s fur often depends on the fatty acid content of the diet, Weinberg says. “Most foods contain these essential fatty acids, but some don’t have enough, and as a result, the coat may become dry, itchy or brittle,” he explains. A balanced dog food is already sufficient in Omega-6 fatty acids, but you can supplement Omega-3s in the form of fish oil and flaxseed oil. One teaspoon per pound of food should be enough. If your pup has particularly dry or scaly skin, vitamin A can help because it has regenerating properties. Integrate foods like pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes into your dog’s diet to get a good dose.
Regular brushing is important to help loosen dead, loose fur, Weinberg says. “It stimulates the release of natural skin and follicular lipids that keep the coat healthy, soft and shiny,” he explains. Long-haired breeds such as Pomeranians should be brushed twice a week, while dogs that shed or those that have thick undercoats should be brushed weekly. You want to find the right brush too: A brush with wide-spaced teeth is good for the fur’s outer layer, and a fine-spaced brush is ideal for around your pup’s face. And don’t bathe more than every other week—otherwise, you could be drying out his skin, Weinberg says. Regular grooming should be done every 4-to-6 weeks.
Applying coconut oil to your pup’s skin and coat can help make it shinier and less prone to damage, according to Weinberg. The lauric acid (fatty acid) in the coconut oil is able to penetrate hair shafts, so it’s easier to keep hair and fur healthy. Rub a small amount through your pup’s fur and massage it into the skin on a regular basis. You can also spray a solution of apple cider vinegar and water onto your dog’s fur post-bath, avoiding his eyes. The soothing enzymes in the vinegar can help soothe their skin, getting rid of dry patches and dandruff. Just do a double rinse after to make sure the residue is removed.
If your pup is sick or is just feeling under the weather, he’ll probably stop self-grooming, which will lead to a dull coat. It’s often the first sign of a medical problem. If you notice this, especially when combined with lack of appetite or excessive thirst or soft stools, it’s time to make an appointment with your vet!
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