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How to Care for Your Pet's Coat and Skin

by VitaPaws

Your pet's skin and coat can say a lot about their health, and while, just like us humans, they may have the occasional bad hair day, or roll in something they probably shouldn't have, in general their coat should be clean and shiny. Pets that are happy seem to have a shiny coat that gives off a faint glow, so what can you do if your pet's coat is looking a little dull and lifeless and how can you help them enjoy a great hair day?

Why Does My Pet Have a Dull Coat?

As said, the first sign of a happy pet can be in their coat which should shine, be clean and very stroke-able as let's face it, no one wants to cuddle a pet that has just rolled in something that makes your eyes water. Poor nutrition can be a main factor in having a poor coat and so this is the first thing to look at if your pet's coat isn't shining quite the way it should. Ensure your pet has a healthy and balanced diet consisting of real meat and protein and cut down on the preservatives which can cause allergies in some pets. Certain medical conditions can also cause a dry or unhealthy coat, and so a dull coat may be a good reason to head to the dreaded vets for a check-up! Parasites such as tapeworms or hookworms can all rid your dog of key nutrients needed for a healthy coat, and infections or fleas and ticks can also affect the condition of your pet's coat, so get them checked out if you notice a change in your furry friend's coat.

Ways to Encourage a Shiny Coat

If you've taken your pet to the vet and there are no signs of any issues such as parasites or ticks/fleas, it may be time to try a few things to encourage their hair to come through shiny, soft and completely cuddle-able!

Bathe Regularly but Don't Overdo It

How often you should bathe your pet depends on the length of their coat and how dirty he or she gets as well as how easily is it to get them to bathe! Once a month is a good general guideline where you are bathing them enough to keep their coat clean, but not so much that you are stripping their coat of essential oils necessary to keep that lovely shine! Always use a pet friendly shampoo as regular human shampoo can sometimes have a reaction with pet's skin and you could consider adding a natural conditioner afterwards that contains Vitamin E to soothe skin and hair.

Brush Regularly

Certain pets will need brushing more regularly and will shed more, but it's important to regularly brush all pets to stimulate the hair follicles and skin which in turn produces skin oils to keep the coat shiny. Try to give your pet a brush at least once every other day and with longer hair pets try every day! It's also a great bonding exercise for you and your pet and you can be sure your pet will enjoy it and feel a little lighter after all that spare hair is brushed away.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies can be fantastic for pets with a dull coat and over time can gradually increase the shine and health of hair. Spirulina has been found to be helpful for pets with dull coats to improve skin and hair health as it contains protein, B vitamins and carotenoids. Don't use too much however and check with your vet before your introduce any natural remedies into your pet's lifestyle.

A Fish Dish

Introduce fish into your pet's diet on a regular basis. Fish such as tuna and salmon are packed full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids which help contribute to a healthy coat as well as just general health! They also taste great and we're sure your pet would appreciate a little shredded salmon or tuna in with their regular meal. Get in your pet's good books and improve their coat, win/win!

A Little Oil

If regular baths and a diet consisting of nothing but the finest salmon isn't enough to pamper your pet, try adding a little sunflower or flaxseed oil into your pet's food bowl as well. This can help improve the general look and feel of your pet's coat and again will add a little more taste into their meal. Be careful though as too much can cause diarrhoea so try for one teaspoon to start with and at the most add one tablespoon.

A Healthy and Balanced Life

A happy pet is a healthy pet and if your pet is being exercised regularly, given plenty of cuddles and eating a wholesome diet, it's likely this happiness will come through in their coat. The coat is a great sign of your pet's overall health and a shiny coat means you must be doing something right!


Giving your pet a little TLC occasionally will do wonders in making their coat shiny, healthy and soft. A balanced diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids along with regular exercise and baths is a great way of making sure your pet's skin and coat is in the best condition possible. If their coat needs a little helping hand to make it extra nice, try adding some herbal supplements to their diet such as spirulina, or adding a little oil into their food to really give that healthy glow. A few little changes can make a big difference to your pet's appearance so go ahead and make the changes if it seems your pet could do with a little bit of coat maintenance!