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Keeping your pet's coat healthy

It is often said that you are what you eat – a statement that also applies to your pet’s coat.  Maintenance of a healthy coat and skin should take place from both the inside and out.  Choosing the right diet and supplements will ensure your pet is getting the correct nutrients to promote good coat and skin condition. Your choice of shampoo can also affect your pet’s skin, coat condition and appearance.  To help you make the right choices for your pet the vets at MedicAnimal have put together their top suggestions for optimising coat and skin condition.

The importance of diet

Maintenance of a healthy coat and skin should take place from both the inside and out.  Make sure that water is constantly available to the animal, like us they too require water to maintain healthy skin. Look out for pet foods containing essential fatty acids (EFAs) of the type omega-3 and omega-6. These help to promote a shiny coat and healthy skin.  Royal Canin Skin Support, and Hills Sensitive Skin are good examples of foods with added EFAs.

Coat supplements

If your pet’s food does not contain any EFAs consider adding an EFA supplement to its diet. These come in capsule (Viacutan) and liquid (Omega Aid) so there is sure to be one that suits your pet’s needs.

Choosing a shampoo

The choice of shampoo should match the condition of your pet’s coat. For example, if it is dry and scurfy you should choose a shampoo that is designed to counteract these problems specifically.  Human shampoos can be often damaging to the skin and coat of your dog - they are designed for the pH of human skin rather than canine skin – and as such are not appropriate for your use on your dog.

If your dog suffers from a skin condition it is best to take it to your vet, who can advise you on the best shampoo for your dog’s needs. There are a wide range of shampoos available for specific conditions, like Allermyl for dogs with skin irritations, or Sebolytic shampoo for dogs with a scaly, greasy coat. Your vet may even recommend a prescription-only shampoo, if they feel that it is necessary. For general use on a dog with no known skin complaints we recommend a mild canine shampoo, such as Coatex Aloe & Oatmeal shampoo or Episoothe shampoo. For puppies a specially formulated puppy shampoo like Vitacoat Hyaline is a good choice. 

Shed control

Living in a temperate part of the world, our pets will often shed their coat when the seasons change.  There are ways to ease the impact on your home and reduce the time it takes for your pet to shed their coat.

During peak shedding time, you should groom your pet very regularly, ideally with a shedding comb such as the Kokoba Deshedding Brush Tool.  If your dog is more prone to matting then a daily brush with the JW Gripsoft Double Sided Brush may be more appropriate. 

Around your home, sticky tape rollers are handy especially on furniture, but won’t effectively remove hair from carpets.  As your pet spends most of it’s time on the floor, there will be a deeper collection of hair in the carpet fibres that the roller will not be able to pick up.  Try our top tip for carpets: put on an old pair of rubber gloves on (the type used for washing up) and rub the carpet in circular motions.  This should collect the hair into a ball that makes it easier to pick up. 

Employing some or even all of these measures should make a noticeable difference to the condition of your pet’s coat – remember to always discuss any new skin problems with your vet BEFORE making changes to its diet or environment.