Most of the dogs have fur that makes them look so adorable and cuddle prone. It is not just there to make them look furry, but it also determines their overall health. Fur helps the dog regulate its body temperature, which is why many breeds survive better in snow than others. So, here we have discussed what exactly you should look for in your dog’s coat.
1. Matted Fur:
Matted fur happens when you ignore grooming your dog. Especially dogs who have long hair need frequent grooming to avoid any tangles. Mats can be caused when the dog scratches their fur, which is caused due to irritation. As the mats collect dirt, it gets tangles more and prevents oxygen from reaching the skin. Hence it becomes a breeding ground for parasites. To avoid that the simplest method is using a brush for long hair dogs. If mats already exist, you can remove them using your fingers first to untangle the hair and then make use of a de-matting comb.
2. Dull Coat:
A healthy dog’s coat has a shine as the dog’s fur contains protein, which means you are giving the dog the right nutrition. If your dog’s coat is dull, then you should be concerned about what you feed the dog. You should also switch to a high-quality shampoo and add fish oil to their regimen.
3. Dry Skin:
If you find flakes in your dog’s fur, it often indicates dry skin. This could be caused due to harsh chemicals from shampoo, which are not rinsed off properly after bathing, allergies, or something worse. Do not bathe your dog more than 1-2 times a month if absolutely unnecessary. Also, do not use human shampoo on them. Get reliable dog shampoos that will remove the dirt from the fur. You should also use a brush that will help reach the undercoat while washing the dog. If you smell a foul odor from the fur, it could be a bacterial infection, too, and you will have to take the dog to the vet.
Photo by Benjamin Lehman from Pexels
4. Excessive Shedding:
Shedding is normal for many dog breeds such as Retrievers, which happens seasonally. Every dog sheds differently. Hence you need to keep a check on how much your dog is shedding. If it is more than the normal quantity, then there could be an issue. Poor nutrition, allergies, or medical issue might cause it. Try bathing the dog with the right shampoo, which might reduce the shedding. You may be able to stop the shedding by changing the dog food as well. If you are still unable to figure out the cause, better visit the vet.
5. Frequent Itching:
Dogs itch, and this is a known fact. But if you see your dog itching itself more than usual, there may be some underlying cause to it. The most common reason may be ticks and fleas, which you can check at home with the help of a tick comb or using your fingers to check the coat. There can be several other reasons that may be causing this, which you need to get to the bottom of.
It is scary to find a lump on your dog, as you may assume the worst, but keep in mind that most lumps are benign that are harmless. It is still best to have any lumps checked immediately. Keep a check on the lump for growth, swelling, redness, any pus discharge.
7. Bald Spots:
If you see some areas on your dog’s skin where there is excessive hair loss causing bald spots, it could be a serious infection that should be treated immediately. They are not unusual and are caused by allergic food reactions. This condition can be mostly seen in older dogs as they are prone to Cushing’s disease, which occurs due to the overproduction of the cortisol hormone. This can be treated by visiting the vet.
8. Doggy Smell:
Indoor dogs rarely have an odor and should need a bath only once or twice a month unless the dog plays in a dirty area. Bathing removes their natural coat oil, which is why it is not advised to bathe them regularly. If your dog smells foul even after a bath, this could be due to a skin problem. Make sure your dog is eating a healthy diet and is groomed regularly.
9. Brittle Coat:
If you notice your dog’s hair is breaking when you brush the dog or the fur hair feels brittle, then there is some issue with the nutrients you are feeding the dog. This is caused due to protein deficiency, as 90% of the dog’s hair is protein. You need to feed them high-quality protein to revive good hair health.
If you find any lesion on your dog, you better get it checked immediately by the vet, as there can be several underlying causes to it. It can be treated early if you get to the root of it. If there is an open sore, it can also mean some serious infection that needs immediate treatment.
How to Get the Coat Health Back:
If your dog’s coat is just dull, simply grooming it regularly will help the natural oil spread through the coat and revive its health. Consult your vet to understand the right nutrition your dog needs to remain healthy. This helps a lot in bringing the shine back to the coat. Apply coconut oil to the dog’s coat overnight before you bathe the dog. This will help moisturize the coat. Rinse off the dog shampoo thoroughly so that it does not irritate your dog’s skin. Keep a check on ticks and fleas and speak to your vet about any preventive methods to avoid getting them. If you notice any skin disorder beyond your control, it is best to get it checked by the vet.
The Bottom Line:
The best way to know if your dog has a healthy coat or not is to keep a check on it now and then. Notice even small changes that happen and keep track of them. Regularly grooming your dog and feeding them nutritious food is the best way to keep your dog’s coat health intact.