How to Maintain a Pet's Coat

Apr 13, 2020   Tracey Aston   Grooming

Our pets are valuable parts of our lives and we want them with us are much as possible. They snooze in our beds, lay next to us on our couches and ride in our cars, so of course we want them to be clean and smelling nice while they do! Thankfully, it's fairly easy to keep our pet's looking and smelling their best.

The most often overlooked way we can keep our pet's coat bright and shiny and smelling good is with proper nutrition. Our pets need a balanced diet complete with protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. If our pets aren't getting the proper nutrients they can suffer from dry skin and brittle coat. In addition, low quality kibble comes with fillers, by-products and chemicals that can cause an odor when our pets' bodies try to detoxify the poor quality ingredients. 

Allergies, whether food or environmental, can affect a pet's skin and coat health. Signs of allergies most often show up as itching, swelling, hives and skin rash and constant licking. Allergies will most often will affect the face, ears, groin and feet.  Finding the source of the allergy will alleviate the symptoms but that's not always easy, especially with food allergies. The most common food allergies are Beef, Dairy Products, Chicken, Wheat, Soy and Corn.  If you notice your pet is suffering from food allergies, begin by eliminating those ingredients first. If you need help, or if your pet's allergies are affecting their quality of life, visit a vegetarian for help narrowing down the possible culprits. If you suspect a pet has environmental allergies, medicated, pet wipes or even a wet paper towel can be used when a pet returns inside. Pay special attention to the feet and paw pads.

Nutritional supplements like coconut oil, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can also help a pet's coat. Coconut oil is a great, all natural supplement to add to a pet's food. Coconut oil helps clear up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis and itchy skin, reduces allergic reactions and improves skin health, prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections, and applied topically, promotes the healing of cuts, wounds, hot spots, and dry skin and hair.

Proper hygiene, brushing and bathing are crucial to help maintain a pet's skin and coat appearance and scent. Your pet's fur type will determine how often they need brushed and what types of tools would benefit your pet's coat type. However, all pet's need to be brushed at least every few days! Brushing not only removes dead hair and skin cells, it helps stimulate circulation and moves the natural oils throughout the pet's coat. If your pet is long haired or double coated a deshedding brush can help remove the undercoat and reduce tangles, knots and mats.

All pet need to be bathed, yes, even cats. How well your pet will like a bath will depend on many variables of their past experience, personality and preference for water. Always attempt to make bathing a fun, positive experience as this will help in the long run. Unless a pet has rolled in something or was playing in the dirt, a bath once or twice a month should suffice.  While proper bathing is imperative to good hygiene, over bathing can also lead to skin conditions and could affect a pet's coat health.  Never use human shampoo on a pet! Pet specific shampoos are made for a pet's skin and PH balance and the chemicals in human shampoo can often be too harsh for a pet's skin. If a pet needs a quick freshening up between baths, pet or baby wipes can be used.

Lastly, if you're still having issues with a pet's skin and coat odor, it's time to visit your veterinarian. Many underlying diseases and conditions can affect a pet's skin, coat and overall scent. It's always best to rule out all physical conditions first.

Everyone loves to spend time with their pets, and thankfully, following the above steps will allow you to snuggle up to healthy, clean and fresh-smelling pet!

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