A dog’s coat is a very good indicator of its state of health. Hair loss, dandruff, a greasy or dull fur indicate diseases or nutritional deficiencies that need to be clarified individually – here, a pet nutrition expert explains the signs to look out for.
The length and structure of the dog’s fur vary from breed to breed. Accordingly, the amount of care required for the fur can vary. For some dogs it is hardly worth mentioning, others need to be brushed almost daily. If you are negligent, you can expect your dog to have fur problems. The same can happen if the dog’s diet is not healthy and balanced. This can also lead to a change in the coat. It appears dull and lacklustre, there is hair loss, increased dandruff or disturbances in the change of fur. The quick and usually visible reaction of skin and hair to diseases or nutritional deficiencies enables every dog owner to judge the general condition of his dog. Accordingly, the causes can be counteracted promptly.
The dog’s coat change, for example, follows a seasonal cycle with peaks in spring and autumn. During this time, hair loss is completely normal in most dog breeds. The hereditary change of coat is supposed to protect the animals from cold in winter and heat in summer by an adapted coat. The renewal of the coat takes about 4 to 6 weeks. As this is an enormous metabolic effort for dogs, nutritional deficiencies are particularly noticeable during the coat change. A high-quality dog food that provides the dog with all the important nutrients is a good base for a smooth change of coat.
Keeping dogs indoors, artificial lighting, climate change and other external factors can disrupt the shedding cycle or even stop it altogether. Instead, the shedding cycle is completed throughout the year. This is not uncommon nowadays and therefore mostly harmless as long as there are no underlying health problems.
A healthy and strong coat should be a matter of course for every dog. It reflects not only the dog’s health, but also its conscientious care and optimal nutrition. If a dog is physically healthy despite poor coat quality, the diet should be changed and/or nutritional deficiencies corrected. A species-appropriate diet should also be supported by regular and thorough coat care. This also includes regularly checking the dog for parasites.
Tips for a healthy coat:
1. Feed your dog high-quality food that is appropriate for the species.
The connection between species-appropriate, high-quality nutrition and coat condition has already been examined in various scientific studies. The result: in almost all animals studied, it is possible to achieve an improvement in coat condition, which is expressed by shine and the right fat content, after just a few weeks by feeding high-quality complete food. PLATINUM, for example, uses only the best ingredients. In particular, high-quality salmon oil and cold-pressed linseed oil, to not only ensure the optimal fat balance, but also promote healthy skin and hair.
2. Bathing your Dog
When bathing your dog, use special skin-friendly shampoos for dogs to prevent the skin from drying out.
3. Brushing your Dog
Brush your dog regularly: this can prevent skin problems and diseases caused by matted fur. Check your dog’s coat regularly for burrs, ticks and other vermin – also look out for skin lesions or rashes. Keep your dog free of skin parasites such as fleas or mites.
4. Care when dogs are indoors
In Winter, many dogs spend much more time indoors.
If possible, take off the collar and chest harness indoors so that the coat does not experience permanent pressure or friction in these areas.
During the cold months, make sure that the humidity in living areas is not too low (40 % to 60 % is optimal) and that the rooms are not overheated. This dries out the skin unnecessarily. If you use dog clothing, make sure that it fits properly and that the material is gentle on the fur.
Lastly, if you dog is indoors for long periods of time their claws are likely to need regular clipping. Don’t let your dog’s claws get too long, shorten them with special scissors if necessary or ask your veterinary practice for help.