Written by Julia Robson from Dogsplanet

Taking care of a dog's coat is not just a matter of aesthetics, but of health. A dog's coat, together with its skin, forms an organ, the largest organ of a dog's body in fact, which performs a number of functions that are crucial for its health. These include:

  • Protection – the internal organs are protected against external influences such as chemicals, ultraviolet light, heat or cold;
  • Immunity – the skin of a dog is a vital part of its immune system that protects it and fights against harmful bacteria;
  • Thermoregulation – a properly maintained coat serves as an insulator and is thus able to regulate a dog's body temperature;
  • Hydration – the skin of a dog helps maintain proper hydration. Improper hydration can decrease much needed energy levels in the body.

Considering the number and the importance of these functions for a dog's healthy life, it is not surprising that there are very specific guidelines as to how a dog's coat should be treated. 

Today we’ll be giving you some more general tips on coat maintenance. However, make sure to also consult your vet and groomer on the specific needs of your pup, as they will vary depending on their breed, age, and their general health.

Brush Their Coat Regularly

brush dogs coat regularly

Brushing a dog's coat is an integral part of the grooming routine, as it gets rid of dead skin cells, promotes blood circulation and increases oil production that is critical to the production of stronger and glossier hair. Regular brushing also reduces the amount of shedding, which is always a bonus.

The frequency of brushing is different for different breeds and it generally ranges between once a week and a few times a week, although there are breeds, typically ones with silkier hair, which do better with daily brushing.

The process of brushing itself is best done from the end of the hair to its base, in order to avoid tightening any existing knots. If there are many of them, experts suggest brushing during bath-time.

When it comes to choosing the right brush, slicker ones are recommended for breeds with thicker hair that benefit from a more rigorous grooming routine, while pin brushes are gentler and thus better suited for show dogs and dogs with coats prone to frizziness.

Choose the Right Shampoo

The sheer variety of dog shampoos available on the market can make it difficult to choose the right one. Fortunately, there are a few tips that can make the process easier.

The first thing to point out is that shampoos made for human use are not suitable for dogs because of the differing pH levels between humans and dogs. Dogs require specialized, milder shampoos, which will not irritate their skin and disrupt the production of natural oils.

These shampoos are widely available in many varieties for different breeds and different types of coats. Breeds with a long coat are usually prone to matting, so a good conditioner or a combination of shampoo and conditioner is crucial for this type. Breeds with a short coat require a deep cleansing shampoo, since a short coat is dense, textured, and accumulates dirt easily.

In addition, there are shampoos catering to different types of needs that dogs may have. For example, there are shampoos for sensitive skin, beneficial for dogs whose skin is prone to irritation due to scratching. There are also shampoos with a moisturizer, beneficial for dogs with dry skin.

Finally, bear in mind that opting for natural shampoos is always the best course of action, because they don't contain any dangerous chemicals that can irritate or harm the skin in any way. With their potent natural ingredients, they can promote the production of oils necessary for the health of a dog's skin and the glossy appearance of its coat.

Don’t Bathe Them Too Often

don't bathe your dogs too often

Even though bathing may be an enjoyable experience for dogs and may seem like a special bonding experience between dogs and their owners, experts warn that excessive bathing can be harmful. They agree that dogs should not be bathed too often, as frequent bathing leads to the disruption of oil production and can cause skin irritations, which affect not only the appearance of their coat, but their health as well.

In general, dogs should be washed only once a month, but there are exceptions to this recommendation. If a dog has rolled around in something stinky, unhygienic and potentially dangerous; if its coat has accumulated a lot of dirt; or if there is an unpleasant odor coming from their coat, bathing is recommended, especially because an odorous coat can be indicative of bacteria build-up.

Make Sure They Eat Well

Every living being benefits from adequate nutrition. In fact, the cause of many health problems can be traced down to poor diet habits, especially in dogs. A lack or an insufficient amount of essential nutrients may cause skin problems, which, in turn, affect the appearance of the coat, making it less shiny and unhealthy-looking.

Essential nutrients for dogs include proteins (commonly found in meat), vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) found in fish, particularly salmon and tuna. Native Pet's Omega Oil, made with wild-caught salmon and pollock oil, can support healthy skin and a vibrant coat. Dogs don’t actually need to eat any carbs, which is sadly what most commercial-grade dog food is full of.

Fresh dog food is always the best source of the key nutrients that dogs need, so it should always be chosen above heavily processed foods made from low-quality ingredients, usually found in cheap dog food. Since there are more and more fresh dog food delivery companies on the market, you should be able to find one in your are your dog will love.

Take Them to the Groomer

take your dog to the groomer regularly

Nowadays, grooming appointments are not only recommended for breeds that need their dog’s coat trimmed. A grooming appointment offers much more than just trimming, and has many benefits that all dogs can enjoy.

Professional groomers are experienced in providing a relaxing environment for dogs while taking care of all their needs. They are familiar with the right brushing technique specific for each breed and have all the necessary tools to get the job done perfectly. Finally, they can detect and warn about other potential health issues such as those involving the ears, skin, or teeth.

While you don’t have to take your dog to the groomer every week or month, they do deserve the treat sometimes, so establish a regular grooming routine, even if your dog doesn't need their coat cut on a regular basis.

Closing Word

Ensuring that a dog`s coat remains healthy requires a lot of discipline and commitment from dog owners. However, it is important to understand that such dedication is necessary because proper grooming is not only vital to the appearance of a dog`s coat, but to its health, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I feed my dog for a healthy coat?

Any diet which has Omega 3 is good for your dog's coat. Especially Fish oil is the best choice for a healthy coat of your dog. You can buy omega oil here. You can add the fish oil to your dog's food on a regular basis. You can also feed salmon, sardines and tuna to your dog.

What are the best tips to improve my dog's coat? 

The most important tip to improve your dog's coat is to brush your dog regularly. Especially for dog breeds with long hair, brushing is a mandatory party of healthy skin and coat. The second important part of any dog's routine should be regular bathing. If the coat is clean it will be healthy. And last but not least you should feed your dog healthy and high-fat diet regularly. But, take care not to feed too much of fat. 

How to make my dog's hair shiny and soft. 

Healthy hair comes from a healthy food. Therefore, feed your dog healthy food daily. Any food that contains Omega-6 like fish oil, sardines, salmon or tuna should be a regular part of your dog's diet. A clean coat will help your dog's hair grow smooth and shiny. Therefore, you should regularly brush your dog's coat and bathing is essential on a regular basis. 

Are vitamins and minerals good to keep dog's coat soft and shiny?

Yes. Minerals and vitamins are essential for the overall health of your dog including its coat. At the same time a balance diet containing healthy fat, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins can improve the overall health and quality of your dog's life. 


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