Tips for skin and coat care

The condition of your pet’s skin and their coat is a good indicator of their overall health. Healthy skin should be soft, smooth and clear free of lumps, flakes and raw red spots. A healthy coat will be shiny not greasy, smooth not matted, coarse or brittle and will not have an excessive amount of loose hair or bald patches.

Superior nutrition and regular grooming are essential to keeping your pet’s coat in top condition; we have compiled a handy guide with tips for caring for your pet’s skin and coat.

BRUSHING - All pets will benefit from regular grooming sessions which should be done at a minimum of once a week. It is important that you use the correct tools for your pet’s coat type. We recommend using a brush with widely spaced teeth for the outer layer and a finer soft-bristle brush or comb to maintain their inner layer of fur and the fur around their face. Using a slicker brush is a great way to finish grooming as it will smooth down the top layer of the coat.

BATHING- How often your pet will need to be bathed will depend on their lifestyle, age and coat type however, your average dog will only need to be bathed every 4-6 weeks when they become dirty. Cats will only require bathing when their coat is extra greasy or dirty with grime or a sticky substance which will be hard for your cat to groom off by themselves. It is important that you are not bathing your pet too regularly as it will strip their skin of their natural oils which condition the hair.

Only use a pet specific shampoo as the chemicals in human shampoo are too harsh and will wash off their natural oils and wax leaving their coat brittle and dull, potentially causing rashes on their skin.

When looking for a shampoo it is important to avoid artificial fragrances and dyes and stick to natural ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe vera, herbal proteins, vitamins and citrus extracts which are soothing. Use a conditioner to keep their skin and coat moisturised and reduce dandruff.

NUTRITION - A balanced diet with adequate quantities of protein and amino acid will help to provide strength to your pet’s fur as it is mainly made up of protein. Dull, fragile hair which shreds excessively can be an indication that your pet isn’t getting the minerals and vitamins which they require from their diet; ensure that the first ingredient on the list of their food is a real source of highly digestible protein.

OTHER SUPPLEMENTS - Omega-3 fatty acids which are found in flaxseed and fish oil are known to reduce itching and inflammation in skin as well as adding shine to a pet’s coat. Zinc and vitamin A can help pet’s that have dry scaly skin or crusting however it is important to always get your vet’s recommendation on supplements suitable for your pet as excessive amounts can cause upset stomachs and vomiting or cause harm if given for long periods of time.

FLEA / PARASITE CONTROL - Keeping your pet’s flea and parasite treatments up-to-date is vital to their health. Fur attracts fleas and ticks especially in fur which is dirty or matted, the presence of parasites can lead to itchiness and discomfort for your pet, allergic reactions and infections.

If you see any of these symptoms, it’s time to visit your vet for a skin and coat health check:

  • A significant change in your dog’s coat or skin
  • Evidence of parasites
  • Open sores or signs of infection