How to Keep Your Dog’s Coat Shiny
Believe it or not, your dog’s coat is so much more than just a furry place for you to run your hands through during petting sessions. The health and overall condition of your dog’s coat is actually an indicator of their overall health and nutrition, and it’s important to pay as much attention to it as you would other indicators of their health. Although a certain level of thinning or change in texture or color is common for older dogs or during seasonal shedding, if your dog has had some larger changes to their coat recently, it could be a number of things going on that are worth checking out. In order to follow whether your dog’s coat is in tip-top condition, here’s what you need to know.
Nutrients for a shiny coat
The purpose of your dog’s skin and fur is to block elements including water or heat from leaving, as well as to keep harmful things, like viruses and bacteria, at bay. As with human hair, there are a number of elements that lead to healthy fur. Proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals play an important part in your dog’s overall coat health. A few important proteins to keep in mind when it comes to your dog’s coat health include:
Essential amino acids: Dogs needs a balanced amino acid profile in their diet — including animal- and plant-based foods — for optimal overall health, as well as optimal coat health.
Fatty acids: Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are essential for coat health and must come from your dog’s diet. Luckily, they’re pretty easy to get. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in animal tissues such as chicken fat, as well as in corn and soybean oil, and omega-3s are found in fish oil and canola and flax plants. Without enough of certain types of fatty acids — such as linoleic acid, for example — your dog’s coat may become dull or dry, or they may exhibit hair loss and greasy skin and/or skin inflammation.
Vitamins and minerals: To develop healthy skin and a healthy coat, your dog needs the proper levels of vitamins and minerals. Some of the essential vitamins and minerals for your dog’s coat health include:
- Vitamin A: necessary for growth and skin repair
- Vitamin E: protects skin cells from oxidant damage
- Vitamin C: helps with wound healing
- Biotin: aids in the utilization of protein
- Riboflavin (or B2): necessary for fat and protein metabolism
- Zinc: necessary for fat and protein metabolism
- Copper: involved in tissue, pigment and protein synthesis
Most commercial dog foods provide a proper balance of all the necessary nutrients your dog needs, but if your dog’s coat is exhibiting signs of stress — thinning, dullness, greasiness or it’s falling out — consult with your veterinarian immediately to determine what might be missing and to rule out other medical issues.
Best dog supplements for a shiny coat
Keep in mind that your first line of defense when it comes to the health of your dog’s coat should be a well-maintained diet full of proper nutrients, as well as a proper grooming and bathing schedule based on breed. It’s still unknown whether otherwise healthy dogs actually require ongoing supplements, and excess portions of certain vitamins and minerals can be dangerous to your dog. So consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s overall diet and supplement regimen.
If you are going to supplement your dog with an over-the-counter option, research the brand, and try to stick with companies that specialize in certain types of vitamins or minerals or that have done studies to back up their product. Avoid giving your pet a supplement that is formulated for humans, and don’t be afraid to call the customer service number for any supplement you’re interested in purchasing before doing so. Ask how their products are quality checked, who develops the vitamins and what makes them an expert and how long they’ve been doing it.
Once you’ve done your research and consulted with your veterinarian, if you’re looking for a supplement that will help keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy, consider:
- Omega-3 supplements: Besides a shiny coat, omega-3 supplements also support healthy joints, immune response, and heart and kidneys
- Combination fatty acid supplements: Besides being sold singularly, you can also find over-the-counter comprehensive fatty acid formulas that include both omega-3 and omega-6
- Yeast and garlic tablets: Strange though it may sound, yeast and garlic tablets are formulated with B-complex vitamins and fortified with garlic to help control shedding, condition skin and provide an overall glossy coat.
Can I feed eggs for a dog’s shiny coat?
Some dog parents might believe that feeding their dogs a raw egg will be the magic cure for a shiny and beautiful coat. The truth is that eggs in moderation won’t harm your dog — they actually contain high levels of complete protein including omega-3 and omega-6 which is very important for overall coat health — but you shouldn’t expect to feed your dog eggs in combination with a less-than-stellar diet and see great results. Additionally, some dogs can tolerate only the yolk of an egg, so that’s important to pay attention to their reaction to eggs, as well. Speak with your veterinarian before you attempt to include eggs in your dog’s diet as a source of certain vitamins or minerals for coat health.
Once you understand more about the connection between your dog’s coat and their overall health, and their diet and their coat health, you can provide your dog with the best diet for an overall healthy life and coat. And if you and your veterinarian determine that your dog could use a little extra help, Petco has all the supplements you might need to support your pup’s coat health.