Caring for your dog’s coat may not seem like a major priority but your dog’s coat is actually a good indicator of your dog’s overall health.  If your dog’s coat becomes dry, brittle, or patchy it may be a sign of illness.  And, if your dog’s coat is thick and shiny, it is likely a sign of not only good an proper care but also of good health.   Even if you take your dog to the groomer, your dog will likely need some basic care for their coat from time to time.  The amount of care, and the type of care, will depend heavily on what your dog’s coat is like.

While each dog breed has certain common coat characteristics, every dog’s coat is unique, particularly if they are mixed-breed.  But, there is one thing that is true of every dog regardless of breed or coat type – proper care for your dog’s coat begins with nutrition.  A healthy dog eating a nutrient-dense diet is more likely to have a healthy, shiny coat than a dog that is not getting adequate nutrition.

In addition to proper nutrition, brushing your dog’s hair is an important component of proper dog coat care.  Whether your dog has a relatively short coat or a long, thick coat, your dog will not only enjoy the bonding time of brushing, but it will feel good and help their coat look nice.  Brushing re-distributes the natural oils that are near the scalp and those oils protect your dog’s coat and keep it looking shiny and healthy.  If your dog has a long coat they may need daily or every other day brushing but for dogs with shorter coats once per week should be enough.  There are many different brushes and combs from which to choose and choosing the appropriate one for your dog’s coat is important.  A wide-toothed comb or brush is ideal for thick coats to remove knots.  Near the face where coats tend to be shorter, or on shorter-coated dogs, a more finely-spaced brush or comb is more appropriate.

And, don’t forget to bathe your dog!  Not only will it help your dog be more hygienic and less stinky but it will help their coat look its best.  However, it is important to know how often to bathe – over or under bathing is not ideal for any dog’s coat.  Unless your dog has been out rolling around in mud it is best to only bathe them once per month.  The ASPCA offers their guidance and expertise on dog bathing frequency, “The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog at least once every three months, but some may require more frequent baths if he or she spends a lot of time outdoors or has skin problems.”  With proper care you will spend extra time bonding with your dog and helping your dog’s coat look its best.