How to keep your dog's fur healthy and shiny

You want to look your best – and when you love your dogs, you want them to look their best too. It’s not as shallow as it sounds. In humans, hair structure can be an indicator of health, and the same is true for your dogs’ fur. Numerous studies demonstrate a connection between nutritional deficiencies and an animal’s coat health – so monitoring your dog’s fur can be one sign to indicate whether they are receiving optimum nutrition or not.

How do I know if my dog's coat is healthy?

Healthy dogs typically have shiny or solid coats that feel smooth to the touch, even in breeds with coarse fur. The fur should have no foul odour if you are grooming regularly, and it should be evenly distributed with no bald spots. Put simply, a healthy dog’s coat should look good, feel good and smell good too.

Signs of an unhealthy dog coat

You may have noticed that your dog’s coat is dry and brittle, or even that your dog’s fur is falling out. Dull, dry, brittle hair, saliva stains, hair loss and bald patches are signs that something might be amiss. Living with your dog everyday, you may not notice a gradual deterioration of their coat’s shine. You might only notice it when you look at old photographs of your dog - perhaps last year, its coat was shiny whereas now it is looking duller. You may have also noticed more shedding. 

Dogs shed naturally in different seasons, but shedding more than normal can sometimes be an indication that your dog’s coat is unhealthy. 

Watch out for other signs of an unhealthy coat, including rancid odours between washes, flakes of skin and matting. If your dog is losing weight and fur, we recommend a visit to your vet to rule out underlying conditions. 

How to make your dog's coat shiny

To make your dog’s coat healthy and shiny, you must first identify what is causing it to lose its strength. Dog fur is made up almost entirely of protein. Research has shown that up to 30 percent of the protein your dog consumes goes into supporting his or her skin and fur, so often a dull or thinning coat points towards deficiencies. In many cases, changing your dog’s diet can help rectify this. 

Flakes in your dog’s fur can indicate dry skin, often an indicator of allergies to your current pet food, dog shampoo or, in spring and summer, pollen. Sometimes, it can also be a sign of a bacterial infection. 

Bald spots may also point towards an allergy. If your dog is licking or scratching frequently, you’re potentially dealing with parasites such as fleas or mites, or an underlying condition such as Cushing’s disease. 

Visit your vet to rule out any underlying conditions and skin problems and get them treated. Be sure to also schedule regular grooming sessions to keep your dog’s coat clean and trimmed. Otherwise, changing your dog’s diet may be the ticket to a healthier, shinier coat as dogs can have intolerances to certain grains, vegetables and other ingredients found in some dog foods.

What are the best dog foods for a healthy shiny coat

If you’re wondering how to soften a dog's coat and restore its shine, the answer may well be found on their plate. Your dog needs a nutritionally balanced diet. Protein is important for hair and skin health. Other foods good for dog’s fur include oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and foods such as beef and salmon which contain zinc – this important, often overlooked mineral helps prevent itchy skin and bacterial infections.

Commercial dog foods are cooked at high temperatures to extend shelf life, which diminishes their nutritional value. These foods often contain common fillers, such as wheat, corn and carrots, which can prompt allergic reactions in your dog. 

Armed with this knowledge, many dog lovers opt to give their dog raw offcuts from the butchers. While well-intended, raw foods can expose dogs to dangerous bacteria, parasites and diseases. Home-cooked foods can be much better for dogs than commercial dog foods and raw food diets, but it can be harder to ensure you are feeding your dogs a nutritionally balanced diet. 

Pets Love Fresh may well be the best dog food for a healthy shiny coat, developed with your dog’s optimal health in mind. We use fresh, human-grade natural ingredients, cooked at a low temperature to retain their goodness. There are no processed nasties, preservatives or questionable fillers in our recipe – instead we have opted for organic brown rice and protein-rich eggs to support your dog’s coat health. 

The main ingredient in our recipe is British meat and poultry, rich in all the amino acids needed for healthy hair and skin. Our recipes pack in 70-80% real British meat and poultry. Compare that to the low levels of protein found in commercial dog foods - some only contain 4%, which is the legal minimum required in order to claim that a dog food has meat in it. Our recipe also contains seaweed, including the ingredient DHC known for beautiful shiny coats, and all the vitamins and micronutrients your dog needs for optimal health. 

By feeding your dog an optimum, high-protein diet, you should notice an improvement in their coat within a few weeks.

Should you give your dog supplements? 

Pets Love Fresh has been developed as a nutritionally balanced, complete dog food with all the nutrients your dog needs. For most dogs, there is no need to give your dog additional supplements. 

No supplement is a substitute for a well-balanced meal. Studies show that bodies can more easily absorb whole food-based nutrients than synthetic supplements. 

That said, your dog may have a health problem that means he or she needs more of a particular nutrient. And knowing how good omega-3s are for fur health, many people opt to supplement their dog’s diet with flaxseed or fish oils, or slip them the occasional piece of cooked salmon. 

As a tasty treat, we like to give our dogs Wolf Fish Flatties, packed with Omega 3’s and 6’s high in protein – so great for shiny coats.

Don’t take our word for it. After switching to Pets Love Fresh, many of our happy customers have noticed improvements in dog coat shine. Click here to order your Pets Love Fresh adult dog or puppy taster pack, to help your dog get a healthier, shinier coat.