A Healthy Coat
With all of this wind around at the moment, many of us are suffering from extremely bad hair days! Just as important as it is for people to look their best, it is just as important for us to keep our pets’ coats in top condition too. A healthy glossy coat is a sign of a robust and happy pet. While a dull, dry coat can be an indication of disease, allergies or nutritional deficiency.
Here are our top tips for keeping your pet’s coat looking its very best:
The first and most important piece of advice we give is to provide your pet with excellent nutrition. Proper nutrition will usually lead to healthy skin and a shiny coat. With healthy coats pets often have a degree of natural immunity to internal and external parasites.
We all know that demodectic mange or lice on our pets is an indicator of poor health. We often find the pets who receive a fresh, natural and well balanced diet have fewer fleas and less frequently require chemical parasite prevention. An optimal diet consists of fresh and natural ingredients with ‘live’ nutrition. Pets diets should be similar to the diet recommendations that healthy people follow (less processed and refined foods, more fresh wholefoods). It is vital to follow veterinary nutritional recommendations on balancing the diet to ensure mistakes are not made that can have serious health consequences.
Our washing recommendations vary depending on the dog we are discussing. We are seldom mean enough to advise washing cats! A short-coated dog with healthy skin may not need washing more than a few times a year. Whereas a dog suffering from atopic skin disease or an inflammatory condition of the skin may benefit from fortnightly baths. All too often dogs are over-washed. In some cases this can exacerbate the dry itch experienced by allergic dogs, making this condition worse. Reduced washing, or just wiping affected areas with a damp facecloth might produce better results than a weekly bath. The type of shampoo is also very important. Save that medicated shampoo for when it is really necessary for treating skin infections. Instead choose a gentle moisturising shampoo for regular use.
The single most beneficial supplement that we recommend for pets suffering from most skin conditions is a fish oil supplement. The omega 3 essential fatty acids found in marine sourced oil products are second to none. These oils have been proven to both reduce the inflammation of allergic skin disease and for replenishing the natural oils in the skin. Our carnivorous cats and dogs absorb animal based oils better than plant based ones. Flaxseed and safflower seed oil supplements are beneficial, but not as good as fish or krill oils for our pets, particularly cats.
For more great advice on achieving a glossy coat, check out Advantage Petcare’s recent article on the topic: ‘Keeping Your Pet’s Coat Healthy and Shiny’. Bentons Road Vet Clinic Mt Martha are very proud to be asked to contribute to this article.