A good diet and effective parasite control will keep your pet’s coat looking its best.
Like humans a good quality, balanced diet will keep your pet in peak physical health. You know your cat or dog is in good health when their coat is glossy and the skin underneath is well nourished and moisturised, not dry, flaking, red or irritated. Your pet has energy to burn and just looks happy. Bentons Road Vet Clinic’s philosophy on feeding may be a little different from what you are used to hearing but making some nutritional changes in your pet’s diet can dramatically improve the health of their skin and coat.
1. A good quality, well-balanced diet rich in fresh and natural ingredients will ensure your pet is receiving all of the nutrients they require to keep their skin and coat healthy resulting in a shiny coat. Pets receiving excellent nutrition often have higher natural immunity to external parasites, needing less chemical treatment for fleas, lice and mites. A high level of omega 3 essential fatty acids are crucial in the diet to maintain skin health and help manage allergic skin disease and these are often lacking in highly processed commercial diets. For more information on nutrition and feeding, click here
2. Parasite prevention is essential to keep your pet irritation free and to keep the skin and coat looking its best and we have already shown that a good quality diet can help reduce the incidence of parasites in our pets. We recommend chemical treatments (spot-on or tablet form) immediately for fleas only when a problem exists or if a pet is at high risk of contracting fleas (think dogs that frequently socialise with many other dogs). Many indoor or low risk pets do not require regular parasite treatment for a problem they do not have.
3. Regular brushing to remove knots, shedding fur and old skin cells will keep the coat looking its best. Regular brushing also helps to spread the natural oils through the coat and along the shaft of the hair, improving shine.
4. Infrequent washing. Contrary to common belief, dogs do not always need to be washed every week and in fact, over-washing is one of the leading causes of a poor skin barrier function as the natural oils are stripped from the skin and fur. These oils are essential to protect the skin from the elements and allergens and if lacking, skin can become dry and itchy, causing constant scratching, bleeding and infection. Wash your dog only when necessary and with a mild dog shampoo that maintains the natural pH of dog’s skin. Use a leave-in conditioner to help reduce the frequency of washes and moisturise the skin; these keep the coat smelling good and repel dirt. They can also soothe irritated skin, reducing the impact of allergies.
5. Regular exercise keeps the blood pumping to the skin surface and improved cardiac function means the entire body reaps the rewards of good health.
6. Monitoring for allergies and addressing this pesky problem early and consistently will help to prevent skin appearing dry and irritated. If allergies are left unmanaged, skin often becomes thicker and darker in colour, bumpy and foul smelling. Skin loses its health and fur loses its shine. Chronic allergic disease is a common reason pets may not look their best and is a sign of underlying pain and inflammation that needs to be addressed.
7. Regular visits to your vet will ensure your pet is as healthy as it can be and will keep them looking and smelling their best.