Admit it: you love it when people compliment you on how cute your dog is. In fact, you’d like your dog to be the cutest dog in the neighborhood. So how can you keep them looking fresh?
The number one way to keep your dog looking in tip-top shape is to care for their coat. Fur is one of the first things people notice when admiring a dog – and it’s what everyone loves to pet! Here are four ways to keep your dog’s fur looking sharp.
- Brush Your Dog’s Coat
The most basic things a dog owner can do to keep their pet’s fur fresh and clean is to brush regularly. Brushing your dog’s coat helps prevent tangles, removes dead and shedding hair, encourages healthy oils to spread throughout their fur, and is a great way to check for fleas and ticks, according to the ASPCA. But how often should you brush? Well this depends largely on what kind of fur your dog has. And with so many different styles of comb out there, it can be hard to determine what’s right for you dog. Here is a quick guide:
- Your dog has a smooth, short coat – This type of fur should be brushed once a week with a rubber-bristled comb. Rubber bristles are all it takes to get dead fur and dirt off of your dog’s short coat. The rubber is also more gentle on skin that might be close to the bristles or fully exposed. Look for a grooming glove that has bristles on one side and a polishing cloth on the other. Polishing your dog’s fur will give it that sleek look and extra shine!
- Your dog has a short, dense coat – Regular brushing should be done once a week to prevent tangles and remove dead fur. Since the fur is more dense, the ASPCA recommends using two different styles of brush. Start with a slicker-style brush to detangle any knots. Finish off with a bristle brush to remove the dead hair. During shedding season, use a rake-style brush to pull out the excess hair that is falling out.
- Your dog has a long silky coat – Fur like this can get tangled very easily. This will require daily brushing using a slicker brush to remove any tangles. Finishing off with a bristle brush helps to smooth out the coat and remove any dead hairs.
- Your dog has a wiry coat – Even fur that doesn’t shed requires some TLC. If your dog’s coat is short, brush once or twice a week with a bristle brush to maintain smoothness. If your dog’s coat is longer and prone to tangles, brush with a slicker brush to remove knots. Finish off with a bristle brush to smooth the hair.
No matter what kind of fur your dog has, we recommend that you always comb your dog with a fine-tooth brush or comb after an outdoor adventure. This will not only remove any loose dirt, but also will help you catch ticks early, before they can cause any problems.
- Bath Time!
Unless your pet is getting very dirty on a regular basis, the ASPCA recommends bathing your dog only once every three months. Excessive bathing can actually remove all the wonderful, natural oils your dog’s skin produces. These oils make your dog’s fur look healthy and shiny. No need to wash those away!
There are about as many kinds of shampoos as there are dogs, so it’s up to you to shop around and find one you like! Never use a human shampoo on a dog however. Some human shampoos may contain chemicals or fragrances that could irritate a dog’s skin and cause a rash. It’s always best to use a shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs. Ask your vet for a recommendation that best suits your dog.
Before a bath, it’s always a good idea to brush away any excess fur and get rid of any knots. Once only the healthy fur remains, use lukewarm water to wet your dog from head to toe. Be careful not to get any water in their eyes, ears, and nose! Massage the shampoo into your dog’s fur slowly and gently, similar to your own hair. Rinse your dog thoroughly, and towel dry by patting them down. Now step back before your dog shakes that water off!
- Eat the Right Dog Food
Eating? That’s right! Good food makes a huge difference in the appearance of your dog’s coat. If you are feeding your dog food made with poor quality ingredients, it will show in their fur and skin.
So what should your dog be eating? First it is best to look for a dog food that is corn and wheat free. Corn and wheat are often used as filler ingredients in dog foods, and don’t add any nutritional benefits for your dog. In addition, it is not uncommon for dogs to have an intolerance to wheat and other grains. This intolerance can cause the oils in your dog’s skin to dry out, affecting the healthiness of their coat.
The second ingredient you should look for is salmon. The omega-3s in salmon and other fish ingredients are fantastic for your dog’s skin and coat. They encourage the production of those wonderful, natural oils on your dog’s skin, making their coat shiny and healthy.
But maybe your dog doesn’t like salmon! Not to worry. There are plenty of other great foods you can feed your pup that will encourage a healthy coat. Any high quality dog food will do wonders. Dog Food Advisor is a fantastic resource that rates all the dog foods under the sun. Check out their favorite dry foods, wet foods, and even raw foods! The higher the rating, the better quality food you will be feeding your dog.
Not every dog is going to need a haircut. Your dog might have sleek, short fur that never grows long at all! For those kinds of dogs, a haircut is not necessary.
But what other breeds of dogs need haircuts? In general, dogs that are considered “hypoallergenic” will need regular fur trimming. This is because hypoallergenic breeds actually don’t have fur at all – they have hair! Their hair will grow and grow until it is cut, so it is important to make regular appointments with your local groomer
Some people also choose to give their long-haired dogs a summer haircut for comfort in the hot weather. It is important to find a reputable groomer in your area who can cut the fur evenly, so that it grows back nicely. Since dogs with long fur do shed in the summer, it is not necessary to get the haircut, but can provide comfort for you dog. And make fur clean up a little easier for you!
Keeping a regular coat-grooming schedule for your dog is important for a dog’s health and overall appearance. Grooming can also be a great time to bond with your dog too! Always remember to be gentle and move slowly if introducing something new. And don’t forget to have a little fun!