How to Give Your Dog Healthy Skin and a Great Coat
How to Give Your Dog Healthy Skin and a Great Coat

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How to Give Your Dog Healthy Skin and a Great Coat

Many factors influence the overall health of your dog’s skin and coat: His diet and grooming schedule, the presence of parasites and seasonal changes can all play a role. Whether your dog is prone to skin issues or you want to ensure your pup’s health for years to come, you’ll need to keep a few key things in mind.

 

 

Schedule Regular Veterinary Checkups

Regular veterinary checkups will ensure that your dog is disease- and parasite-free. Flea-bite allergy and external parasites, such as mange, are primary causes of hair loss and skin problems.

In addition to scheduling checkups, check your dog’s hair and skin at least once a week for signs of fleas (flea dirt or bites), mange or other skin conditions, and hair loss.

 

 

Feed Your Dog a Balanced, Healthy Diet

If your dog’s skin seems thick or scaly or lacks elasticity, or if you notice hair loss, these signs might indicate a nutritional deficiency. Check with your veterinarian, and try feeding him a premium food. It will usually take between six and eight weeks after a diet change to see results. If your pet continues to scratch and chew his skin, consult a veterinarian.
 

When looking for a dog food that will promote good skin and coat health, keep the following in mind:

 

 

Bring on the Protein

What's the best thing you can do for your dog’s skin and coat health? Feed a high-quality food packed with protein, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult MiniChunks. Dogs are best fed as carnivores: They need protein and thrive on diets rich in animal-based protein sources. Additionally, their hair is actually 95% protein! Although coat growth varies by breed, the combined growth of all the hair can add up to 100 feet per day in some dogs. This means that nearly 30% of the animal’s daily protein requirement is used just for coat growth during some seasons.

 

 

Choose Quality Food

Premium pet foods are carefully formulated to be complete and balanced, which means the food includes all of the nutrients your pet needs. Ingredients in premium foods are highly digestible so your dog's body uses the nutrients efficiently. Less costly foods might contain lower-quality proteins. Though a bag of premium food may cost a bit more than other brands, you might be able to feed less, which minimizes the cost difference.

 

 

Follow a Regular Grooming Schedule

It’s easy to spot a healthy-looking dog: He has a gleam in his eye, a bounce in his step and a glossy, healthy coat. That glow is a reflection of your dog’s overall health and a good gauge of what’s going on inside and outside.
 

Regular grooming helps take care of the “outside” by removing loose hair, dirt and mats, and distributing skin oils. Grooming lets you check your pet closely, catching any skin problems early. Plus, your dog will love the attention!
 

As dogs age, their skin might become more sensitive. Select a mild dog shampoo for your older dog. Shampoos made from coconut or palm oils are the mildest. Unusual or “doggy” odors can signal disease, so if odors persist, contact your veterinarian. Do not use human shampoos because they are often too harsh for a dog’s skin.
 

When bathing your dog, be sure to rinse him thoroughly. Residue left on the skin can be irritating. You might want to follow the shampoo with a hair conditioner to control static electricity and add extra body or sheen.
 

During the summer, pay close attention to your dog’s skin and coat. Many dogs shed a winter coat and others face flea problems, so it’s a good time to evaluate your dog’s skin and coat condition to nip any problems in the bud.
 

Attention to your dog's coat and skin from the inside out will produce a healthy, lively dog that is a joy to look at — and a pleasure to live with — every day!

How to Give Your Dog Healthy Skin and a Great Coat
How to Give Your Dog Healthy Skin and a Great Coat
  • Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On
    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

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    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

    Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active

    It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health

    At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite

    Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines

    Continue to use preventive medicines.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Dental Health

    Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Exercise

    Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Diet

    Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.

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