How to Get That Healthy Winter Fur Coat (for your dog, not you)!

Yorkshire terrier

What is a dog owner to do with the havoc this weather wrecks on your dog’s fur coat? This winter the temperature is swinging between sunny/60  and windy/17 degrees! Here are three things to consider for a healthy fur coat: bathing, grooming, and diet.

Dogs should really only be bathed twice a year – overbathing drys the skin and coat.
You can always go the easy route and do a quick wash-cloth wipe down for your furry baby. One commercial wipe is Earthbath All Natural Hypo-Allergenic and Fragrance Free or use plain old baby wipes.

When washing, use either a dog shampoo or a baby shampoo. These won’t hurt their eyes and is non-toxic. Vet’s recommend shampoos like: Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo,  Halo Cloud Nine herbal shampoo, Vet Solutions Aloe and Oatmeal Shampoo, and 1-800-Pet meds even has their own moisture shampoo!

The ASPCA has the following statement:
” Because of their activities, breed types, or individual skin or coat types, some dogs need baths more often than others. Other dogs spend lots of time outdoors and get dirty fast. However, if you bathe your dog too often, you might cause skin irritation and flaking, so be sure to check with your dog’s veterinarian to find out how frequently you should give your dog baths”.

It is recommended by Cesar Millan (the Dog Whisperer) that you “bathe a dog with normal skin once a month with dog shampoo or human baby shampoo. If you want to bathe more often than that, use a soap-free or moisturizing shampoo to prevent the skin from becoming dry. Unless a dog has skin problems, there is no specific need to bathe the dog except to make him a more enjoyable (smelling) companion.”

Your dog’s coat has natural oils on his skin, and brushing every day helps spread those oils throughout the coat,  keeps it shiny, and removes any dirt/burrs. Bristle brushes can be used on all fur. For short fur, Four Paws Magic Coat Red Pet Love Glove or a close-spaced bristle brush. For Medium fur, a pin brush to get the strays or a slicker brush with fine wire bristles to remove mats and tangles. For Long fur, a wire pin brush or medium bristle work best, although, there is the Furminator Deshedder if you really want to get the undercoat fur.

You don’t want a dull coat or dandruff, so making sure your dog EATS well is important. Healthy fats play an important role in keeping your dog’s coat in good condition. If your dog has dry skin in the winter, try adding Olive Oil to his food. Vegetable oils are also a source of omega-6 fatty acids. Pet stores sell omega-6 supplements, but “honestly, sunflower oil or safflower oil works fine,”Veterinary says. For a small dog, stir in one teaspoon of oil per meal. For a large dog, give one tablespoon per meal.

If you need pet sitting in the Raleigh, Cary, Apex, NC area…

Call Four Paws Pet Sitting Services (919) 388-PAWS

Our Vacation visits include lots of love and brushing too!

Thank you Nicole B., one of our pet sitters in Cary, NC for writing this article.

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