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Maintaining glossy dog coats

What do you do if you notice that your dog is suffering from a dull and lacklustre coat? Most canine professionals will tell you that it's probably linked to 'poor nutrition' but what does this actually mean?

Just like humans, the food our dogs consume has an acute effect on our dog's appearance. So, the first thing we must all do is make sure that we are feeding our dog nutrition that includes a healthy diet of meat, proteins, and fatty acids. Moreover, we must check that the food we are feeding is also free from common allergens.

Allergens are things that could cause unwanted allergic reactions. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by common allergens in the environment but we can go some way in protecting our pets from them. A common allergen in dog foods is gluten, which is found in wheat, grains, and cereals. Within the Nature's Harvest pet food range we have created a grain-free range of dog food that removes these common allergens and is ideal for those dogs who are prone to allergic reactions.

There are also certain medical problems that could cause a dull coat, and if you have tried many of the ideas below and still feel that your dog's coat is lacklustre, perhaps a trip to the vet is in order. Things like parasites, thyroid and kidney problems can deplete your dog of key nutrients important for healthy coats.

There are many natural ways in which you can improve a dull coat:

1. Oat Baths: Dogs that have lacklustre coats often have skin problems, including forms of dry skin and eczema. An oatmeal bath can soothe your dog's skin reducing itching leading to a shiny coat. It's easy to give your dog an oatmeal bath. Take a couple of handfuls of porridge oats and put them into an old pair of tights. Run lukewarm water through the tights into your dog bath and allow your dog to stand in it while you massage your dog's coat for around 10-15 minutes, making sure you avoid their eyes. Rinse off and pat your dog dry. Giving your dog an oat bath regularly will maintain the health of your dog's skin.

2. Coconut Oil: For dog's prone to dry skin, adding a small amount of coconut oil (around 1 teaspoon) to your dog's nutrition can help in clearing up extreme skin conditions. Be careful not to give too much oil though as this can cause diarrhoea.

3. Brush Regularly: Brushing your dog regularly stimulates the hair and skin follicles to produce more sebum (the natural oil found in skin). This, in turn, keeps coats glossy. Try and brush your dog at least once a day.

4. Bathe Regularly but not too much: This does depend on the length of your dog's coat and whether your dog is prone to jumping in muddy puddles! Once a month is a good rule of thumb, regularly enough to keep the coat clean but not too much that you are stripping the natural oils from your dog's coat. Use a natural moisturising shampoo or use an oat bath as outlined above. Using a natural conditioner afterwards that contains vitamin E will soothe the skin and fur. Some owners also massage coconut milk into their dog's fur about 10 minutes before bathing to soothe the skin prior to shampooing.

There are many ways you can help your dog maintain a healthy glossy coat and the list above is certainly not exhaustive but we hope that this gives you a few ideas to try out.

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