A healthy coat isn't just about esthetics. The skin, being the biggest organ, is usually a good indication of what's happening internally. The best way to notice any changes in your dog's coat and therefore overall health, is building habits that help you see the changes.
1. Daily brushing - Their are so many advantages to brushing your dog daily. From reducing knots to bonding with your dog. Adding brushing into your daily routine builds consistency (which dogs love) and also builds their confidence. Connecting an established daily habit with a new one can help reinforce consistency. It could be adding 15min before food time to give the dog's coat a brush through. Evening when you watch your usual TV show or straight after you come back from a walk are some ideas.
2. Combing from the skin out - If you have ever regularly brushed your dog, only to be told by the groomer their is matting and you need to go short, it's most likely because you missed this step. Brushing is great for surface coat, but ideally you want to be able to separate the coat at any point and see skin or be able to get a comb (the closer the teeth of the comb the better) from the skin and down to the end of the hair without any snagging.
3. Regular professional maintenance - How often should you get a professional groom done ? The answer will depend on how consistent your brushing at home is and how long you want to keep the coat. Any where between 2-6 weeks is the ideal time frame.
4. Healthy fresh food - Digestive issues, allergies and poor nutrient content will always show through the skin and coat. This may not always be immediately as nutrients can deplete over time or the immune system can reduce over time. A fresh diet is always ideal but where it's not possible adding fresh food to a dry diet can also have lots of benefits.
5. Quality products - Just like what goes in our bodies matter, what goes on also matters. With a wide range of products that can assist, they should always suit your dog's skin and coat type. If you want to know what products best suit your dog, ask your groomer for a recommendation.
6. Building a positive grooming relationship - I left this till last because this would be the most important, but the most over looked point. How your dog perceives the grooming process can make or break achieving a healthy coat. Stress and anxiety can do a lot to our bodies just like they can to our dog's. Building consistency, confidence and a positive relationship is what changes a dog's mind frame from high stress to feeling comfortable. Dogs have their likes and dislikes just like us. Some dogs love the attention of being groomed while others prefer to be anywhere else. A dog is allowed to dislike the grooming process but they should never have anxiety or fear over it. If they do their is miscommunication somewhere along the line. The only way this can be addressed is through regular, frequent and consistent positive interactions. The more successful sessions a dog has the more they start to feel confident with the process. If your dog finds the grooming process difficult, discuss this with your groomer and possibly a local dog trainer on an action plan.
Bianca is the owner and groomer at Funky Fur dog grooming and always looking for ways to help you care for your pet.