by Loree Walden, Marketing Manager, Yavapai Humane Society
Taking the time to maintain a skin regimen for your pets is just as important as it is for you.
One of the most crucial aspects of helping to keep your dog’s coat healthy is through a good diet. Hair is primarily made of protein so the healthier your dog’s food is, the healthier their coat will be.
Foods that are rich in essential fatty acids are good for your dog’s coat, and many dogs who have problems with their skin find relief by having their diets changed. There are recipes for healthy, homemade dog food online to match your dog’s specific needs.
An inefficient balance of nutrients will negatively affect your cat’s skin and fur, as well.
Your cat’s diet should be appropriate for their age, health and activity level. Their food should be rich in digestible proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Various nutrients, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in skin and hair health.
If your cat or dog has itchy skin, they’ll scratch or lick to get relief that may result in painful wounds or bald patches. The most common reasons for itching are allergies, fungal or bacterial infections and fleas.
Both cats and dogs, especially outdoor cats, should get regular flea and tick preventative treatments. There are different shampoos, oils and supplements to help alleviate issues and make their coat shiny and soft.
I love watching my cats groom themselves, especially when they wet their paws and wipe behind their ears. Still, they could use some help from you — brushing, especially long-haired cats — prevents mats and removes excess dead hair, dirt and dust.
The same goes for helping your dog’s grooming progress. Regular bathing and brushing have a number of benefits such as removing dirt and dead hair, cleaning and soothing the skin, distributing natural necessary oils across the coat, relieving itchy or sensitive skin, controlling or eliminating ticks and fleas, helping to regulate body temperature and reducing odors.
Be careful not to over bathe them, so their skin doesn’t get too dry. Be sure to use a shampoo specific for dogs; keep it simple, opting for shampoos with natural ingredients like oatmeal, aloe vera, herbal proteins, vitamins and citrus extracts.
There also are dry shampoo options for grooming in between regular bath days.