by Loree Walden, Marketing Manager, Yavapai Humane Society
Taking the time to maintain a skin regimen for pets is just as important as it is for you.
Diet is a crucial aspect in helping to keep your dog’s coat healthy, as hair is primarily made of protein. So the healthier your dog’s food is, the healthier their coat.
Foods rich in essential fatty acids are good for your dog’s coat, and many dogs with skin problems find relief by changing their diet. Recipes for healthy, homemade dog food to match a specific dog’s needs can be found online.
An inefficient balance of nutrients will adversely affect your cat’s skin and coat, as well. Your cat’s diet should be suited to their age, health and activity level. Their food should be rich in digestible proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Several nutrients, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in skin and hair health.
If your cat or dog has itchy skin, they’ll scratch or lick to get relief, which 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. Check with your vet if skin issues seem to be getting worse. There are shampoos, oils and supplements to help alleviate issues and make coats shiny and soft.
I love watching my cats groom themselves, especially when they wet their paws and wipe behind their ears. They could use some help from you, though, to help maintain the “purrfect” coat. One of my cats is a 22-pound Maine Coon with long fur, and I have to brush him every week, sometimes more often, to prevent mats. By doing this I’m helping to remove excess dead hair, dirt and dust from his coat.
The same applies to dogs with helping their grooming progress. Regular baths are important to get rid of grease and dirt buildup from their skin, but be careful not to over bathe so their skin doesn’t get too dry. Be sure to use a shampoo specific for dogs that will not irritate their eyes and has the proper conditioning ingredients.
Use your time helping with their grooming routine to have extra bonding time. It’s a win-win for both of you!