Five ways to keep your pet’s coat healthy and shiny – Dogs and Cats!

April 2, 2024

How can I keep my pet’s coat healthy and shiny?

Hi, I’m Dr. Sean McPeck. I’m the CEO and owner of Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center. One of the biggest things that we see, especially up here in some of the Arctic temperatures, is we get dry coats and they can get a lot of dandruff, both cat and dog.

There are some common things that we recommend that are very easy to do. Obviously, grooming, taking a brush or a comb and grooming your pet helps to remove some of the underlying finer hair in that coat and helps to remove some of the oils or move some of the oils from the skin surface out through the different layers of the coat. That’s very beneficial.

The other thing is whether the coats are clean and how often we need to bathe the pet. We don’t want to over bathe them because we’re causing the coat to dry out. But bathing once a month, twice a month is usually a good recommendation, especially if it’s an indoor mainly pet.

Cats can be a little bit more difficult, but even going to a professional groomer, we can go down the rabbit hole of the different types of shampoos that they have. But oatmeal shampoos tend to have really good anti-inflammatory properties. A sensitive skin type shampoo is really beneficial.

Now the other aspect of it is if we are feeding our pet a good diet. If we get the generic lower bottom shelf brands of food, sometimes we can get some inflammatory reactions with our pets. And one of the things to look at is how is the G.I. tract of your pet? We know that 70% of the immune system is in the GI tract, and so if we have a healthy GI tract, then systemically we’re going to see a much healthier pet. So adding probiotics, a higher quality food, can be very beneficial systemically, but even going a little bit further and adding in omega fatty acids, fish oils are phenomenal.

Now, we can get a little misled by some of the marketing that is done on foods. I’ve had clients come in and say “well the food has fish oils in it. That’s what it says on the bag”. But when you look at it, there is very little to actually make a difference. Just if I was to tell you to take ibuprofen for a headache. If you took ten milligrams, it’s not going to do anything. If we take 600 milligrams, that’s going to probably help and give anti-inflammatory properties. And the same thing with fish oils. We’ve got to get to that 80 mgs per kg a day dosing to have an anti-inflammatory properties. Systemically, we can really start to see the benefits then in the coat.

So providing fish oils is phenomenal. Providing omega fatty acids is phenomenal. I don’t have a lot of experience with coconut oil, but I’ve heard a lot of pet owners that say they have benefits with coconut oil. But there’s also aspects of parasite prevention. Are we using a parasite prevention? Do your dogs or cats have some type of external parasite that is causing them to damage their skin, that is causing the hair not to come in nicely?

So being on top of your parasite prevention is key to a healthy coat. But there’s only so much we can do, right? Genetics also plays a part in that. And so if you have spoken to your veterinarian and they’ve gone through different supplements, they’ve gone through different bathing and shampoos and they’ve gone through diets, and you’re still having a reaction, then maybe there’s a genetic component to that. And do we have allergies? Allergy testing may be very beneficial if we have chronic inflammation. And you’ve gone through different food trials. Talk to your veterinarian about doing an allergy test. We can talk about stress.

We can talk about anxiety, especially for cats. Are they in an area where they’re able to access higher elevations? We know that cats have a massive reduction in stress hormones if they’re able to climb to get to higher areas. Behavior, analyzing behavior, analyzing stress is something we can see that systemically is in their coat. Excessive shedding is another thing that we can see. If your dog has a lot of anxiety or stress, they’re systemically inflamed. So those are some of the basics.

Make sure they’re clean, make sure they’re groomed, providing a high quality diet, good genetics, providing supplements that are beneficial to the coat quality omega fatty acids. And then there’s other topicals that you rub on to the skin surface to help give a luster and shine and hydration to the coat. If you like this video, leave a LIKE and SUBSCRIBE for future content and let us know what you think.