Properly caring for your dog's coat is one of the most important responsibilities that come with being an owner. Not only will improper care lead to long-term health problems for your dog, but it will also cost you more than a pretty penny to treat. Trust me, I saw it as a dog groomer.
Overview of a Dog's Coat
The anatomy of your dog's coat isn't as scary as expert make it seem with all their jargon. The topcoat (aka guard hair) protects your dog's skin from foreign objects and acts as extra insulation.
The undercoat is the insulating layer, but not all dogs have it. Whether or not they do determines how fast they shed. This is why poodles leave a lot less hair laying around compared to a black lab.
Undercoats are seasonal as your dog's body prepares for warmer or colder weather. For this reason, a dog with an undercoat sheds a lot more during the fall and spring in preparation for the extreme cold or warm weather of winter or summer.
Pretty simple, right? Now to delve into the specific question:
What Makes Your Dog's Coat Shiny?
The basic answer is that it all depends on your dog's nutrition, bathing frequency, and stress levels.
Just like in humans, Omega-3 fatty acid is a great nutrients that aids in healthy hair growth. It regulates the skin's oil production, so improper levels of consumption from your dog's diet can lead to dull and brittle hair because their coat is not getting the oil it needs.
When dog's skin is less moisturized, they will have dandruff and can be itchy, which leads to other coat problems. If their itching persists for long enough, you may have to take them to the vet and deal with a hefty bill.
Dogs need Omega-3 fatty acids to be added to their diet, so make sure their food has enough of this nutrients, especially if you notice their coat is not shiny.
Just like I mentioned before, dog and human hair has a lot of similarities, and that is no different in terms of baths. You want to make sure your dog gets a bath regularly, especially if they are outside a lot and their coat picks up debris, but over bathing leads to complications as well.
There is no exact answer for how often dogs should get a bath, especially because this varies by breed, activity level, and other specific health conditions. Asking your veterinarian will make sure that you are hitting the sweet spot and not stripping your dog's coat of essential oils.
If you notice your dog gets smelly in between baths, using a dry shampoo powder like Doggie Deodorant is a great way to safely make them smell better. The simple ingredient lists strips them of their odor, but doesn;t strip them of their oil.
Stress causes a lot of problems in dog's health. Other than causing their coat to look dull and their hair to shed more than normal, it can cause digestive issues and hormone imbalances. Improper digestion, as I mentioned above, is another health problem that can affect your dog's coat, so stress is a major factor that owners need to be aware of.