If you're curious about your dog's health, one indicator is the quality of his fur. Smooth, shiny hair is a sign of an animal who enjoys a properly balanced diet and whose coat is getting regular care from his owner. If you spy coarse, brittle fur on your pup or areas where it's not filled in, there could be several reasons your dog's hair isn't growing in a healthy manner.
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For example, your dog might be suffering from fleas that impact hair quality and growth. Your pet could have an underlying health condition that's causing his fur's texture or luster to fade, or he could be missing a key nutrient in his diet. Also, just like people, dogs can experience stress, which may cause fur to fall out and look patchy.
Fight fleas for coat health
Parasites can take up residence on your pooch, causing her skin to itch and her coat to look thin. Fighting fleas will likely involve a flea mediation or treatment, but it's a good idea to take your dog to the vet first if you suspect fleas are the culprit. Check in with your dog's doctor to learn which treatment he recommends and begin application as soon as possible since fleas can inhibit the natural growth of a dog's hair and affect its appearance.
Treating your dog for fleas will give the dog's hair a chance to grow back naturally and fill in the irregular patches caused by these pesky insects. Most treatments involve a regularly scheduled pill that kills the fleas and causes no irritation for the dog. Grooming your dog regularly can also aid in ridding her of these parasites, as you'll sweep away fleas and flea dirt you spy while brushing out tangles and mats in your pet's coat.
Supplement with fatty acids
Certain dietary supplements may promote better coat growth in dogs, particularly omega fatty acids, like fish oil. This supplement is a good fat that can benefit your dog's health in a number of ways, including the treatment of certain skin conditions that lead to a flaky, itchy coat. Fish oil is also known to improve coat appearance and feel, making it shinier and silkier.
Before you pick up a fish oil supplement at the pet store, consult your veterinarian. You'll need to consider your dog's general health, weight, and breed type as well as the kind of diet he's already on (fish oil supplements may deplete vitamin E in some cases).
Consider food allergies
Just as you suffer from watery eyes and sneezing fits, so too can seasonal allergies affect our canine pals. In fact, skin and coat conditions may be directly linked to dry air during the winter or grass and pollen levels at certain times of the year. Some pet owners may try to wash a greasy coat or enhance hair growth with other topical solutions, but lots of shedding may be the sign of something related to your dog's well-being, especially if he's licking or scratching his fur in an excessive manner. Call the vet to see whether allergy medication can help your dog's condition and improve hair growth as a result.
Check your dog's stress level
Do you have a pup who is intensely shedding? Stress could be a factor. When dogs feel anxious, they'll sometimes shed more than usual, and long-term stressful conditions can cause a dog's fur to dull and become coarse or brittle. To address stress in your pet, you might engage in some simple commands as a way to distract her, and it's smart to make sure regular exercise is always on the schedule. Getting a chance to run and play a couple of times a day is an excellent way to relieve stress and have fun too.