Signs of Unhealthy Dog Fur

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You may have noticed that your dog's fur doesn't look as good as it once did. It may have lost its shine, or it may feel dry and brittle. It's important that you identify reasons for changes in your buddy's coat. Poor coat quality could be the sign of poor nutrition or a skin problem. Learning what to look for in your dog's coat will help you keep your pal healthy and happy.


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Excessive Shedding

It's perfectly normal for dogs to shed off their winter coats as warmer months approach. However, a dog who is losing hair excessively, especially during the colder parts of the year, has a health problem that's affecting his coat. A dog who is shedding excessively may be suffering from any of a number of skin diseases, including those caused by allergies or fleas; but the cause may also be hormones, hotspots, bacterial infections, or even tumors. Sometimes excessive shedding can be stopped with a change to a different dog food. If your dog is losing an abnormal amount of hair, he needs to see a veterinarian.


Dull Coat

A healthy dog's coat will be shiny. If your dog's fur is dull, you may be feeding him a poor quality food. Look for foods that have a good source of protein and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. This will help add shine to your dog's fur. Be sure to brush your pet daily to remove dead hair so that the essential oils your dog's skin secretes aren't blocked.

Brittle Coat

Just like humans, a dog may have brittle hair and split ends if his coat is unhealthy. If you notice your dog's hair breaking when you brush him, or if his fur feels brittle, there's a problem. A dog's hair is 90 percent protein, so you need to make sure the label for your dog's food lists meat as the first ingredient. This will help ensure he's getting enough high-quality protein.



Dogs should not have an odor. With some exceptions for show dogs and some coat types, a healthy dog should only require a bath only every one to two months, or even less frequently, unless the dog rolls in something nasty. Too frequent bathing removes the natural oils from the coat. If your dog has a foul odor that persists, he could have a skin problem, or the problem could be something as simple as accumulated dead hair that needs to be removed with proper grooming. Make sure your pal is eating a healthy diet and getting regular brushing. If everything is in order but the odor persists, take him to your vet to find out why.


By Amy Brantley

Dog Health Guide: Dog Hair Care and Treatment
Hill's Pet: Keeping your dog's coat healthy
Dogs Life: Healthy Coat and Skin

About the Author
Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.