Looking for natural ways to help your fur babe have a shiny, soft coat? Check them out below. Plus I've also included some recommendations for helping white dogs stay super sparkly white.
The look and feel of your pet's coat comes down to a number of factors. It's not, and never should be, as simple as using a moisturising shampoo, or a whitening shampoo if you have a white dog.
Whilst shampoos might help to change the appearance and feel of your dog's coat, many contain artificial fragrances, preservatives and toxic chemicals that can harm your pet's health.
And most cats hate being washed so it's certainly not a solution for improving the look and feel of your cat's coat.
Here are 6 natural tips that you can try to improve the look and feel of your dog's or cat's coat.
1. Natural, species appropriate diet
I'm always talking about how important nutrition is and that it is the foundation of health. That's because it is! And yes, it is an important factor when it comes to your pet having a soft and shiny coat.
Pets with dry and lacklustre coats will usually be eating a poor quality diet. By that I mean their diet is probably high in carbohydrates, contains artificial ingredients and lacks adequate moisture and protective nutrients.
For healthy coat and skin (and good health overall), feed a diet that contains:
whole, clean foods;
human grade ingredients;
a minimal amount of carbohydrates (ideally less than 10% for dogs and less than 5% for cats); and
no or very minimal synthetic supplements.
If you'd like guidance on how to feed your pet a diet that provides them with the best health for a shiny and soft coat, check out The Real Food Diet for Cats and Dogs eBooks.
2. Supportive supplements
If your pet's coat appears dry and dull, incorporate an omega 3 supplement into their diet. Omega 3 fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat. My top picks for omega 3 supplementation are Green Lipped Mussel Powder and Antinol Rapid.
3. Fresh, clean water
Hydration is key when it comes to healthy coat and skin. If you're feeding your pet dry food, they will probably be dehydrated, even if they're drinking water. Switch to a diet that contains moist, fresh food for optimal hydration.
And make sure that fresh, clean water is always available. Ceramic water fountains are a great way to provide cool, fresh and filtered water for both cats and dogs.
Unfortunately there are many toxic chemicals in tap water. For optimal health, give your pets filtered or spring water.
4. Regular brushing
Brushing is essential to skin and coat health, even if your pet has short hair. Not only does brushing help to boost circulation and stimulate new hair growth, it helps to remove dirt, excess fur (minimising shedding and fur balls) and dead skin, prevents matting of fur and it helps to distribute the natural oils produced by your pet's skin and coat. It's also a wonderful opportunity to bond with your fur babe.
5. Minimise washing
This tip may come as a surprise. If you've been googling the topic of soft pet coats, you've probably seen a lot of people recommend regular baths. Some even suggest weekly baths! The problem with frequent washing is that it can strip the natural oils from your pet's skin and coat. Without these oils, the skin and coat can become dry.
Cats are some of the cleanest animals on the planet and shouldn't need washing.
Dogs can get up to a lot of mischief, playing in the dirt, rolling around in nasty smells. Of course, you need to wash them when they get dirty or smelly. Other than that, they should only need an occasional bath (every two to three months).
Massage can do wonders for stimulating those natural oils in the skin and coat that I spoke about. Like brushing, massage can boost circulation and help to remove excess fur. Plus it's a lovely way to bond with your fur babe.
Create a super pamper session for your pet by incorporating coconut oil in the massage. Coconut has natural deodorising and moisturising properties. Once you've finished your pet's pamper session, wipe off any excess oil with tissue, paper towel or a cotton or other natural fibre cloth. Most pets love the taste of coconut oil, so they'll be happy to remove any excess that you don't wipe off.
What about white dogs?
You'll read a lot on the internet about how to keep white dogs coats clean and white. Regular washing with whitening shampoos is commonly recommended. But like with many pet shampoos, whitening shampoos can contain toxic ingredients.
In addition to incorporating the above tips into your dog's coat care protocol, my favourite natural solution for keeping white dogs white is baking soda. And it's not just a handy tip for white dogs.
All dogs (and even cats can benefit) from baking soda applied to their coat. Baking soda not only acts as a natural bleaching agent (I use it to help keep my whites clean and bright), it can help prevent itching, remove odours and it can form part of a natural flea control regime.
You can mix up a paste for spot stain cleaning, add it to your dog's regular bath and use it as a dry shampoo.
To make the paste, combine equal amounts of baking soda and water until it forms a paste. Apply it to any dirty spots, leave to dry then rinse off.
To use as a dry shampoo, sprinkle over your dog's dry fur, rub it in and then brush it through. You're going to want to do this outside to prevent a snow-like mess inside.
I recommend buying aluminium free baking soda.
Underlying health issue?
If these tips don't help to soften your pet's coat, or they continue to have dry, itchy skin, they might have an underlying health issue. Take your pet to the vet for some diagnostics and feel free to contact me for help with a natural protocol to support your fur babe.