When we first brought Ralph home just over a year ago, he was scared and timid and his coat was an absolute wreck. As far as we know he had been living out in the woods for the entirety of his life, so he didn’t have access to quality food and definitely was not regularly bathed and groomed.
The rescuers had given Ralph a wellness check, some necessary vaccinations, and probably his first ever bath before we picked him up to foster, but his coat was wiry, rough, and dry. We knew he was overall fairly healthy despite the conditions that he had been in, but his skin and coat needed a lot of work. At this point we didn’t know where Ralph would find his forever home, but we knew we wanted to get his coat a whole lot shinier and softer to help him find it.
Today Ralph is our amazing foster failure and his coat is as soft and shiny as I could have imagined. This change certainly didn’t happen overnight, but it wasn’t really that difficult of a result to obtain either.
Three Factors Helped Ralph Get a Rock Star Coat:
What you feed your dog is going to have a huge affect on their overall health and energy level. If you have any room in your budget for your pets, I recommend putting any and all extra funds into what they eat. Buy the very best you can afford and if you are going to splurge anywhere, make it on food. Your dogs love toys and treats, but their food is what keeps them going and they eat it every single day.
I feed my dogs on a rotation diet partly because I work with several amazing pet food companies and partly because rotating food has several benefits including the ability to save money by buying product when things are on sale or you have an excellent coupon. No matter what food Ralph and Luna are currently eating, it has to meet my rigorous test of having no by-product meals, fillers, or any ingredients from China. I often try to find grain-free options and always avoid corn, soy, artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.
I alternate between dehydrate food options and kibble. Some of our most trusted food choices include The Honest Kitchen, Petcurean, and Wellness.
Regular Bathing and Grooming
Both Ralph and Luna are short hair dogs (with Ralph a little on the longer side). I made the decision to adopt short haired dogs because I knew my lifestyle wasn’t going to put up with a dog who needed to be trimmed and brushed every single day. However, bathing and brushing are still critical for keeping their skin and coats healthy.
We bathe them to remove dirt and excess oils. We also brush out loose hair from their undercoat. This is also important because it reduces how much dog hair is all over our home. I wish I could say that I have a schedule of how often one should do this, but I don’t. Life gets in the way and the time periods range, but I make sure it gets done.
Adding a Fish Oil Supplement
Out of all three things we do, I think adding the fish oil supplement has made the biggest difference for Ralph. For the past year, I’ve added a bit of fish oil to Ralph’s daily morning meal. Fish oil coats kibble pretty well and it can also easily be mixed into dehydrated dog food with water. I haven’t once noticed the taste or smell affecting his appetite. In fact, I think it might improve it!
I’ve tried several different fish oil supplements for dogs and my current favorite is from WellyTails. We’ve been a long time fan of WellyTails products including their WellyTails Fortified Wild Ocean Fish Oil Omega-3 Blend is a blend of Wild Caught Ocean Fish Oil (anchovy, sardine, and/or mackerel), Cold Pressed Flax Seed Oil, Cold Pressed Borage Seed Oil, and Cod Liver Oil.
I have found it as a great value because the specially designed Stay Ever Fresh Airless Pump bottle helps you dispense exactly the right amount of fish oil and prevents if from going rancid. It eliminates any over use or waste and prevents the possible health hazards that come with rancid oils. You can read more in our previous review.
Fish oil offers dogs multiple health benefits, not just promoting a strong, healthy, and shiny coat:
- Reduces dry and itchy skin
- Reduces dermatitis
- Reduces excess shedding
- Supports brain and eye health
It’s been amazing to see the changes in Ralph and Luna’s coats since we started adding fish oil to their diet. Both are soft to the touch and super shiny. In fact, sometimes photographing Ralph is difficult because his coat is both black and shiny! I fully intend to keep using fish oil supplements with any dog I ever have.
If your dog’s skin or coat could use something help, I strongly suggest adding a bit of fish oil to their diet.