A dog’s fur is not just their way of keeping warm. It is an integral part of them, and learning how to read it will give you a much greater insight into the health of your dog. The state of your dog’s fur will tell you a great deal about the food and lifestyle of your pet, and whether you need to make a change to keep them healthy.

You should wash and brush your dog’s coat fairly regularly. Giving your dog a bath can be great fun for most pooches, but some will need coaxing in with treats and patience. You do not need to bathe your dog more than once a month, although that will depend based on the breed, the length of their hair and how dirty they get.

By washing and brushing your dog’s coat, you should begin to develop a good sense of what it should look like when your pet is healthy and happy. You should therefore be able to spot when something is different with your pet’s fur.

One of the first things you will notice is if your dog catches fleas, or another type of parasite such as ticks. You will probably notice excessive scratching before you see them in the coat. Parasites like this can be very uncomfortable for your dog, but regular washing and brushing should keep them away. See your vet for treatment if they persist.

If your dog’s hair looks dull, or becomes fragile, it probably means they are not getting enough protein in their diet. Hair is made of protein, and dog hair is no exception. If your dog isn’t getting the nutrition they need, try changing their diet. You could try a radical change, such as switching to the BARF diet, or you could simply change to a better brand of premium dog food.

Finally, be on the look-out for excessive hair loss. Balding is a symptom of many ailments in dogs, including tumours, stress, impulse control problems or hormonal problems. Extreme hair loss can be a sign of something quite serious, so get it checked by a vet right away.

Written by: Hannah