How to Condition a Dog's Coat

Easy
10 - 20 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Noah is a shiny, glossy, black Lab that lives across the street from Calypso, another black Lab, whose coat is dry and dull. Calypso’s owners want to know why their dog looks so “blah”, while the neighbor's dog looks slick and sleek. It may be that Noah’s owners have discovered the secret to conditioning his lustrous black coat. There are several ways Calypso's owners can condition their dog's coat so it “shines like the noonday sun” just like Noah’s. 

From conditioning your dog on the inside with food, water, and supplements, to conditioning your dog from the outside with regular brushing and bathing and special conditioning, there is plenty you can do to make your pup's coat shine! A dry coat, skin or fur, where debris and dead hair is clinging, will not appear at its best, and may even be itchy and irritating. Good conditioning is the secret to a healthy fur coat and moisturized skin. Not only will your dog look and feel better, but a well-balanced skin and coat will be more resistant to parasites, infections, and diseases.

Dog's Perspective

If your dog's skin and coat are in poor condition, they can be itchy and irritated, and your dog will be more attractive to parasites like fleas and mites. A well-conditioned coat produces natural oils, and those oils are well distributed along hair shafts, giving your dog’s coat a healthy glow and allowing debris and dead hair to slip off. Also, your dog's skin condition is important to the type of fur it grows. Healthy skin produces a healthy coat; if your dog's skin is dry or damaged, his coat will be in poor condition.

The Routine Care Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Pin Brush
Deshedder
Step
1
Nourish from inside
Make sure your dog is conditioned from the inside out, by providing lots of water and a high protein diet.
Step
2
Clean but don't overbathe
Do not over-bathe, but make sure your dog does not remain soiled. Bathing once a month is usually sufficient, and use moisturizing shampoo or oatmeal based shampoo that is appropriate for dogs--do not use human shampoo.
Step
3
Brush regularly
Brush your dog frequently to remove dead hair, dead skin cells, dander, and debris.
Step
4
Check health
Make sure your dog does not have any health conditions, such as metabolic disorders, parasites, or skin infections that are causing dry, dull skin and poor hair coat.
Step
5
Massage
Use a grooming glove and massage your dog to stimulate blood flow to hair follicles, and distribute your dog’s natural body oils.
Recommend grooming method?

The Special Steps Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Step
1
Add oils
Give your dog nutritional supplements like coconut oil that can be added to his diet, or fish oils from tuna, sardines, and salmon that contain high omega 3 oils.
Step
2
Moisturizing conditoner
Use a commercial moisturizing conditioner, or make a moisturizing conditioner. To make your own conditioner, mix 2 Tbsp coconut oil, ¼ cup ground oatmeal, 1 Tbsp honey, and ¼ cup warm water. Shake in a jar. Apply the mixture to your dog's coat after shampooing and rinsing. Let sit for a few minutes and then rinse off.
Step
3
Leave-in conditioner
Make a leave-on conditioner by combining, 1 tsp of fresh dry rosemary and 2 cups of boiling water. Let the mixture cool then strain out rosemary leaves. Apply to your shampooed and rinsed dog, rub into the coat, and leave on while your dog air dries.
Step
4
Make a conditioning mask
Make a conditioning mask from eggs. Whisk egg yolks and add an equal amount of water, then combine with the egg whites and rub into your dog's coat. Make sure the egg mixture makes contact with skin. Massage into the skin, then rinse thoroughly.
Step
5
Between bath spray
Use a commercially available conditioner spray, or make one by diluting 1 tsp vinegar and one quart water, and use as a conditioning spray between baths.
Step
6
After bath spray
Add 1 tsp pure almond oil to 4 cups of water, and shake well in a spray bottle. After bathing, spray your dog with the almond oil mixture and brush through his coat. Protect the eyes when spraying your dog with leave-in conditioner.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Throw out leftover homemade conditioners, as they do not contain preservatives and bacteria can contaminate them, especially food-based conditioner recipes.
  • Be aware that certain health and parasite conditions and infections can result in a dull coat. Make sure your dog is healthy and does not need treatment if he is experiencing a particularly dull, lusterless coat.
  • Protect eyes from moisturizing shampoos, conditioners, and sprays when using.
  • Don't use human shampoo, which is designed for a different skin pH.
  • Good nutrition is one of the best ways to condition your dog's coat.  Consult with a veterinarian or holistic animal health practitioner to determine the best diet for your dog and his shiny coat.

Conclusion

A shiny coat is usually an indication of a healthy happy dog. Shiny coats contain just the right amount of natural body oils and are resistant to parasites, infections, and disease. A well-conditioned coat is free of debris, dead skin, and hair, and keeps skin protected from the sun, moisture, and all kinds of environmental factors. Good nutrition, regular bathing and brushing, and regular health care are all elements that will result in a well-conditioned coat. Special conditioners can also be purchased commercially, designed specifically for your dog’s coat, or made from household products like coconut oil, rosemary, apple cider vinegar and eggs. 

Whether you purchase conditioner from a store or visit your refrigerator, your dog will love his sleek, shiny, itch-free coat and impress everyone he meets!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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