Details on how and why to keep your older dog's coat and skin healthy.

Keeping your senior dog's coat soft and shiny isn't just about keeping them looking great. Your dog's coat and skin are their first line of defence against wetness, cold and fleas. And, while younger dogs love running around and exploring the world around them, your older dog simply may not have the energy for such pursuits. The attention, care and closeness those regular grooming sessions provide, can energis, stimulate and reassure your old friend.

Grooming for health and well-being.

Your senior dog's circulation and muscle tone just aren't what they used to be. And their older coat and skin can't revive themselves like they used to. You can make up for the decrease in these functions with a regular grooming routine. What's more, you can use these sessions as a means to check your dog from tip to tail for bumps or changes in skin condition.

The tools of the trade.

What's the first step to keeping your dog's coat looking it's furry best? Set aside 15 minutes a day (or week, depending on their coat) for a grooming session with the proper tools. You'll need a brush and flea comb that suits the length and type of your dog's coat. If you're not sure about the kind of tools you need, check with a groomer or your vet, or read the labels on the brushes at your local pet supply store.

Get your dog used to the tools slowly and use gentle pressure. Chances are grooming will feel just like petting, and they'll be content to sit quietly during the session. Pair grooming with treats if necessary to provide positive reinforcement.

To Bathe or not to Bathe?

Frequency of bathing depends on your dog's activity level and lifestyle. Most dogs don't need a bath more than once a month. Some dogs tend to be a little greasier or love rolling in mud and other dirty stuff - so they'll need to be bathed more frequently. If you're not sure about how often you should bathe your dog, ask an experienced groomer.

When you bathe your older dog:

  • Do use warm water in a warm room. Cold will dry out your dog's skin and might give them a chill.
  • Do use mild shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs. Never use shampoos that aren't designed for use on dogs - they could cause an allergic reaction.
  • Do use thick, absorbent towels instead of a blow dryer. If you must use a blow dryer, put it on the lowest setting and be aware of how hot your dog is getting.

A glowing coat = a healthy dog.

It's important to remember that your dog's coat acts like a window to their inner health. If your dog's coat has been looking dull, even after proper grooming, you should take them to the vet for a check-up. A lacklustre coat can be caused by many things such as a nutritional imbalance or deficiency, certain illnesses, metabolic diseases, by internal parasites or by worm infestations.

A quality complete and balanced diet, chosen for your dog's life stage requirements will provide all of the essential nutrition they need to help support a healthy skin and coat.