Understanding effective coat care for your pet

A healthy coat is a reflection of animal’s health. A healthy dog possesses a bright, shiny, parasite-free coat. Your pooch can be blessed with a beautiful coat too, let’s see how. Coat comprises skin covered with hair and in case of dogs, it is nearly throughout the body. Healthy coat not only provides aesthetic beauty, great looks but also adds to owner’s pride and delight. Dog’s coat protects him from the cold in winters, heat and sun in the summers and acts as a natural defense against infections.

Environmental pollution and seasonal stress

Pollution tends to affect both you and your pet in a same possible fashion. Pollution releases certain substances which causes damage to body cells leading to dry and flaky skin. Accumulation of dirt/grime further adds to dull and greasy coat. Allergens present in the atmosphere lean to irritate coat which cause severe itching and uneasiness to your pet.

Seasonal Stress such as intense sun rays, high temperature and humidity increases moisture loss from coat, dry up the hair follicles and causes acute burning sensation. It not only results in high heat stress but also causes severe damage to your pet’s coat making it dull, dry and ruffled.

Dog’s skin differs from human

Dog skin is relatively very different from ours, in comparison it’s quite thin, hair grows in a bundle from hair follicles as compared to solitary hair in case of humans. While our skin has a pH of around 5.5 – 5.6, dog’s skin is much more neutral, averaging a pH of 6.2 and 7.4. Shampoos formulated for humans are much more acidic than those for dogs, and using human shampoo can upset the balance of a dog’s skin.

The relative alkalinity of dog’s skin makes it more vulnerable to skin infections as compared to other species. It is interesting to know that slightly acidic conditions (pH 4.0 to 6.0) favour the skin infections. Therefore, a shampoo that is formulated for human skin or a dog shampoo with improper pH, when used on a dog, will create an environment where microbial infection can run rampant.

Adverse effects of synthetic/chemical-based shampoos

There are varieties of synthetic conditioners, shampoos and soaps available in the market for pets. It has been observed that low-quality shampoos or soaps claiming to be pet specific formulations are not favourable for tender coat, they induce breaks in hair along with shrinkage in the living space for new hair growth. They also have the tendency of causing irritation, severe itching, reddening of the skin and hair loss due to their synthetic non-biodegradable nature. Aggressive surfactants like detergents/cosmetics used by humans often alter the protective oily layer and disturb the natural balance inducing irritation and itching. These synthetic agents can be extremely harmful in case they come in direct contact with eyes, nose, etc.

Selecting right shampoo

When looking for dog shampoos and conditioners, look for a product that is easy to use, lathers well, rinses well, is tearless and leaves your dog with a shiny coat. Good dog shampoos have ingredients that hold moisture to the skin and are often natural. Ensure that your pet is given a bath regularly with good reputed brands only as recommended by your vet.

Coat care more natural way

Natural coat conditioners/shampoos apart from being safe are highly effective options to use. They offer due nourishment to the hair right from the tip to the root, pampering every single strand in a most effective way. These herbal pH balanced formulations make it mild enough for your pet’s regular usage by maintaining natural moisture content, oil balance, shine and gleam of coat. They not only shield against microbial infections but also remove dirt and grime providing long lasting health and aroma to the coat. These natural coat conditioners cause effective soothing and cooling effect, making your pet’s life much more comfortable and enjoyable during peak summer season.

If you find anything wrong with your dog’s skin upon using a new shampoo, you should stop using it as immediately as possible. Lastly, be sure to look at the ingredients label of your dog shampoo and check for anything that might irritate your dog. Take note that heavy scents that human love may irritate your dog’s skin. Just understand that what’s good for us might not be good for them.

(Dr Maruti N Modgil/Dr Nitin Bhatia, Technical Services, Intas Animal Health)

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