Best Dog Food for a Shiny Coat

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I know 2 things about dogs: #1) If they look good, they feel good. Have you ever seen a dog prance around after grooming?! #2) Shiny coat = healthy dog. And guess what? Diet is very important for coat health. Here are the best dog foods for a shiny coat.

Best Dog Food for Healthy (and Shiny) Coat

#1 Pick

Victor Purpose Grain-Free

You will achieve victory with Victor…just like these satisfied customers did:

  • “Her entire coat is thick and shiny, and even strangers remark on it.”
  • “…constant scratching has greatly diminished and his coat has never been more shiny!”
  • “He’s not gassy and his coat remains shiny.”

Purpose is formulated with a scientifically advanced, proven Victor Core ingredients to promote healthy immune and digestive systems.

Upgrade Pick

Nulo Grain-Free

Owners who care about their dog’s appearance are going nuts for Nulo! Check out these reviews:

  • “My dogs coat has never looked so shiny and silky.”
  • “Her coat is shiny, eye scuzz cleared up, and lots of energy.”
  • “Her coat is super shiny, little to no dandruff and barely any scratching.”

Promotes healthy coat and lean muscles. Along with nutritious ingredients, Nulo features Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to nourish your dog’s skin and help promote a beautiful, shiny coat.

Budget Pick

Nature's Recipe Healthy Skin

This dog food may be affordable, but it doesn’t skimp on the high-quality ingredients:

Omega 6 fatty acids, linoleic acid, copper, and zinc help support healthy skin and a shiny coat.

 

Do you have a Boxer, or maybe a Collie? No matter what breed you have, I can almost guarantee it has fur.

Fur, except for the rare hairless breeds, is something that pretty much all dogs have in common. They may have long, dense fur with an undercoat. They may have really short, thin wiry fur. They may even have dreadlocks.

But most likely, they all have it.

One of the most common questions that a dog owner has is how to keep their dog’s coat shiny and healthy. How can you improve your dog’s coat?

If you look around online, you have most likely found suggestions that recommend different kinds of shampoos, oatmeal baths, and grooming tips.

But did you realize that one of the best things you can do is to make sure your dog is eating the right food for healthy fur?

So what is the best dog food for a shiny coat?

There is no magic, one-size-fits-all dog food formula that I can give you to guarantee your dog healthy fur.

I can recommend certain brand names and formulations of different dog foods that promise a shiny coat, and I will.

BUT. You need to put in the time and testing to find the best food for your dog.

Let’s take a look at what, exactly, you should look for when deciding what is the best food for a shiny coat for your pooch.

First, Take Your Dog for a Check-Up

Many pet owners think that their dog’s shiny coat is important because it looks good.

And it’s true, we want our dogs to look as beautiful as they are! That’s why we bathe them. That’s why we brush them. That’s why we want to know what the best food for a shiny coat is!

A vet visit might seem unnecessary. Unfortunately, a lot of skin and fur issues are actually symptoms of an underlying health problem.

Did you know that soft or dry brittle hair, itching, and dandruff are actually symptoms of more serious conditions? They can be signs of dermatosis or the start of alopecia. These are hormone disorders that can become serious if left untreated.

There are other hormone disorders, too. Cushing’s Disease and Hypothyroidism are two of the more common ones. Both can present themselves through fur and coat irregularities.

So before we go any further, if you are concerned about your dog’s dull fur and want it to look its best, we recommend that you rule out any underlying health problems.

Only then is it appropriate to look for home remedies for a shiny dog coat or other ways to improve your dog’s dull fur.

Dogs Need Fat (Most of the Time)

Now that we are talking specifically about dog foods for a shiny coat, let’s get straight to the point.

The number one dietary factor that influences your dog’s shiny coat is the amount of fat they consume.

If your dog is healthy, vets recommend that a balanced diet contain at least 10% fat. Some experts even recommend up to 15%.

This all depends on your dog’s breed and their energy needs, of course. Fat is an essential source of high-quality energy. Fat is burned as energy before carbohydrates and protein.

The dangers of too little fat in a dog’s diet include chronic inflammation. Your dog could also suffer from nutritional deficiencies due to poor absorption of vitamins and minerals.

Unless your dog needs a low-fat diet due to a certain health condition, you need to make sure that they consume enough fat.

It’s not always enough to read your dog food label and see that it has a certain percentage of fats.

You need to do the math and find out how many grams of fat are in 1000 calories of your dog’s food. This is the only way to be absolutely sure that your dog is getting 10 – 15% or more fat in their diet.

I’m not a mathematician or dietician, but the folks at Whole Dog Journal lay it out pretty clear on how to do the math.

If you have a particularly active breed, you might find that your dog needs a high-fat diet to keep their coat healthy and shiny.

Dogs like the German Shepherds, the Husky or other working breeds do well with a higher fat diet that falls into the 15% – 20% or more range.

It is important to consider the age, weight, and activity level of your dog to determine whether a high-fat diet would be a benefit for them.

Different Kinds of Fats

Now let’s talk about fat!

Not all fats are created equal. This is true for both dogs and humans.

To improve your dog’s dull coat, make sure to feed them two very specific kinds of fats.

Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids.

These types of fats are not actually produced in your dog’s body. All the same, they are essential for the bodies functioning. That is why these are called essential fatty acids.

These fats are critical in maintaining your dog’s overall health. Organ and tissue function, nerve and muscle development, and hormonal function are all dependent on these types of essential fatty acids.

Fats also allow for the digestion and absorption of different vitamins like A, D, E, and K.

Ideally, your dog’s diet should not exceed a 30:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids. The National Research Council actually recommends rations that range from 2.6:1 to 26:1.

This, of course, depends on the breed and your particular dog’s fat needs.

When you are reading your dog food label, make sure the sources of fat are listed. Look for flaxseed or canola oil, deboned salmon, salmon oil, or even algae extract to make sure you are getting the highest quality Omega-3s.

Omega-6 oils are abundant in sunflower, safflower, or corn oils, pork fat, and poultry fat.

Don’t forget that you have to provide a balance of the two different fats. Avoid dog foods that list only one of those ingredients.

If you want to boost the healthy fats in your dog’s diet to improve their dull coat, you can always add an omega-3 supplement to their feed. Most commercial dog foods have a higher concentration of omega-6, so an extra dose of omega-3 will do them no harm.

Wet or Dry Foods for a Shiny Coat?

Once you feel confident about how much fat you want in your dog’s diet, the next step is considering how to get it into them.

It is generally recommended that you play it safe and stick with commercial dog food that has been formulated and balanced to meet all of your dog’s complex nutritional needs.

So your next question might be, well… what’s best? Wet or dry dog food for a shiny coat?

It depends.

Dry dog food is generally recommended for healthy dogs for a variety of reasons. It has a lot to do with keeping their teeth in good shape.

But when it comes to freshness, wet dog food can’t be beat.

And the thing about essential fatty acids is that they should be fresh.

Oftentimes, with dry dog food, we buy it in bulk. We then have an open sack for a month or two while we feed it to our dog little by little.

Unfortunately, fatty acids go rancid during this time through a process called ‘oxidation’. They become less effective nutritionally when this happens.

Wet food, however, generally offers the freshest fats around. And generally, dogs love the stuff.

Have you been feeding your dog a well-balanced diet and still feel that their coat is looking dull?

Here are a couple tips:

  • Find dog food that has a higher fat content.
  • Try food that has a higher quality fat from different sources.
  • Mix wet dog food with dry dog food.
  • Try switching to wet (or visa versa) dog food for a trial period. 

When switching up your dog’s diet, be sure to maintain the new routine at least six weeks. This is usually enough time to see an improvement.

Another option to consider is adding supplements to your dog’s food.

Raw or Homemade Diet for Healthy Fur

If you want the best dog food for a shiny coat, it might be tempting to try out the raw diet for dogs. You may even decide to try a homemade diet.

These two options might seem like a great place to start. The biggest advantage is that you have absolute control over the quality and freshness of the ingredients.

These diets may also work out to be less expensive than a high quality canned or dry food.

Unfortunately, a raw or homemade diet can do more harm than good. Unless you are really dedicated and working with the advice of a pet nutritionist and veterinarian, a raw or homemade diet can be dangerous.

The thing is, your dog needs a very specific mixture of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

They need all that to maintain optimum health (and have a bright shiny coat).

Despite your best intentions, you may give your best friend an unbalanced diet that does not meet their nutritional needs.

It sounds easy enough to mix in avocado and an egg with some raw meat or a bone and call it good. Unfortunately, you may end up feeding your dog too much fat in the process and not enough of everything else he needs.

If you are up to the challenge – be sure to investigate thoroughly and talk it over with your veterinarian. Follow any recommendations they might make in regards to your particular dog’s needs.

Vitamins and Supplements to Boost Your Dog’s Coat Health

One of the easiest ways to increase your dog’s Omega-3 or Omega-6 intake is to add a supplement to their diet.

This allows you to stick to your fully balanced dog food of choice and increase their fat intake. If your dog is a picky eater, you can stick with what works and add to it.

For the freshest option, buy oil capsules. If your dog will not take them as a capsule, cut it open and add it to their food.

If that’s not your style, consider buying a jar of flaxseed oil and adding a teaspoon (or tablespoon for a large breed) to each meal.

Although commercial feed contains all the vitamins and minerals your dog should need, you can also try adding a biotin, copper or vitamin E supplement to their meals.

These vitamins are particularly helpful for skin and fur maintenance.

Bonus Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Coat

There are, of course, other factors that have to do with improving your dog’s dull fur. The food they eat is just one aspect of their lives that impacts their appearance.

1. Are you bathing them too much?

Believe it or not, you can bathe your dog too much. 

Some dogs should only be bathed 3 or 4 times a year. Others can be bathed monthly. It depends on the breed. Do your research and find out how often you should be shampooing your dog.

By bathing your pooch too frequently, you are actually stripping its fur of the oils that protect the skin and make their coat shine!

2. Brush, brush, brush!

Find a great brush and use it, at least every few days.

Brushing eliminates knots and tangles and old dead fur that can build up and make your dog’s fur look dull.

It also distributes the oils that naturally occur in your dog’s fur, helping its coat to shine.

3. Use a moisturizing shampoo

(when you do bathe them, that is)

Moisturizing shampoos do a lot to prevent the hair from becoming dry and brittle.

It also keeps your dog’s skin healthy, moisturized and itch-free.

Related Questions:

How do I know if my dog is allergic to his food?

Take him to the vet if you’re worried that your dog’s dull coat is because of a food allergy. Most vets do not do allergy testing for food allergies but it is helpful to discuss your concerns with them and review the symptoms your dog has.

You can also try switching dog foods. If you suspect a corn or grain allergy, try a grain-free feed. Make sure to run the trial for at least six weeks. Continue trying different formulations until you find the one that works for your dog. If you continue to see the same symptoms, you may have something more serious happening. Go see your vet!

Can I give my dog raw eggs or fish as a snack instead of an Omega-3 supplement?

Yes. The issue with this type of “supplement” is that you are also adding extra calories to your dog’s meal without knowing exactly how much more omega-3 you are adding to his diet. Basically, it’s inexact. Discuss with your vet first if your dog has any pre-existing health conditions.

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