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Published: Nov 22, 2011

Similar to cats, dogs that are in overall good pet health tend to have coats and skin that shine and are free from mange or other skin infections. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, a dog's coat should be shiny and smooth, rather than brittle or coarse. Its skin should be supple and clear instead of greasy, bumpy or flaky with dander.

Dogs' skin and coats often vary depending on their breed, how often they are groomed and the type of dog food they eat. Owners need to understand what type of hair their dog has and what their coat should look like when healthy. Some dogs have hair that grows and doesn't shed - these dogs require numerous haircuts and grooming in order to maintain shine and thickness. Other breeds such as huskies and retrievers, have long thick coats with under coats for insulation during the winter. These breeds tend to go through heavy shedding or coat changes twice a year - in the late spring and late fall - to prepare for either the heat in summer or cold in winter. Owners may need to groom them more with brushes that go through both coats in order to reduce how much hair ends up in their homes as well as remove excess hair that could tangle. Selecting the proper grooming brush is important to maintain skin and coat health.

Feeding dogs a balanced diet also contributes to skin and coat health. Dogs need food that has highly digestible proteins, carbohydrates, fats and a proper amount of minerals and vitamins to thrive. Diets supplemented with omega 3 fatty acids can also help support excellent skin and coat health. Ask your veterinarian if this supplement might be right for your dog.