How to Make Dog Hair Soft [The Ultimate Guide]

The best way to make dog hair soft is to give your dog regular baths, but adding oatmeal every other bath. Soft fur starts with healthy skin, and oatmeal baths keep the skin soft. It’s also important to add healthy fat into your dog’s food, such as fish or coconut oil.

We love our dogs unconditionally, and we know you do too. But it is much nicer to snuggle them when they’re soft! We have some great tips for improving your dog’s coat. Soft, healthy coats are good indicators your dog is in good health.

Some of these tips might sound basic at first, such as making sure you brush your dog’s hair regularly. But when you come across a basic tip, you need to be honest and ask yourself if you’ve actually been doing it.

Once we go over the basic tips, we will talk about things you can add to your dog’s diet to keep the coat healthy, shiny, and SOFT!

Non-Medical Reasons Your Dogs Coat Might be Rough and Dull

There are a few medical conditions that can cause your dog’s hair to become dry and dull, but before we get into those, let’s cover the non-medical reasons.

They Just Need a Bath

Most dogs enjoy being outside and rolling around in dirt or playing in water. As their coat collects dirt and other debris, it is sure to get funky! Use your dog’s favorite shampoo or conditioner and give your dog a good scrub.

Remember to not bathe your dog too frequently because that can dry their coats and make them worse. Dogs’ skin is covered in natural oils, and bathing too often will strip those oils away, causing dryness and itchiness. We recommend something for sensitive skin. Oatmeal and honey are popular primary ingredients in soaps for dogs who tend to get irritated skin.

Brush it Out

Your dog’s coat could also be dull because he or she is trying to shed. Try brushing your dog once or twice a week to get the old, dead hair off them. After a week or two, you should notice your dog’s new, healthy coat coming in.

To take it a step further, if your dog is especially itchy or rough, brush with coconut oil. Coconut oil has long been a quick fix remedy for dry skin and hair and has antibacterial properties.

Rub some coconut oil all over your hand and in between your fingers. Gently massage your dog all over while spending extra time in any problem areas. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so, but don’t let them rub it off. Now, brush your dog’s coat as you normally would. Do this as often as you feel necessary, but it should only need to be about once a month.

Poor Diet

Feeding a high-quality dog food ensures an all-around healthy dog. As with people, their skin is their biggest organ with the highest cell reproduction rate. If these cells are not healthy, they cannot reproduce or work at their optimum level, resulting in a dull coat and possibly other health issues. A dog’s food should be rich in the appropriate fats, proteins, minerals, and carbohydrates, so all nutrient needs are met.

Many dogs have food allergies too. Some of the most common food allergies are wheat, chicken, soy, and pork. Dogs can also be allergic to more than one ingredient. Food allergies often cause relentless skin itching and licking resulting in hotspots. Other symptoms of food-related allergies include stomach problems, gas, and diarrhea. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, call your vet. They can give you recommended food brands and a list of ingredients to stay away from. They can also test for any underlying health issues that may be causing an undesirable coat.

Not Enough Protein

We briefly mentioned protein above, but this topic deserves a section of its own. Most dog owners don’t realize that a dog’s coat is made up of 90% protein. This means that when a dog isn’t getting enough protein, their coat will automatically suffer.

The only downside is some of the protein in certain dry dog food brands are extremely low quality. If “animal byproducts” are the primary source of protein, avoid it. Also, keep in mind that dogs can be allergic to certain types of protein. So if your dog isn’t handling chicken, switch to fish or turkey.

If you’re looking for a good economical way to increase protein intake, try giving your dog an egg with each meal. Our dog loves hard-boiled eggs!

Not Enough Exercise

Not only is exercise important for your dog’s overall health, but it’s great for their coat. You’ll notice that dogs who sit around all day and don’t have much time to get out tend to have flat, dry coats.

On top of this, when your dog gets enough exercise, they’re less likely to bite and scratch themselves. Take your dog on a 15-20 minute walk per day. The results will be pleasantly surprising.

Treat or Rule-Out Health-Related Issues That Cause Dull, Brittle Coats

If none of the above helped soften the fur, you might want to take your dog to the vet to see if there are many medical issues. Here’s a list of possible medical problems that could be to blame.

Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid is one of the most essential glands in our bodies. It regulates our most basic functions, like metabolic rate and development. It determines how cells use energy. The thyroid’s role is the same in animals. Symptoms of thyroid disorders in dogs are lethargy, unexplained weight gain, and changes in their coats or skin.

Diabetes

Dogs are mostly prone to sugar diabetes or diabetes mellitus. This is a metabolism disorder. Diabetes can cause dogs’ skin to thin and their coat to become dull and fall out. There are 2 main types that affect dogs:

Insulin-resistant: The pancreas creates too much insulin, and the body can’t process it correctly. So the cells can’t pull glucose out of the blood.

Insulin-deficient: The most common type. There is not enough insulin being produced and damages the pancreas, just like people. Dogs with this type of diabetes need insulin shots.
Diabetes requires veterinary diagnosis and treatment.

Bacterial and Parasitic Infections

Roundworms

Roundworms are parasites that infect dogs’ small intestines. They’re passed through dog feces. Dogs get them by contacting anything that has been contaminated. Some symptoms of roundworms are a bloated belly, dull coat, and diarrhea.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a common bacterial skin infection that causes inflammation of the hair follicles. Your dog may exhibit hair loss, skin swelling, and pain around the infected areas. To diagnose this, your vet will likely perform a fungal culture or skin cytology. Folliculitis is usually treated with a medicated bath.

Feed a Soft and Healthy Coat

Sometimes perfectly healthy dogs just aren’t soft, just like perfectly healthy humans have acne or dry skin. It’s completely normal and easy to fix!

Supplements

There are a ton of pet supplements on the market. Pick one best suited for your dog (size, age, breed, etc.) and add it to their food. There are organic, USA-made, budget-friendly, allergy geared, veterinary-formulated, and many more types.

Many of these supplements are high in omegas or contain chia seeds. You can find supplements in the form of chewy treats, pills, powders, and oils. Most supplements are dual-powered, geared towards improving coat and joint health. Always check the ingredients list to be sure it does not contain anything your dog is allergic to or cannot have in conjunction with medications.

Here are two supplements we recommend to make dog hair soft.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is the number one supplement we always recommend when trying to make dog hair soft. Many dog foods come with fish oil, so dog owners assume their dog is already getting enough, and they don’t need to supplement it.

Your dog should be taking 20mg per pound of body weight. Most dog food doesn’t come close to this amount.

Biotin

Biotin (also known as Vitahm H), has been the center of researchers for the past few years. Studies have shown that this supplement can cure problems such as dry coat, dandruff, and hair loss.

Healthy Treats

Here are a few healthy treats you can feed your dog to ensure proper nutrient intake.

Coconut oil

A common go-to for soft, shiny hair. Plus, it’s delicious! Add a teaspoon to their food once a day and you should see results within a couple weeks.

Wild salmon

Very high in Omega-3’s, which are magic for healthy coats. Giving your dog a small piece of cooked salmon with dinner a couple times a week will help his coat and make him happy

Sweet Potatoes

Great source of vitamins A and E while containing many other important minerals like calcium and iron.

Eggs

Protein-packed superfood rich in Omegas, biotin (a very common ingredient in hair and coat supplements), zinc, and vitamin A.

As always, make sure these treats are ok for your dog, and that he or she does not have any allergies to them.

There’s nothing quite like snuggling with a dog who has soft hair. If your dog has a dry and dull coat, be sure to follow the steps mentioned above. More often than not, a simple oatmeal bath will do the trick.

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