A Dog's Skin and Coat Care

Identifying the ways to treat and properly care for a dog’s skin and coat will help lead customers to the products best fit for their pets.




While people are constantly fed information about how to take care of their skin and to “love the skin you’re in,” our canine companions need a little TLC in the skin care department, too.

For dogs, skin care is not face masks and moisturizers, it’s products that can address specific skin care ailments pets may suffer from while maintaining healthy skin. While we can’t expect any dogs to drop their skin care routines soon, there is plenty of information available on how pets can feel and look their best.

The saying, “you are what you eat” rings true for our canine companions, as well. A dog’s skin and coat needs vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.

“Nutrients like protein, vitamins and minerals are vital to the skin and coat health of dogs,” says James Brandly, associate trade marketing manager of TropiClean. “Pet parents can look for dog food with key ingredients and can also look at supplements.”

In addition to being beneficial to the skin, it also makes a difference for a dog’s coat.

“A dog’s diet consisting of healthy fats will keep their coat in the best condition,” says Bobby Johnson, creator of the Comfy Dog Brush. “A diet that is low quality or low in fat can make their coat dry looking and can cause dandruff.”

Johnson spent eight years developing the Comfy Dog Brush, a silicone brush that is used for bathing or dry grooming. It allows pet owners to de-shed pets while gently massaging their coat and reducing allergens in the home.

Retailers should encourage customers to take their pet’s diet into consideration when trying to address a specific skin ailment or issue. An allergy might be the underlying cause.

“Dogs can be hypersensitive or even allergic to certain food components, which can result in allergies, skin irritations and a lackluster coat,” says Julie Creed, vice president of marketing and sales for Pure and Natural Pet.

Skin Conditions
Just like humans are more likely to suffer from dry skin during the winter months, pets’ skin can also be affected by seasonal change.

“In warm weather, hot spots and flea infestation/flea allergy dermatitis are also big problems,” says Geoff Hamby, director of marketing for Vetericyn.

Vetericyn offers topical wound and skin care products for pets, including a wound care spray and hydrogel.

“The Vetericyn Plus product line is built on a technology platform that contains super-oxidized hypochlorous (HOCl) solution,” says Hamby. “The HOCl molecule is naturally produced by the body’s immune system as a response to combat ailments.”

The product line won’t sting or burn pets, and is safe if licked or ingested. First things first: owners need to address any outstanding skin issues that affect a pet’s health and wellness first, and should consult a veterinarian if a serious skin condition arises.

“Dogs can suffer from hot spots, rashes, itchy/dry skin and other topical issues that repeatedly occur,” says Hamby. “These cause a pet to scratch at their sides and ears or chew and lick their feet constantly.”

Another factor to consider is the ingredients in the products used on the dogs.

“Harsh chemicals, sulfates, dyes and fragrance can all lead to serious skin issues,” says Creed. “That is why it is so important to review the ingredients on the labels. We are transparent with ingredients and highlight the benefits of the ingredients we use on our website.”

To ensure that pet parents can easily locate ingredients on its product labels, TropiClean makes it clear on its packaging.

“TropiClean’s Grooming Products highlights the specific function on each label, i.e. de-shedding, itch relief, hypoallergenic, etc,” says Brandly. “This differential quickly helps pet parents and retailers find the product that best fits their needs.”

Keep It Consistent
Just as people are encouraged to wash their face and shower on a daily basis, keeping up a daily skin and coat care routine for dogs can help prevent future irritations.

“Another big impact on pet skin and coat health is consistent grooming and proper bathing,” says Johnson. “It is important to stimulate your pet’s coat and to ensure the fur is groomed.”

Brandly also encourages pet parents to maintain a routine when it comes to grooming and taking care of a pet’s skin and coat care.

“Our grooming products are safe for daily use, and the majority are safe for both dogs and cats 12 weeks and older,” says Brandly. “Always follow the directions for best results, and for severe skin conditions, consult your veterinarian before use.”

While pets can’t have baths everyday (Johnson recommends bathing a dog no more than twice a month, preferable once a month), manufacturers have created in-between bath products specifically to address skin and coat care needs without washing.

“Believe it or not, simply brushing your pet for one to two minutes at the end of the day will manage the coat well, especially if they shed,” says Johnson. “It can also remove the sebum from the skin and help to reduce allergens from spreading in the house.”

Creed highlights that skin care is more than just taking care of the skin underneath a dog’s coat, and that, “skincare also includes the health of your dog’s ears, nose and feet.”

To address the needs of the ears, nose and feet, Pure and Natural Pet offers a variety of products, such as its Ear Wash, which controls odor, itching and discomfort and moisturizing balms for cracked, dry noses and paws.

Educating Employees
Pet parents may hesitate when deciding where to start with skin and coat care products and seek out guidance. That’s where sales associates come in.

“At TropiClean, we have found that almost all pet parents who purchase grooming products purchase shampoos to fill a specific need,” says Brandly.

To support retailers, and to help them stay as informed as possible about the products they offer, Vetericyn offers resources such as in-store training, blogging and email, videos and access to its staff veterinarian. It’s no small task to stay up to date and informed about a company’s products, but customers will almost always appreciate the effort.

“We also anticipate the ability for the market to offer safe and non-toxic pet products, like Vetericyn, that are easy to use and apply at home,” says Hamby. “We encourage pet retailers to look into product reviews, especially in the skin and coat care category, before stocking on the shelf.”

Johnson emphasizes that having a good selection of products for customers to choose from, and taking the time to listen to owner concerns, will go a long way. He also highlights that retailers need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in this category.

“There are new innovations coming out every year,” says Johnson, “so it is always great to stay on top of the trends and to not be shy in testing new products…”

Pet owners want to treat their pets right, and to do so, they’ll need to look out for their skin and coat products that can offer a dual purpose.

“The ongoing trend is ‘functional shampoos,’” says Creed. “They need to do more than just clean, they have an added specific task; i.e.: shed control, itch relief and flea and tick.”

She also predicts that the natural flea and tick products in particular will grow as customers seek out, “natural solutions that are safer for pets, family and the environment.”

When looking ahead to the future of skin and coat care for dogs, Brandly says that, “77 percent of dogs have been groomed in the past 12 months, and 42 percent of pet parents are doing the grooming themselves. (APPA 2019-2020).”

“The category will continue to stay relevant within the pet industry as pet parents are looking for specific grooming products that best fit their lifestyle.”

Johnson predicts that the trends to come in 2020 in this category will be determined by retailers, and the latest products they’re interested in.

“I believe there will be new trends to occur in 2020,” he says, “but it is up to retailers to take a chance and to advocate for those new products to customers.”  PB


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