When Should You See The Vet About Your Dog's Coat?

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Most issues with a dog's coat warrant a trip to the groomer. If their coat is growing too long or tangling too easily, then, of course, you take them to the groomer. There are, however, some coat problems in dogs that are better dealt with in the vet's office. Here are some key reasons why you may want to call the vet about your dog's coat.

Your dog's coat has been dull and brittle for a while

Some dogs go through a period of coat dullness just before they're about to shed. So if your dog's coat looks dull for a couple of days or even a few weeks, there's no need to be alarmed. You do want to call the vet if the dull coat has been an ongoing issue for months. In this case, the coat dullness could indicate a nutrient deficiency. The vet can run a blood test to make sure your dog has appropriate levels of nutrients, and if needed, they can recommend some dietary changes or supplements to make your dog's coat — and often also their other body systems — healthier.

Your dog is losing its coat, and its skin looks irritated

If your dog seems to be shedding, but only in certain areas, take a look at the skin in the areas where they are losing hair. Often, this skin will look itchy, red, and inflamed. The dog may have ringworm, fleas, mites, or any number of other external parasites. Dogs who have untreated fungal or parasitic infections sometimes itch themselves until they then also develop bacterial infections. So you'll want to get the dog to the vet for treatment before this occurs. Fungal infections, like ringworm, are easily treatable with antifungal sprays and shampoos. Parasitic infections are treated with insecticide sprays and drops.

Your dog's coat is growing thinner overall

Maybe your dog's skin looks okay, but their coat seems to be getting thinner and thinner. Sometimes, this is due to stress. Other times, it may be due to a nutrient deficiency or an allergic reaction. It is a good idea to have the vet take a look. All of these problems are treatable. Stress can be managed with lifestyle changes and sometimes antidepressants. Nutrient deficiencies can be corrected with supplements, and antihistamines can really help with allergies.

Some dog coat problems need attention from the groomer, and others from the vet. It's important to know the difference.