Some helpful recommendations concerning skin ang coat

Groomers, by the very nature of the profession, have the best opportunity to evaluate the character of pets' skin and coat. Using your senses of touch, vision, and smell, you will be able to detect deviations from a "healthy skin and coat," and these changes should be noted in the pet's chart and personally conveyed to the pets' owners.

Normal touch: There will be a soft texture to the hairs and even in wiry coats such as in Airedales the character of the coat should be pliable and smooth.
Abnormal touch: The coat will be made up of dry, coarse, brittle hairs, some broken off, some very fine. The coat may be sparse and thinning or short and underdeveloped.

Normal appearing skin/coat: The skin will have a clean look to it and be free of scales, scabs and crusts. The coat should appear full, almost lustrous and have a soft look to it.
Abnormal appearing skin/coat: The skin will appear thin, dry and scaly or greasy. The coat will appear dull, lusterless or even dusty. It will have no "shine" to it and will have a harsh appearance.

Normal skin/coat: A healthy skin and coat won't have any smell to it. And even when dirty, will smell like whatever is making it dirty.
Abnormal skin/coat: An unhealthy skin and coat will have a rancid, oily odor; the odor is caused by superficial skin bacteria and their waste products breaking down the oils on the skin.

All skin surfaces have colonies of bacteria present. But an unhealthy skin surface harbors too many of the wrong kinds of bacteria. That is why many veterinarians recommend weekly shampoos with benzoyl peroxide for some dogs with chronic bacterial dermatitis. These types of shampoos keep bacterial numbers to a minimum.

The single most important determining factor in the healthy skin/coat equation is proper NUTRITION. No matter what else may be adversely affecting the skin/coat, such as allergies, infections, harsh environment, or parasites, the problem will be worse in a dog that is only barely meeting its nutrient requirements. And skin/coat problems are always less severe and occur less often in well nourished pets.   Dogs are meat eaters.  They will act, feel and look their best if fed aA much improved diet will clear up these dry, flaky skin conditions. diet whose first ingredient listed on the pet food label is MEAT, POULTRY.  Diets that are based on grains such as corn will not properly nourish dogs.

Always recommend to the customer that they seek a veterinarian's advice if you suspect a pet may have a nutritional deficiency. Be sure the customer understands that you are making an observation and merely suggesting that the owners may be helping their pet by having a veterinarian check something out.

The entire field of pet health nutrition is now only beginning to recognize the value and function of meat-based (poultry, beef, lamb) diets. Many well known brands of dog foods that have been around for years and whose foundation (the first listed ingredient on the label) is a grain such as corn, wheat, barley, or rice simply do not provide the health enhancing nutrients that meat-based diets provide.  As a professional groomer your suggestions to the pet owner carries remarkable credibility. It is your obligation on behalf of the pet and as a pet health care professional to become familiar with high quality diets. Most veterinarians have had only superficial training in pet nutrition and often that training has been provided by representatives of various dog food companies.

Always note on your client chart what the pet is being fed. If you detect a less than optimum skin/coat condition, be sure to discuss with the owner your concerns about the pets nutritional status.  Remember: if a pet doesn't look good, it probably doesn't feel good.


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