Soft, shiny fur is a sign of good health in your dog; dry, dull fur is both unattractive and an indication that something might be wrong. Figuring out why your dog's coat isn't looking so good is the first step to changing it from dry and rough to glowing and silky.
Your dog's diet plays a major role in his appearance. Poor nutrition can result in dry skin and a dull coat, while a healthy diet will give him a shiny, soft coat. Besides the basic nutrients that the rest of his body needs to function, your dog needs plenty of essential fatty acids for lustrous fur. Most commercial dog foods contain plenty of these acids, but some cheap foods, as well as those marketed as low-fat, may not have enough to keep his coat shiny. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements, such as vegetable, sunflower, flax seed and fish oil, can help fill in these deficiencies and transform your dog's coat from dull to gleaming.
Regular grooming removes dead, dry fur and spreads natural oils that make the remaining strands soft and shiny. Brush dogs with short fur at least once per week and long-haired breeds at least twice per week. Bathing can help remove the dirt and grime that make a dog's coat look dull, and some shampoos even enhance natural shine. Too much bathing, however, can strip natural oils and dry out your dog's coat.
Fleas and ticks aren't a direct cause of dry or dull fur, but if their bites cause a dog to constantly scratch and chew at his fur it may result in a poor-looking coat. In addition, a severe infestation can result in blood loss and anemia, which causes dull fur. Regular flea and tick control, such as spot treatments, dips, shampoo, powder and pills, can keep the pests at bay and your dog looking healthy.
If your dog is receiving proper nutrition and grooming, and is free from pests but still has a dull coat, he may have an underlying health condition. A long list of health problems can result in dry, poor-looking fur, including thyroid problems, infections and allergies. If you suspect a health problem or can't identify the reason for dry fur, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Treating the underlying health problem will help your dog's fur return to a shiny, lustrous appearance.