eNewsChannels COLUMN: Looking to show off your loveable cat or dog when holiday guests come over? Here are some tips to ensure your pet’s coat is shimmering brightly for all your company to admire!

Ensuring your pet has a shiny, lustrous coat can be a challenge. It is often not something that just comes “naturally.” Even some of the most pampered pets may have dull, lifeless coats with red spots on the skin and patches of fur missing. Pet owners will seek out advice for hair and coat conditioners and other topical products, but a beautiful coat comes from the inside. Fur coats are a reflection on the outside of what your pet is experiencing on the inside.

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While it is quite common for a pet’s coat to lose some luster with age, this and other coat quality challenges can be quickly remedied using these health-promoting tips:

1) Give your cat or dog omega 3 fatty acids. “Omega 3s” as they are commonly referred to, are not only good for you, but are great for your pet. In addition to enhancing the coat and skin, they are helpful for allergies, joint support, brain function and so much more. You can use a combination of fish oil, flaxseed oil and olive oil. Some pet owners also give their pets a small amount of coconut oil as an extra treat. Be sure to buy the highest quality, purified oils where contaminants such as PCBs and heavy metals have been removed. Please note: pet owners of cats or dogs having pancreatitis should consult a veterinarian before using any type of oil.

2) If you have an older dog with a dull coat, please take your dog to the veterinarian for a blood panel to have the thyroid function checked. Many older dogs can have a reduced level of thyroid function which can greatly affect coat quality and also contribute to weight gain. Natural supplements containing ingredients such as kelp can help support thyroid health. Sometimes a pet may have “borderline low” thyroid results so ask your veterinarian if a natural thyroid supplement can be used first before using thyroid replacement medication.

3) Use a hypoallergenic diet if your cat or dog is scratching, itching and tearing his fur out. Many pets lose fur near the hind legs, abdomen and tail due to food allergies. Pets with food allergies can react daily to common commercial food ingredients such as grains (oats, wheat, corn, etc), peanut butter or poultry. Seek out the advice of a pet nutritionist or veterinarian to help determine the best diet for your pet. There are many grain-free, hypoallergenic commercial pet food options available.

4) Be sure your cat or dog does not have fleas or other parasites. It is always a good idea to have your veterinarian check for parasites (both internally and externally) at least once a year. Many times pets can have hidden parasites that you may not be aware of. This can greatly affect coat quality.

5) Keep a close eye on your pet’s digestive health. Many cats and dogs have digestive problems that can contribute to poor coat quality. Pets that have loose stool, vomiting, gas and tummy rumbling may not be digesting their food properly. As a result, critical nutrients needed to ensure good health and a lustrous coat, are not being absorbed. For example, when pets eat commercial foods containing grains, much of what they are eating, might come out as partially digested-food resulting in large, voluminous stools. Consider incorporating a highly-digestible, commercial raw frozen diet into at least a portion of your pet’s daily food intake. Also, a high-quality, third-party tested probiotic and digestive enzyme will help improve your pet’s absorption of vital nutrients.

Article is Copr. © 2010 by Susan Blake Davis – all rights reserved.

Susan Davis is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist who provides holistic pet health consultations to cat and dog owners throughout the United States. Susan teaches owners how to prepare raw and homemade diets custom-tailored to their pet’s health conditions. She works both with individual pet owners and veterinarians who refer their patients. Susan’s website, is a complete library of common pet health illnesses with a guide on how to treat them naturally using diet, supplements and lifestyle changes.