I am looking for tips on coat care and health, particularly diet. I am a new dog owner and new Irish owner - less than six months. My two year old Irish Setter rescue apparently lost a lot of coat in March, a few months before I got him.
I am intimidated by all the fabulous, beautiful, glossy dogs on this site and the experience of many of the owners. But what better place for advice, right? I would love to know what you have found is the best method to keep your setter's coat healthy, be that through diet, grooming, or otherwise. I have searched for a discussion on this topic but can't seem to find one. What supplements do you think are important? Any other tips?
Thanks for the response. I feed him Innova EVO food and I have also tried a healthy coat supplement from Drs. Foster and Smith with Omega 3. I do not think it has vitamin E, or at least minimal amounts. The vet suggested I give him acidophilus, so I give him either a tab form or just put some yogurt on his food. He gets a bath about once a month and I brush him a little each day, just to keep the tangles out :) Any suggestions? I have heard of folks giving their dogs olive oil or canola oil with their food to help the coat. I don't know much about his background, but I do not get the sense that he was without food for any length of time. What type of food he had I am not sure. The rescue group had him for about four months and I have had him for almost six. He seems to be pretty adjusted to our routine now, so hopefully he is under less stress.
I always feel that as long as the dog is given a good diet (I am here refering to any dry or wet dog-food bought ready made) there should be no need to suplement at all.
Adding too much will then just course an unbalance.
Its rather like human beings, some do go through life without any vitamins-suplements whatsoever. Relying only on the food they eat. It should be the same with dogs.
A healthy dog should be able to get all the vitamins and minerals from his diet.
I do believe a lot of suplements (especially when it comes to coat) are truly wonderful and of great benefits = for the producers and petshops!
Ginger: Thanks so much for all the info. These are great suggestions. I am in a major metropolitan area so I do have a lot of choices available. I have been having trouble finding a comparison like this - it will be helpful.
Is your boy neutered? If so he MAY never get quite the shine on him that the show dogs get. But he will still be beautiful. I dont bath mine every month, that seems a bit excessive to me, but as long as you use good dog shampoo it should be OK.
I've been owned by Setters (Irish, Englsih and Gordons) for more than 40 years. Nutrition is the key factor, that and keeping the coat clean. I bathe both of my dogs once a week, never more than 10 days apart. I dilute a quality dog shampoo with water so that it's very mild and doesn't remove excess natural oils from the coats. If your rescue dog is already neutered, that affects the type of coat he will have. Neutering and spaying Irish Setters alters their coat, from a dark mahogany color to an orangey cottony type of coat. If he is neutered, you most likely will never be able to achieve the glossy coat that the show dogs have, they aren't neutered. One of the things you can do to help his coat is to find someone to show you how to strip the fuzzies out of the coat, or will clipper the dog's coat down for you. Feed a high quality kibble, you can add some vegetable oil to his food, a tablespoon a day goes a long way. Fish Oil caps are also good but watch his weight gain with those too. I feed a food that does not have corn, wheat or soy in it, just rice and either Chicken and Lamb or another kibble which is Salmon and Sweet Potatoes. I also cook chicken soup with pasta and vegetables for my dogs, I add about half a cup to each feeding. I don't season with salt and pepper but do add parsley and garlic to the soup while the chicken is cooking. Hope this helps. By the way, I also have a Borzoi bitch who has a very shiny coat and she is also bathed every week whether she's being shown or not. A clean coat grows faster and is healthier.
Barb Simpson, Rustwood Irish Setters and Borzoi in N. Texas, USA
Interesting to know that neutering affects the coat. His coat loss was probably not long after he was neutered, so that may explain it. Perhaps stress too - it affects humans so why not dogs? His coat does seem to be coming along, but he is definitely a short-haired (and very handsome I might add), boy. :)
When I've had to shave down a Setter's coat to remove severe mats, etc., it usually takes 6-12 months for it to grow back completely. The feathering keeps growing tho, just like human hair does. Just give it some time, find someone to show you how to strip the undercoat out with a stripping knife or Mars Coat King to keep his back coat looking short and not as fuzzy. Again, a good healthy diet will contribute to his over all health and condition, bathing frequently does help too.
Barb Simpson, Rustwood Irish Setters and Borzoi in N. TX