The colour of your dog’s coat is decided genetically. However, some environmental factors can change the colour a little. Some nutrients may change the coat’s colour. Deficiencies of phenylalanine, tyrosine, methionine, cystine and arginine have been reported as causes of hair colours changing. Protein deficiencies can affect the hair growth and the quality of your dog’s hair.
The American Society for Nutritional Sciences produced a report after a study in 2004 that revealed deficiencies in trace elements can also impede the quality of your dog’s hair. A lack of zinc caused grey hair; a lack of copper causes black or brown hair to fade. Hair colour can also be affected if the dog is deficient in biotin, pantothenic, nicotinic and folic acids, vitamins B2, B6 and A, iodine and iron.
If the dog spends too much time in the sun, the hair may become brittle and a black coat may go brown or red in colour. Once a dog has had his coat clipped, the colour is lighter and some scars may leave a hair mark for the rest of his life.
In older dogs, their hair colour often fades, commonly going gray, starting with his muzzle and head.
Loss of hair in dogs
There are a few common reasons why dogs lose hair. There are also a few remedies you can use. Most problems originate in the skin.
Pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots)
Hot spots cause the dog to be itchy in one or more parts of his body or his limbs. The itchy area(s) can quickly get inflamed and raw and this problem may be caused by stress.
Natural remedies seem to work better than typical medical methods. An immune system booster such as Echinacea can definitely help. If the case is severe, some homeopathic remedies may also help.
Some hot spots can be caused if a nerve causes an itch. This can happen if the spine or a joint is out of alignment. A chiropractor can usually fix this problem easily.
As you can see, there are lots of possible causes for bad hair growth. This means there are also lots of possible remedies and every dog should be treated as an individual, just like humans, as different remedies will help different dogs.
There’s a good overall plan of attack that usually helps and it includes these elements:
Boosting the immune system through the use of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and herbal remedies. Ensuring the dog’s diet is nutritious and there are no deficiencies. Use supplements if necessary to balance it out.
Include raw meat in the diet (start with 1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds of weight and build to a quarter or one third of the dog’s diet.) Meat is believed to be the best hair coat and skin “medicine” you can get.
Use a chiropractor if the need arises simply because it works.
Some natural remedies are excellent. For example – calming herbs and/or flower essences if the dog is stressed or nervous; topical herbs for faster healing and itchiness; homeopathy and acupuncture when needed.
Other things you can do yourself
Massage and use a rubber mitt on your dog’s sebaceous gland to release natural skin and hair conditioners.
Ensure your dog is brushed or combed regularly and is always clean. This will help you better monitor his overall health and build your bond at the same time. Ensure your dog’s coat is fed good quality, nutritious food with fresh meat.
Dog shampoos and pHSome say dogs should only be washed with dog shampoo as human shampoo dries out his skin. Some claim the pH is different. But these are false claims.
Human shampoos have different pH levels, depending on the type. Some are acidic and are around 2.0 pH. Some are alkaline at around 9.0 pH. The majority sit at 5.5 to 6.0 pH. The shampoos for dogs also vary but are mainly more alkaline and go from 4.5 to 9.0 pH.
Human and dog skin also vary in their pH levels. Human’s is around 5.5 and slightly acidic. Human hair is usually slightly more acidic at 4.5 to 5.0 pH. The skin of dogs is generally neutral at 7.0 to 8.0 pH when slightly alkaline.
However, these figures are all just averages and people and dogs can vary a lot. In 2007, a report revealed variations in dogs seemed to change according to their breed. Labradors are 7.37 pH and Manchester Terriers are 8.07 pH. Other factors also affected the pH levels of the dogs and these included excitement level, the gender of the dog, gonadal status, colour of the coat, where the skin is measured and, surprisingly, what time of year it is.
The term “pH balanced” is commonly used by advertisers to sell conditioners and shampoos. Although it sounds good, it can mean different things. The manufacturer can mean the product has been made to approximate the skin and hair’s average pH of intended users, whether dog or human. It also can mean it has a neutral pH, the same as water.
If you look at the outer surface of hair through a microscope, it looks like a terracotta roof that has overlaying rows of flat cells. Pull one strand between two fingers and it will feel smoother in one way than it would another way. Substances that have a lower pH usually harden and tighten these so-called “tiles” of your hair cuticles. This makes the hair shinier and smoother. Diluted lemon juice or vinegar makes your hair even shinier for this reason. If there’s more alkaline, the “tiles” start to swell up and are dull and rough.
Whether a product will dry out hair or skin involves a lot more than merely pH. Shampoos that are made with soap can dry your dog’s skin and leave behind a residual trace which may cause dandruff and itchiness. Soapy products are usually alkaline. If you have shampoo made with detergent, it rinses off better and is higher in acidity. Some of the products also have humectants that attract and store moisture within the shaft and/or conditioning elements that make the hair simple to comb and control static electricity. One or more of these may affect your dog’s skin and hair in an annoying or pleasing manner, depending on the skin and coat type of your dog. Copyright. Pomeranian. Org. All rights Reserved.For more information on grooming your Pomeranian, brushing, brushes to use and how to care for a Pomeranian’s coat download our Pomeranian grooming booklet and Pomeranian grooming video.