Title how to make a dog's coat shiny

How To Make A Dog’s Coat Shiny

Let’s talk about how to make a dog’s coat shiny!

Why is that important?

Well, a lustrous and healthy coat is a telltale sign of a happy and healthy pup.

While there are different ways to achieve that enviable shine, in this blog post, I’m zeroing in on the two key components that have worked best for me personally:

Raw fish and brushing.

How To Make A Dog’s Coat Shiny

How to make a dog's coat shiny

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As a raw feeder, I’ve been aware of the many health benefits of raw fish for many years now.

But its power struck me again just recently when I was least expecting it.

This was on an overlanding round trip through Morocco, Africa with our Jeep:

  • We started in central Morocco, then
  • Continued through the High Atlas Mountains, followed by
  • Making our way through the desert region along the Algerian boarder, and
  • Finally driving back along the Atlantic Coast.

Now, there’s LOTS of street dogs in Morocco, both in rural areas and urban districts. As a matter of fact, you’ll find more stray dogs than pet dogs in this part of the world.

In 2021, the National Geographic estimated that Morocco has about 3 million stray dogs. Btw, they’re known as Beldi dogs. Beldis are dogs “from the countryside” and are an umbrella term for all Moroccan street dogs.

But either way, while all of these dogs had that typical rugged stray look, the main difference between them were the conditions of their coats.

The vast majority of the Beldi dogs in Central Morocco, the mountain areas and the desert had terrible coats. They were dull, dirty and patchy and many looked like they had mange.

But most of the Beldi dogs we saw on the Atlantic Coast had much shinier, fuller coats.

Raw Fish For Dogs Benefits

My interpretation is that they have access to fish. As in, the freshest, raw kind.

When we took a walk on the beach in Agadir, I recorded a local Beldi who was hunting for fishy food in the water!

Moroccan Beldi dog hunting for fish in the Atlantic
Moroccan Beldi dog in the Atlantic

And it makes complete sense – raw fish is a nutritional powerhouse for your dog’s coat. It’s packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin and a glossy coat.

The oilier the fish, the better it is for the dog’s coat and skin. That said, you can feed your pup the following types of oily, raw fish:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Trout

If you’re a raw feeder like myself, you can feed your pup raw meals that feature any type of oily, raw fish. Either premade raw dog food or homemade raw dog food you make yourself.

Tip: Raw Paws Pet Food has premade beef and mackerel dog food, as well as wild-caught salmon for dogs.

Save 15% on anything at Raw Paws Pet Food with code K9Savings. They’re headquartered in Indiana and ship nationwide within the US.

My previous pups Missy & Buzz ate all of the oily fish I mentioned above, and my current pup Wally eats mostly raw herring and mackerel.

He also has the occasional trout, but can’t have any salmon and sardines because he’s allergic to both.

That said, even if you don’t feed a full raw dog food diet, your pup will still benefit from eating oily fish, for example as a weekly food topper on their kibble, canned or homemade dog food.

Tip: A fishy food topper also works great to entice picky eaters to dig in. Try some canned sardines in water from your local grocery store for starters!

Dog Brushing: The Art of Distributing Natural Oils

In addition to feeding raw fish to make a dog’s coat shiny, I also swear by regular brushing.

Personally, I started incorporating a daily 5 minute brushing session with my pup Wally after our morning walks because he loves it so much. 

But 2-3 times of brushing per week should be plenty to keep your dog’s coat looking their best. 

Now, why is brushing such a fundamental part of coat maintenance? 

Because it helps remove loose fur and dirt, and it also stimulates the production and distribution of natural oils in your dog’s skin, which results in a shinier coat.

Choosing the Right Dog Brush

With my pup Wally’s short coat, I use rubber grooming gloves for dogs and a dog grooming rake.

My 2 favorite dog brushes to keep my dog's coat shiny
Wally’s dog brushes: Grooming rake on the left and glove on the right

The gloves works well to remove the loose fur on his body and to massage his skin, and I only use the grooming rake for the thicker fur around his neck area.

Just FYI, bristle brushes work well for dogs with long, fine fur like Yorkshire Terriers for example because they’re great at detangling fur.

How To Make A Dog’s Coat Shiny: Bottom Line

Incorporating raw fish into your dog’s diet and establishing a regular brushing routine can be a total game-changer for your pup’s coat health.

While the stray Beldi dogs on the Moroccan Atlantic coast don’t have access to humans who brush them, they instinctively hunt for fish as part of their natural diet.

Consequently, their coats are shiny and full!

So do your first world pup a favor and supplement their diet with the power of Omega-3s from raw fish as well.

Combined with the natural shine-enhancing effects of brushing, you’ll soon make your dog’s coat shiny and healthy, both from the inside AND from the outside!

Do you have a pup whose coat could use some TLC? Let me know in the comment section below this blog post!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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2 responses to “How To Make A Dog’s Coat Shiny”

  1. Gary Rogers Avatar
    Gary Rogers

    I know sardines are wonderful for the pups. What about the ones that come packed in olive oil instead of water. Thoughts on the olive oil?

    1. Barbara Rivers Avatar

      Hey Gary, the ones that are packed in olive oil are fine to give too (unless your pup doesn’t do well with olive oil obviously). But I’d avoid any other condiments.

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