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Pet Care

Fast facts about healthy skin and coat care for dogs

To get a better understanding of how you can improve your pet’s skin and coat, consider these facts and misperceptions.



The condition and appearance of your dog’s skin and coat can serve as outward indicators of his or her overall health. While grooming is one of the most important steps to maintaining a healthy coat, other factors can play a role in the look and feel of your four-legged friend’s fur.

For example, dull, dry or flaky coats can be external indicators of internal issues. Stress, illness and inadequate nutrition can all lead to lackluster fur. Breed can also play a role in the shininess of your pet’s coat.

To get a better understanding of how you can improve your pet’s skin and coat, consider these facts and misperceptions from the experts at Petcurean, makers of the Go! Solutions line of premium pet food.

Fiction: Frequent washing dries out dogs’ skin and coats.

Regularly bathing your dog removes dirt, dander, debris and odors, and can help clear irritation-causing allergens. However, bathing too frequently removes natural oils, which keep skin supple and the coat soft and pliable. For best results, use a high-quality pet shampoo that’s gentle on the skin and coat then follow up with a nourishing conditioner for smooth, shiny fur.

Fact: Dogs should be groomed regularly.

Regular brushing with proper tools – sometimes as often as daily – is important. Not only can it help prevent matting in long-haired or double-coated dogs, it also stimulates blood flow to the skin, which helps keep it healthy, and ensures you notice any changes in your pet’s skin and coat. Grooming should also include cleaning ears, brushing teeth and trimming nails.

Fiction: Poor hydration does not affect skin or coat.

Fresh, clean water is essential for all bodily functions, including the maintenance of healthy skin. To help keep dogs hydrated, be sure fresh water is available to them, particularly at mealtimes.

Fact: Flea and tick control is essential for healthy skin and shiny coats.

If not controlled, fleas and ticks can wreak havoc on skin, which in turn affects coat quality. The irritation they cause typically promotes excessive scratching and licking.

Fiction: Dogs don’t need to use pet shampoo.

Human skin and hair are different from the skin and fur of dogs and should be treated as such. Shampoo designed for humans can strip oils and lead to dryness when used on dogs, which can result in infections and skin irritations. Be sure to use a shampoo specifically formulated for pets to maintain skin and coat health.

Fact: A high-quality, balanced pet food recipe is key to healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Because every dog is different and has varied energy requirements, the right blend of ingredients – rather than any one specific ingredient – tailored for individual dogs can help achieve healthy skin and shiny coats. For example, recipes like Go! Solutions Skin + Coat Care Large Breed Puppy and Adult Salmon Recipes with Grains are tailor-made for large breed puppies and adults with single-source animal protein from salmon to help build strong muscles; Omega fatty acids to support healthy, hydrated skin and a shiny coat; and the proper balance of nutrients to meet the unique needs of large breed dogs throughout their life stages.

To learn more about recipes that promote healthy skin and shiny coats, visit

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Pet Care

Protect your pets from the changing weather with Igloo’s Pet Insure

For pet parents who want to be on top of their pet’s comfort and health in these conditions, here are some tips to keep in mind.



We’ve all been victims of the changing weather–where shifting from hot to cold leave us scrambling for comfort and protection and often challenges our immune system to keep up. It’s the allergies, flu, and colds that catch us off guard.

But did you know that the same weather-related temperature changes pose challenges for our pets, too? Just like us, they can suffer from seasonal allergies, respiratory issues, and discomfort due to sudden shifts in temperature. It’s important to be mindful of their needs and take steps to ensure their well-being during these unpredictable weather patterns.

So for pet parents who want to be on top of their pet’s comfort and health in these conditions, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Ensure that they have climate-appropriate shelter

Just like us, your pet needs to have a comfortable place to rest that suits the weather–warm and cozy during cold spells, and cool and shaded during hot days. Additionally, it’s essential to ensure that your pets are well-suited to thrive in tropical climates like the Philippines as some breeds like dogs such as pugs and chow-chows are more prone to respiratory issues and heat strokes. 

Keep them well-fed and hydrated

Giving your pets a nutritious diet that supports their immune system can help them stay healthy and resilient against weather-related illnesses. And of course, never forget hydration. Keeping your pets well-hydrated during hot weather to prevent dehydration and heat stroke.

Exercise wisely

A pet’s health is also closely tied to how much exercise they can do regularly. However, it’s important to adjust exercise routines based on the weather–avoid intense activities during extreme heat or cold. A good rule of thumb is if it’s too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for their paws.

Stay on top of their grooming

Maintain regular grooming to keep their coat in good condition, which can help regulate their body temperature. Never shave your pet’s coat too short, especially in hot weather, as it can expose their skin to sunburn and other risks.

Be vigilant for signs of health problems

Be vigilant for signs of allergies, such as excessive scratching or sneezing, and consult your vet if these symptoms appear. Specifically for the Philippines where most of the time it’s either hot or hotter, even when it’s the rainy season, it’s important to know the symptoms of overheating in pets which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, or increased heart and respiratory rate.

Consider investing in pet insurance

With the weather and temperatures constantly changing, it’s essential to have financial protection in place for unexpected veterinary expenses. 

Regional insurtech Igloo, understanding how important it is to keep your pets healthy and your finances secure, developed Pet Insure in partnership with Malayan Insurance and GCash. Pet Insure is a tailored non-life insurance product designed to safeguard the health of dogs, regardless of their breed. This product empowers dog parents to address their fur babies’ needs comprehensively, from emergencies to accidents.

It provides a three-in-one coverage package, including medical reimbursement for veterinary care up to a maximum of P100,000, owner’s liability coverage of up to P250,000, and a personal accident cover for dog owners worth P50,000. All of this is available for as low as P650 for a one-month coverage period through the GCash GInsure marketplace.

As responsible pet parents, it’s essential to keep on top of any changes in your pets’ health and behavior, especially with weather changes. Being a little bit more vigilant and being prepared for any emergency can make a significant difference in keeping your furry friends healthy and happy all year round.

Learn more about Pet Insure by clicking this link.

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Pet Care

When should you neuter or spay your dog?

Male and female pointer breeds had elevated joint disorders and increased cancers; male mastiff breeds had increased cranial cruciate ligament tears and lymphoma; female Newfoundland breeds had heightened risks for joint disorders; female Ridgeback breeds had heightened risks for mast cell tumors with very early neutering; and Siberian huskies showed no significant effects on joint disorders or cancers.



Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have updated their guidelines on when to neuter 40 popular dog varieties by breed and sex. Their recent paper in Frontiers in Veterinary Science adds five breeds to a line of research that began in 2013 with a study that suggested that early neutering of golden retrievers puts them at increased risk of joint diseases and certain cancers.

That initial study set off a flurry of debate about the best age to neuter other popular breeds. Professors Lynette and Benjamin Hart of the School of Veterinary Medicine, the study’s lead authors, set out to add more breed studies by examining more than a decade of data from thousands of dogs treated at the UC Davis veterinary hospital. Their goal was to provide owners with more information to make the best decision for their animals.

They specifically looked at the correlation between neutering or spaying a dog before 1 year of age and a dog’s risk of developing certain cancers. These include cancers of the lymph nodes, bones, blood vessels or mast cell tumors for some breeds; and joint disorders such as hip or elbow dysplasia, or cranial cruciate ligament tears. Joint disorders and cancers are of particular interest because neutering removes male and female sex hormones that play key roles in important body processes such as closure of bone growth plates.

For the most recent study, they focused on German short/wirehaired pointer, mastiff, Newfoundland, Rhodesian ridgeback and Siberian husky. Data was collected from the UC Davis veterinary hospital’s records that included more than 200 cases for each of these five breeds weighing more than 20 kg (or 44 pounds), spanning January 2000 through December 2020. 

The Harts said their updated guidelines emphasize the importance of personalized decisions regarding the neutering of dogs, considering the dog’s breed, sex and context. A table representing guidelines reflecting the research findings for all 40 breeds that have been studied, including the five new breeds, can be found here.

Health risks different among breeds

“It’s always complicated to consider an alternate paradigm,” said Professor Lynette Hart. “This is a shift from a long-standing model of early spay/neuter practices in the U.S. and much of Europe to neuter by 6 months of age, but important to consider as we see the connections between gonadal hormone withdrawal from early spay/neuter and potential health concerns.”

The study found major differences among these breeds for developing joint disorders and cancers when neutered early. Male and female pointer breeds had elevated joint disorders and increased cancers; male mastiff breeds had increased cranial cruciate ligament tears and lymphoma; female Newfoundland breeds had heightened risks for joint disorders; female Ridgeback breeds had heightened risks for mast cell tumors with very early neutering; and Siberian huskies showed no significant effects on joint disorders or cancers.

“We’re invested in making contributions to people’s relationship with their animals,” said Benjamin Hart, distinguished professor emeritus. “This guidance provides information and options for veterinarians to give pet owners, who should have the final decision-making role for the health and well-being of their animal.”

Their combined research studies will soon be available with others in the open access journal, Frontiers of Veterinary Science, as a free e-book, Effective Options Regarding Spay or Neuter of Dogs

Other researchers on this UC Davis study include: Abigail Thigpen, Maya Lee, Miya Babchuk, Jenna Lee, Megan Ho, Sara Clarkson and Juliann Chou with the School of Veterinary Medicine; and Neil Willits with the Department of Statistics.

The research received a small amount of funding from the Center for Companion Animal Health, but was primarily conducted by the above authors as volunteers.

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Pet Care

Study reveals cancer vulnerabilities in popular dog breeds

The smallest dogs, including Pomeranians, miniature pinschers, shih tzus and chihuahuas have about a 10% chance of dying from cancer.



Medium-sized dogs have a higher risk of developing cancer than the very largest or smallest breeds, according to a UC Riverside study. 

The study, published in the Royal Society Open Science, set out to test a model of how cancer begins. This model, called the multistage model, predicts that size is a risk factor for cancer. As it turns out, it is, but only when considering size variation within a single species. 

It is common for cells to acquire errors or mutations as they divide and form copies of themselves. Bigger animals, and those that live longer, have more cells and a longer lifespan during which those cells divide.  According to the multistage model, that means they have more opportunities to acquire mutations that eventually become cancer.

“The question that arises is why, then, don’t we get more cancer than a mouse? We don’t. There is no increase in cancer risk as animals increase in size from species to species,” said UC Riverside evolutionary biologist and study author Leonard Nunney. 

However, this isn’t true for animals of the same species. “Studies on humans show that tall people get more cancer than short people. It’s about a 10% increase over the baseline risk for every 10 centimeters in height,” Nunney said.

For more insight into these risk factors, Nunney required a species with a bigger difference between the smallest and biggest individuals. 

“Testing this in dogs is even better because you can compare a tiny chihuahua to a great Dane. That’s a 35-fold difference in size, and people can’t come close to that,” Nunney said. 

Surveying their mortality rates with three different data sets, Nunney found the smallest dogs, including Pomeranians, miniature pinschers, shih tzus and chihuahuas have about a 10% chance of dying from cancer. 

By comparison, many relatively large dogs, such as Burmese mountain dogs, have more than a 40% chance of death from cancer.   

There were some outliers in the study. Flat-coated retrievers had the highest mortality from cancer, getting a type of sarcoma with higher frequency than they should have for their size. Scottish terriers seemed to get more cancer than other small dog breeds. “Terriers in general get more cancer than expected for their size,” Nunney said. In general, however, the study supports the idea that size is a major risk factor for cancer. 

However, the very largest breeds, such as great Danes, have less cancer than medium-sized breeds. That is because of a well-known but as yet unexplained phenomenon: the life expectancy of dogs gets shorter with size. 

“For every pound increase in typical breed size you lose about two weeks of life. A very big dog, you’re lucky if they live past nine years, whereas small dogs can go about 14,” Nunney said.  Cancer is predominantly a disease of old age so by having a reduced lifespan the largest dogs have a reduced cancer risk.

According to the study, dog breeds are a clear fit with the multistage model of cancer acquisition that says larger size and longer lives offer more opportunities for cells to mutate. “I was surprised how well dogs fit the model,” Nunney said. “But that doesn’t happen when you compare a mouse to an elephant or a human to a whale. So, does that undermine the model in some way?” 

Nunney believes that an animal’s ability to avoid cancer increases with the size of the species. “My argument is that preventing cancer is an evolving trait, so a whale will have more ways of preventing cancer than a mouse does,” he said. 

While data are limited about the occurrences of cancer in whales, there is more information about rates in elephants, because they are kept in zoos. 

“Elephants don’t get much cancer. Their ancestors, long before mastodons, were much smaller, so how, en route to today’s size, did they avoid cancer?” he wondered. “The secret to preventing cancer could lie within the biology of larger animals.”

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