Two years ago at the BRAT convention in DC, I remember petting someone's basenjis who had the softest fur I'd ever felt on a dog. Marveling, I asked the owner what kind of shampoo they used. They told me that it wasn't shampoo -- they simply fed their dog a high-quality food, and a daily capsule of fish oil.
In the past year, I have been experimenting with different kinds of high-quality dog food (see my previous posts on What Difference Does Food Make?) and the jury's still out on which one seems to have the best impact on my dogs. We're presently feeding Blue Buffalo, but I think I may switch again because I'm not seeing quite as big a dietary impact as I'd hoped for. However, about a week ago I was at Costco and I had a coupon for a big bottle of 1000mg fish oil capsules for $5, and I remembered the advice that I had received at the convention. I bought the bottle, and started feeding my dogs each one capsule of fish oil at night with dinner.
That was about a week ago, and in just two days I was amazed to notice the dogs' fur was already getting softer. We're now 7 days in, and my two little basenjis feel like soft velvet, and I swear that even their eyes seem brighter. They absolutely love the fish oil with dinner (I slit the capsules open and squeeze the oil over their food), and I was surprised that it doesn't seem to give them bad breath as I had feared. My only complaint is that the fish oil smells absolutely GROSS and there's no way to squeeze out the capsules without getting some on my fingers! So, if you don't mind washing the smell of dead fish off your hands (it comes right off, I promise), I highly recommend feeding your dogs one capsule of fish oil every day with their food. It costs virtually nothing for the capsules, and it really makes a huge difference in their fur and their health!