Just as dry skin can prove to be irritating and itchy for you, it can prove to be just as much of an irritant to your dog if his skin is dry. The good news is that while you can’t exactly slather on the soothing oatmeal lotion to moisturize his dry skin, there are a number of things that you can do in order to provide your dog a bit of relief from his dry and itchy skin.
Bathing Your Dog
How often do you give your dog a bath? While a good thorough bath can help to loosen up his undercoat and help to give a nice glossy sheen to his coat, you may be bathing your dog too often. Frequent baths, especially during the drier winter months, can lead to a loss of the natural oils that serve to provide your dog’s sensitive skin. If you are not using a dog-specific shampoo then you may also be inadvertently causing the dry skin problem.
How often you bath your dog will depend entirely on your dog and the kinds of mischief that he gets into. If your puppy is prone to diving into every pile of mud or dung that he finds then you may find yourself dunking him in the suds at least once a week.
Consider easing up on the frequency of baths, if at all possible. At the very least you should avoid using dish detergent and shampoos specifically meant for humans. These types of soaps are very effective at stripping oils from dirty dishes and human hair, but they will be a little bit too effective at stripping the natural oils from your dog’s skin and coat.
Perhaps someone in your home has sensitivity to your dog’s dander and you give the dog frequent baths in
an effort to reduce their allergy sensitivity? It is important then that you use shampoos that won’t strip off all of the natural oils from his coat, and that you are offering him supplements that can help to ease the dry flaky skin that will result from his routine baths.
Look for a quality pet shampoo that includes oatmeal and aloe. Both of these ingredients are known for being soothing to the irritated skin and can help to reduce the itching while your dog’s skin repairs itself. A number of skin and coat-conditioning solutions, typically available in sprays or rinses, can also help to control itching associated with dry skin and can help to moisturize your dog’s skin.
Feeding Your Dog
It is a given that your dog should have access to plenty of fresh and clean water at all times, regardless of the season or the temperature outside. Adequate hydration will help to keep his skin from excessive dryness, and help to promote the healthy function of his internal organs. Your dog should also be eating a quality food that contains plenty of the essential fatty acids that will help to keep his skin from drying out.
Your dog’s body requires essential fatty acids and other natural oils in his diet in order to maintain his good health. Vitamins A and E are both important parts of a healthy diet for your dog, as they will promote the healing of his irritated skin.
A large number of the essential oils contained with dog food are destroyed in the manufacturing process of commercial dog foods, so you can help your pup by adding them into his food each day. Fish oil and other Omega 6 supplements are readily available in liquid form and can be mixed into his food each day. Your veterinarian can also make additional suggestions for additives to help promote healthy skin. A little bit of extra time and money invested in your dog’s health can pay off with huge benefits that include no more dry itchy skin and a nice healthy glossy coat. It can even help to reduce shedding, which is sure to be something you appreciate!
Be sure to brush your dog frequently so that you can remove a fair amount of the dander and loose undercoat. Brushing frequently will also help to stimulate his skin into producing more of the natural oils that will keep his skin healthy.
If your dog’s skin has become so dry and itchy that he has been bothering it by chewing or rubbing up against hard surfaces, then he may have created wounds that need to be treated. Aloe can help to soothe the irritation and promote healing, and you may also find that rubbing a bit of baby oil or even coconut oil into your hands and then onto the driest patches of skin can help to soothe the itch while the nutritional supplements work.
Be sure not to use too much oil on your dog’s coat, and try to get as much of it directly onto his dry skin as is possible. Otherwise you are simply creating a magnet for dirt and grime. It is important that much of the oil soaks into his skin.
There are a number of other issues that could be responsible for dry skin on your dog, so it may be necessary to consult with your veterinarian if your modifications aren’t having any positive effect. Environmental and food allergies, mites, and even hormonal imbalances can be responsible for dry skin.