Dry skin in dogs and the excessive scratching, biting, and shedding that accompanies it can be stressful for dogs and dog owners alike. There are plenty of environmental and biological factors that can cause your dog to have dry skin, and they can range from allergies to seasonal climate conditions to thyroid problems.
But what can you do about your dog’s dry skin? You should always try to understand where your dog’s dry skin is coming from, and treat accordingly. However, there are a number of things you can incorporate into your dog’s life to hydrate and condition the skin, your best defense against dry skin.
Regardless of why your dog deals with dry skin, these 5 dry skin solutions for dogs can provide symptom relief for your pet:
1. Coconut Oil
Everyone is talking about the benefits of coconut oil these days, and they shouldn’t be overlooked for your pet. A nutritional powerhouse, coconut oil provides a healthy dose of heart-healthy saturated fats, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and also is anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal.
Aside from being an effective dry skin and dandruff relief product, coconut oil can also help your pet deal with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, and cancer, regulate blood pressure and cholesterol, improve immunity, and establish a healthy metabolism and lose weight.
While many dogs love it as a treat, you can also use coconut oil topically to aid in healing wounds, ringworm, or hot spots.
Be sure to find an organic, virgin coconut oil for your dog, such as Pet Tek Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. Organic virgin coconut oil is fresher, unrefined, and, therefore, contains more nutrients, less chemicals, and is more effective than refined varieties.
2. Wild Salmon Oil
Adding essential fatty acids (Omega 3s and 6s) to your dog’s diet are helpful for conditioning the skin and reversing the damage of dry skin. Dry skin can be a symptom of a diet lacking in a proper balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Most modern human and pet diets contain too many inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids and too few anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids. Feeding your pet fish oils (particularly wild salmon oils) is one way to effectively increase the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids in your dog’s body, particularly brain-building DHA and EPA. The result is increased immunity, improved joint function, and a shiny skin and coat.
If you live in a climate with dry conditions, your pet is likely to suffer from dry skin (as are you). In very dry, arid conditions (especially in the winter), moisture evaporates directly from your pet’s skin.
One of the ways to counteract environmental dryness and its effects is to increase the amount of moisture in the air. The easiest way to do this is by installing a central humidifier to your HVAC system or simply using a stand-alone humidifier. According to Mayo Clinic, ideal humidity levels are between 30 and 50%, so make sure if your humidifier doesn’t come with a built-in gauge, you purchase a hygrometer on its own. Too-high humidity levels can promote allergens and bacteria and mold growth.
While you want to be careful how frequently you bathe your pet, particularly if she has dry skin, make sure that the shampoo and conditioner that you use on your pet contain moisturizing ingredients.
To keep skin hydrated and to limit flaking, choose shampoos and conditioners with added flax seed, oatmeal, vitamin E, and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Tropiclean Conditioner is great for dogs and cats, and includes natural moisturizers such as oatmeal and Vitamin E. Leave conditioner on your pet’s skin for a few minutes to give it time to permeate the skin.
For severe cases of dry skin, Tropiclean OxyMed Medicated Treatment works well to soothe and rehydrate damaged skin.
For dogs who suffer from dry skin, limit bathtimes to once per month.
5. Diet Rich in Healthy Fats
While it may seem odd, one of the of the biggest factors in your dog’s skin and coat health is the quality of their diet. Choose a healthy, natural dog food which includes many nutritious sources of fats for your dog. Some healthy sources of fats in your dog’s diet can include coconut oil, pasture-raised and grass-fed meats, and flax seed.
Canisource Beef Dog Food is a freeze-dried kibble that is fresher and less-processed than your standard dry dog foods. It contains ingredients, such as ground flax seed, which give Canisource a healthy balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, a quality many processed canine diets lack.
Aside from your pet’s regular diet, you should be feeding healthy fat treats as well. Plain, whole fat yogurt is a great treat for dogs and cats alike.