All dogs scratch themselves from time to time. If you have noticed your dog scratching a little too often though, it could be because of dry skin. This is more likely to happen during the winter months, when you find yourself reaching for lotion for yourself. There are a few factors that may contribute to your pet’s dry skin, such as hygiene, health and even his or her diet. Here are a few natural remedies to soothe your dog’s irritated skin:
- Try Different Food
As the saying goes, you are what you eat. The same rings true for your pup. If your dog is itching, it is possible he or she actually has an allergy to the fillers commonly found in dog foods. Look for a meat-based food high in protein. Also look for food rich in omegas 3 and 6. They are great for your animal’s fur and help maintain moisture in your dog’s skin. Not sure of which food is best? Ask your family veterinarian.
- Use Supplements
Another way to get those healthy omegas into your dog’s diet is to add up to three tablespoons of flaxseed oil to the dog bowl every day for about six weeks. Ask your family veterinarian what the precise dosage should be for your pup, as smaller dogs will need less than the giant breeds. As you start to see improvements in your dog’s skin, you can lower the amount of each dosage. Olive oil and salmon oil would also work and are a bit more affordable than flaxseed oil.
- Cut Back on Bathing
Many dogs will be overjoyed to have fewer baths. Over-bathing your dog can be a major factor of dry skin. Washing too often will actually deplete skin and fur of the essential oils that keep them moist. The general recommendation is to bathe your dog just once or twice a month, unless, of course, he or she rolls around in the mud and needs to be rinsed off before coming into the house.
- Use the Right Products
When it is time to put Fido in the tub, use a moisturizing shampoo, preferably one with colloidal oatmeal protein. You can also give your dog an oatmeal bath by grinding oatmeal and putting it into warm bathwater. Use four cups of oatmeal for every 20 pounds that your dog weighs. Once you have massaged the dog with the oatmeal bath, you can rub olive oil over his or her fur and wrap a warm towel around him or her so the oil is absorbed. Take care not to rub your pet with a towel after a bath, as that can actually aggravate dry skin.
Just as you may put on lotion when you get out of the shower, your dog needs to have a little moisture from time to time as well. You can soothe dry skin by spritzing your pet with chamomile tea and rubbing dry spots with olive oil. During the winter, when homes tend to be especially dry, put on a humidifier so moisture will circulate.
If these methods do not help your pet, seek the counsel of your family veterinarian. If your pet needs a referral to a dermatologist, ask your doctor about BluePearl Veterinary Partners.