Dry skin is a common problem in dogs. Typically, this affliction increases in winter due to the exposure to heat indoors. Signs of dry skin in dogs include constant scratching, biting, flaking skin, dull hair coat and bald spots. These conditions, if not severe, may be cured at home. However, if your dog appears to be in serious discomfort or his condition worsens, visit your dog's health care provider to diagnose the cause.
Bathing too often can rob your dog's skin of its natural oils. In addition, shampoos designed for human use may be too harsh for dogs. However, seborrhea, or canine dandruff, requires shampooing and can be controlled with medicated shampoo. When bathing for seborrhea, wash every other day for 10 days. Decrease to twice a week, then once a week as the dog improves. Use a shampoo with sulphur or salicylic acid. Follow up by spraying or rubbing the the skin with glycerin, colloidal oatmeal, fatty acids or urea.
Diet is one of the most common factors involved with dry skin in dogs. Fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, are necessary for healthy skin and coat. Fatty acids can be added to the diet in the form of supplements, such as fish-oil pills or fish body oil. Vitamin E, A and B3, also known as niacin, can be added to improve skin conditions. Another alternative is adding olive oil to your dog's food a few times a week. Other dietary supplements, such as horsetail, dandelion and spirulina, contain vitamins and minerals to promote healthy skin.
Moisturizing the skin topically can be beneficial, especially if there are external sores from itching and scratching. Calendula extract is a topical liquid with antibacterial and skin-soothing properties. Vitamin E is an effective moisturizer that can be administered orally, or the capsules can be broken and applied directly to the skin. Fish oil can also be taken orally or brushed through the coat as a moisturizer. Tea tree oil works as an antiseptic to clean allergens off the dog. Applying a combination of oatmeal and water on to the dog, and left for 10 minutes before rinsing, may help relieve and soothe dry skin.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.