Dry, itchy skin on a dog is no fun for the dog or for its owner. There are many easy and natural remedies that can remove the dry flakes and encourage the development of healthier, moisturized dog skin.
Natural Remedies for Itchy, Dry Skin in Dogs
Oatmeal is great for relieving itchy, dry skin on dogs. Start by giving your dog an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal bath products are available from most drugstores; there are also dog-specific oatmeal shampoos and conditioners, though they're considerably pricier and may not necessarily work better.
Beyond baths, there are other oatmeal treatments that can help your dog's skin. If your dog can stay still for at least 10 minutes at a stretch, create a mixture of 50 percent oatmeal and 50 percent warm water. Spread this onto your dog's dry, itchy patches, cover with aluminum foil, and leave on for at least 10 minutes.
If your dog isn't that cooperative, you can try pouring the oatmeal mixture into a sock and rubbing it into his skin for a few minutes.
Brush your dog daily with a soft bristle brush. This can help loosen flaky skin and keep your dog's skin and coat healthy. It's also a great bonding method for dog and owner.
Adding just a few tablespoons (or less, depending on your dog's size) of omega-3-rich oil, like fish oil or flaxseed oil, or Vitamin E to your dog's food can help his skin get healthier from the inside out.
Remember that dogs lick themselves frequently, so anything you apply to their skin directly must be safe for them to ingest. If in doubt, consult your vet before trying it.
Apply a few drops of Calendula extract, Vitamin E oil (break open the gel capsules it's usually sold in) or fish oil directly to particularly dry areas, or sprinkle on a dog grooming brush to work it into your dog's entire coat.
You can also try spritzing your dog's coat every few days with tea tree oil, which will reduce itching and keep itch-causing allergens at bay.
Dry air in your house can make for dry and itchy skin in dogs and humans alike. A humidifier can help. Set up the humidifier in the area your dog spends the most time in (likely, where his bed is). For a larger home, consider a humidifier on each floor.
If your dog's dry skin persists, it's time for a visit to the vet. She may prescribe a special diet, or may be able to diagnose and treat a skin disorder or a food allergy you never knew existed.