How to Treat and Prevent Your Dog's Dry Itchy Skin

By Jon Dayton

Several ailments can cause dry and itchy skin in dogs. Most common are parasites, allergies and fungal infections. Fleas and mites are the most common parasites, while contact dermatitis, food allergies and yeast infections are the most common types of allergies and fungal infections. Leaving these conditions untreated can cause a lot of pain and discomfort for your dog.

Observe your dog to check for underlying issues causing skin problems. If your dog is getting sick easily, has constant allergy problems and is suffering from chronic infections, these might be symptoms of an underlying immune system problem that needs a veterinarian's attention. If your dog is not getting sick and is in overall good health, you should be able to treat the dry and itchy skin problem by yourself.

Treat the underlying cause of a skin problem. If skin problems are occurring on the base of the tail, groin, thighs and hips, it is probably fleas. Face, belly, ears and feet point to food allergies. If skin lesions occurred then itchy skin started, it points toward a bacterial infection. Treat these skin problems before just treating the itchy skin to prevent problems from coming back.

Purchase topical treatments from pet stores or from a veterinarian. Topical treatments include creams that can be rubbed onto problem areas to treat itchy and dry spots. Different creams are created for different causes, so your veterinarian will be able to tell you the proper cream you need after you diagnose what originally caused the skin problem.

Give your dog an oatmeal bath to reduce discomfort and treat dry and itchy skin. Do not use flavored oatmeal or oatmeal that contains sugars. Blend 1 cup of oatmeal into a fine powder using a blender. Place the cup of ground oatmeal into a bathtub full of lukewarm water. The water level should be chest high of your dog. Stir the oatmeal into the water until it dissolves.

Place your dog into the oatmeal bath. Gently scoop the oatmeal water onto your dog every few minutes. Let your dog soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not rinse the oatmeal off of the skin when finished; just pat your dog dry with a towel. The oatmeal should help prevent your dog from itching.

Change your dog's diet. To prevent future outbreaks of dry and itchy skin, make sure your dog is eating a proper diet. Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A and Zinc will help promote healthy skin on a cellular level. The food should also contain a large amount of protein but only small amounts of grains, preservatives and coloring agents. Grains, preservatives and coloring agents are a major cause of food allergies, so changing a diet will get rid of food allergies and promote better skin and immune health.