Until this past winter, dry skin was not something I’ve had to deal with when it comes to Isabella and Penelope. However, this past winter was so dry that they both had pretty bad cases of puppy dandruff so I began seeking out solutions.
As I began doing my research, I realized there’s a ton online regarding dry, itchy skin in dogs, but most articles immediately jump to the conclusions of chronic dry skin, allergies or parasites. If you think your dog might be experiencing dry skin due to these reasons, I suggest you check out this article from the American Kennel Club.
However, if you’re like me and you know your pup is experiencing dry, itchy skin due to the weather, try these natural solutions.
Prior to this past winter, I have always given Isabella and Penelope fish oil as a supplement in their food as it contains two essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA. And while fish oil plays a major role in keeping their coats healthy and shiny while reducing shedding, it just wasn’t keeping their skin moisturized enough to beat the dryness.
While looking for solutions, I stumbled upon the many health benefits of supplementing with olive oil or coconut oil. One of those solutions being beating dry skin caused by winter weather.
Olive oil is great for your dog’s coat, it’s an immune system booster, and it’s great for the brain and general health. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, particularly vitamin E, and when added to your dog’s food, it can reduce dry skin in as little as three days! The omega-3 fatty acids moisturize their skin and also prevent the flaky skin from returning in the future.
Like olive oil, coconut oil also reduces a dog’s dry skin and provides other health benefits as well. It’s consists of medium-chain fatty acids and is one of nature’s most abundant source of lauric acid, which has been used to kill viruses, bacteria, and yeast as well as preventing tooth decay.
While both oils are great supplements to add to your dog’s food, keep in mind they are high in calories so you’ll want to pick one oil or the other or alternate the oils as a supplement. For instance, Isabella and Penelope are both given olive oil in addition to their fish oil supplement, with coconut oil on sportive occasions.
You’ll also want to plan their supplement portion in according to your dog’s size. For reference, Bella, who is 45 pounds, is given one tablespoon of olive oil once a day, and Penny, who is 25 pounds, is given 1 teaspoon of olive oil once a day.
Another common cause of dry, itching skin in dogs is dehydration. Just like how our skin can get dry if we aren’t drinking enough water, it’s the same for dogs. And we all know how difficult it can be to drink recommended amounts of water when the weather is colder. Our dogs are no different.
A great way to ensure your dog is getting extra water in its diet is to soak your pup’s dry dog food in water for 5-10 minutes prior to feeding. It doesn’t need to be a lot of water; just enough to soak into their dry food.
I also use this “soak time” as an excellent training opportunity for Isabella and Penelope. I’ll ask the girls to sit and stay while I let their food soak in their bowls over on their placemats. Penny, the “chubby bunny” of the house, has a very difficult time being patient when there is food involved, so this is a great opportunity to work with her.
Now while supplementing with oil and soaking your dog’s food in water are great long-term solutions to healing your dog’s dry skin (and by long-term, I mean like three days), oatmeal baths are a more short-term “quick-fix.”
Oatmeal contains chemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties and provides an immediate relief for dogs with itchy, dry skin. (If you’ve ever had Chicken Pox, you know just how much of an immediate relief this is!)
Now keep in mind, when I suggest an oatmeal bath, I am not suggesting a bath using a shampoo with oatmeal in it. While you can try this, don’t expect the same effects.
Grab a canister of oatmeal from the store and blend or grind the oatmeal to a fine powder. Mix the oatmeal powder with water, apply it to your dog in the bath and allow it to soak on your dog for about 10 minutes. If your dog tries to eat/drink the oatmeal bath, no worries. Oatmeal is 100 percent non-toxic.
Have any questions about the solutions mentioned above or perhaps, you’ve found another solution we didn’t list here? We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment below.