Is dry skin causing your dog to scratch a lot? Dry, itchy coats can be caused by a number of reasons, ranging from environmental factors to a serious underlying medical condition. Constant itching and scratching can make your dog lick or bite itself, which may lead to self-inflicted wounds, skin infections and hair loss. In order to manage your dog’s dry skin, it’s important to first determine the cause before choosing a treatment plan. Keep reading for everything you need to know about your pet’s dry skin — including the causes, symptoms and natural at-home remedies that can help provide relief. 

What Causes Dry Skin on Dogs?

Dogs are just as prone to dry skin as their owners. Not only is irritated, flaky skin uncomfortable, it can become infected and painful if left untreated. Leading causes for itchy and flaky skin on canines include:

  • Allergies
  • Parasites
  • Cold, arid climates 
  • Improper grooming
  • Dietary insufficiency 

Symptoms of Dry Skin 

Keeping an eye on your pup’s symptoms can help your veterinarian diagnose the cause of dry skin. Look for these signs that are associated with the condition:

  • Itchiness
  • Dandruff
  • Flaking
  • Inflammation 
  • Scabs 
  • Open sores

Natural Dry Skin Remedies 

Recurring or seasonal dryness can be prevented with the right treatment before it becomes a long-term issue. Consider these natural treatments to provide relief from symptoms — some of them can even be found in your pantry or refrigerator:

Oatmeal bath — Soothe irritated skin with an oatmeal bath by letting your pup soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Oatmeal is a well-known treatment for a variety of skin conditions. It helps balance skin oils and even eliminates dandruff. You can also create an oatmeal paste to spread on your pet’s dry spots. 

Vitamin E — Try rubbing Vitamin E oil directly onto your dog’s skin to soothe any irritation. Don’t worry if your furry friend licks some of it off — this oil can be used both internally and externally. Some dogs seek immediate relief from this method. If you provide your pooch foods that are high in Vitamin E — such as spinach, avocado, eggs and salmon — extra supplementation may not be necessary.  

Yogurt — Probiotics is a key ingredient in yogurt and kefir, which can help boost the immune system and keep yeast infections at bay. Feeding your dog plain, sugar-free yogurt can help improve its GI system. Probiotic supplements for canines are also available over the counter and through veterinarians. Look for one that contains the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal to ensure you’re purchasing a safe and effective product. 

Grooming — Excessive bathing and harsh soaps can cause dry skin and dandruff. Be sure to limit how often your dog receives baths and use only mild or veterinarian-recommended shampoo intended for canines. Have a discussion with your vet to determine an appropriate bathing schedule. Wash your pet’s bedding frequently and keep up with brushing its coat. Brushing helps stimulate the skin to release natural oils, which can aid in moisturizing your dog’s skin. 

Humidifier — Placing a humidifier in the room where your pooch sleeps can reintroduce moisture in arid environments. This can be especially beneficial during winter months as low humidity can aggravate dry skin.

Supplements — Nutritional supplements can nourish the skin’s moisture barrier. Try adding fish oil to your pup’s food to combat dry skin issues. Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as anti-inflammatory properties that have been proven to promote soft, silky coats. 

Coconut oil — Whether your pup has irritated skin or cracked paws, coconut oil can assist with healing. It increases skin surface lipid levels, making for an effective moisturizer. Add the oil to your dog’s diet or massage it onto the affected areas of the coat. Coconut oil can even improve digestion, boost energy and heal cuts and wounds.  

Determining the cause of your pet’s skin condition may require a veterinarian’s evaluation, but utilizing some of these natural remedies can help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy year-round. 

Author bio: Stephanie N. Blahut is Director of Digital Marketing and Technology for Figo Pet Insurance. Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology — the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud — and the industry’s best pet insurance plans. 

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