Just like humans, many dogs experience dry, itchy skin during the winter months. The snow can be a majestic sight to some, but the cold, dry air just zaps our skin of moisture. The same is true for our pooches! Their seasonal dry skin can lead to itching, scratching, and even hot spots. Be sure you bundle up during walks to protect your dog from the cold, drying air.
Other dogs experience itchy skin year round. Canine atopic dermatitis (the technical term for itchy skin in dogs) is a growing problem and can be caused by allergies to their food or environment, including pollens, molds, dust mites and insect allergens. The dog’s skin is very itchy, and they can develop lesions if they scratch a lot.
Whatever the scenario, it’s important to get to the root of the cause to get them relief. See your vet to rule out any health issues or get them tested for certain allergens. Also, you may want to examine their diet, as poor nutrition may be the cause of their dry skin. A couple of natural approaches are included below.
Essential Fatty Acids
Whether the cause is seasonal or a year-round problem, keeping your dog’s skin healthy is a vital key to their health. The skin functions as a protective barrier against allergens, and loss of proteins in the outer layers can lead to itchy skin, even in humans.
Many vets and pet owners agree that supplementing your dog’s diet with Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids can help prevent dry skin and skin irritation. These oils are called “essential” because they are required to keep your dog’s cells functioning optimally.
Ask your vet about incorporating an Omega supplement into their diet, or recommending a food rich with sources of essential fatty acids.
Coconut Oil Skin Treatment
Another natural approach to finding relief for itchy skin is by applying coconut oil. It softens the skin, reduces flaking, improves the natural defenses of the skin and is a great immune booster, both orally and topically.
Coconut oil is gaining in popularity as a healthier alternative to vegetable oils and butter, so it’s easy to find in your grocery store. If you’re not familiar with it, it is solid below a certain temperature, but becomes liquid at higher temperatures. Just the warmth from your hands will turn the coconut oil to liquid, making it easy to apply. Be sure to buy 100% organic, cold-pressed, human grade coconut oil.
You need to start with clean skin, so do this treatment after you bathe your dog. Once dried off, warm the coconut oil between your hands and rub it everywhere making sure you get down to the skin itself. You’ll want to spend a little extra time in problem dry areas. You and your dog will love the smell and he’ll probably try to lick it off.
Once you’re all done applying the coconut oil, wait about five minutes to let the oil absorb into the skin. Next, you’ll want to remove the excess surface oils by giving your dog one more bath. This time, just a small amount of shampoo and a light rinse to remove the surface oils but leaving the skin soothing oils on the skin. This treatment will leave your dog with incredibly soft skin, but also healthier skin and nails.
This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather, provider of products for sick dogs.