Itchy skin in dogs is often caused by simple dryness. Lack of moisture is an especially big problem during the winter months when there is virtually no humidity. While we can slather on lotion, the solution isn’t quite so simple for our furry BFF’s.
In order to keep your dog’s skin healthy year round, pay close attention to these 5 moisturizing tips.
1. Bathing (but not over-bathing)
While bathing with a well-balanced, vet-recommended shampoo can certainly help with many skin conditions including dryness, over-bathing or bathing with a harsh shampoo can make the issue worse. While we tend to wash daily, doing the same with our dogs’ delicate skin would strip it completely of its healthy oils and throw the delicate pH out of whack. Once-monthly bathing is the typical protocol for normal-skinned dogs.
On the other hand, under-bathing allows dead hair and skin to build up and can lead to dandruff and excess oil production, creating a combination dry-greasy coat. Have a discussion with your vet to determine the correct bathing schedule and proper shampoo to use on your individual pooch.
One of the best ways to stimulate your dog’s skin follicles to release moisturizing oils is through the simple act of regular brushing. Brushing also removes dead hair and old skin cells that can clog the surface of the skin. It is especially important to groom long-coated and double-coated dogs regularly to prevent painful matting and dry, itchy buildup. Short-haired dogs can also benefit from regular brushing – especially if they are prone to dry skin.
3. Topical Sprays
Never apply any topical product to your dog’s skin without first consulting your veterinarian. There are several sprays on the market with moisturizing, anti-itch and soothing properties that may help relieve minor dryness. Some take the natural route, utilizing the gentle hydrating properties of tea tree oil or colloidal oatmeal. Others are conditioners intended to be applied to the coat after bathing, and some are medicated with topical antihistamines, anesthetics and even steroids to relieve intense itching.
An arid climate is a major contributor to dry skin. The southwestern United States and parts of Central Australia are notorious for their dry air. Along the same lines, the heating and air conditioning we rely on to keep us comfortable throughout the seasons can also strip the humidity from the air creating a dry environment. Adding a high capacity humidifier to your home can help reintroduce moisture and help with dry skin in pets and humans.
5. Nutritional Supplements
Perhaps the best way to improve skin health and vitality is introducing nutritional supplements with specific skin enhancing properties. Fish oil supplements containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients have been proven to promote soft, silky coats, minimize shedding, and maintain the skin’s normal moisture content.
Together with a holistic veterinarian, we developed our Project Paws® skin & coat chews to help support silky smooth fur and healthy skin, while minimizing itching. We’d encourage you to give them a try. The best part is each purchase funds 14 meals for shelter dogs!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional.
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