Dog skin problems account for an untold number of vet visits each year. Dry, itchy skin is a very common complaint, and it can become so severe that your pet scratches himself to the point of bleeding.
If your dog has a mild to moderate case of dry skin, you may simply notice an increase in scratching. Or, you may see little flakes of dead skin that look like dandruff. In any event, you’ll want your vet to take a look at your dog. If possible, choose a holistic practitioner, so you can get tips on keeping your faithful companion healthy.
Natural Remedies for Dogs With Dry Skin
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Dry skin on dogs, a condition vets call pruritis, has a number of different causes, among them allergies. These are the most difficult to treat. But other factors are much easier to control. These include making sure your dog has enough healthy oils in his diet. This may not be the case if you primarily feed him dry dog food, especially the overly processed bargain brands.
Home Remedies for Dog Dry Skin
Once a serious cause is ruled out, there are a number of home remedies you can use to ease this problem. If dryness is severe, and your dog is extremely uncomfortable, and chews on his skin, steroids may be recommended. However, holistic vets generally try to avoid these powerful drugs, because they can be very detrimental to your dog’s overall health.
Hopefully, working with your vet, you can arrive at drug-free solution. Options exist. One that you may want to consider is a wide-spectrum homeopathic formula designed for skin problems. I’m a big fan of using homeopathy instead of drugs, if possible. I credit homeopathy partially for helping our own dog live to a ripe old age. He’s now pushing 15.
Other home remedies for dog dry skin include:
- Olive oil. This Mediterranean staple has is very good for dogs, as it’s rich in essential fatty acids. Your dog may not be getting enough of these nutrients. Talk to your vet about how much olive oil to give your dog. One online veterinary recommendation was no more than one tablespoon a day.
- Feed your dog moist food instead of dry. Or, supplement kibble with a lot of wholesome, unprocessed people food. My own 14-year-old dog eats a healthy grain-free kibble. But we give him a lot of organic table scraps. He loves it when I’m in the kitchen cutting up chicken breasts because he knows he’s going to get to snack on some yummy tendons, with a bit of meat attached.
- Probiotics. Again talk to your animal’s health practitioner about supplementing with special high-dose probiotic cultures, especially if your dog has allergies.
- Fish Oil. This is becoming a popular supplement for dogs, because it supports healthy joints and can help with dry skin. Here is a really good brand of fish oil capsules for dogs, sold by a company founded an an animal nutritionist.
- Natural Shampoo. Use a shampoo with only natural ingredients. Sodium lauryl sulfate may be found in some of the cheaper dog shampoos. This is a very irritating agent, with concerns growing over its potential toxicity.
- Run a Humidifier. Dogs that live in very dry climates may be more likely to have dry itchy skin.
Argan Oil for Dog Skin
Argan oil is a natural skin moisturizer that’s gaining widespread fame outside of Morocco, where it’s been used for thousands of years. This is now found in high-end human skin and hair products. It’s also an active ingredient in a few dog shampoos, but I wasn’t able to find any without other chemicals that may make the problem of dry skin worse. But it’s really easy to make your own argan skin care cream for your dog, using just a few ingredients.
- 1 Tbs. of argan oil (available here)
- 2 Tbs. of coconut oil
- 1 Tbs. of organic honey
- 1 drop of lavender oil (available here). Lavender essential oil seems to work very well for dog skin problems. At least that’s our experience. We once used it to treat our elderly dog’s hot spot, with very good results.
Oatmeal Bath Dogs Itchy Skin
Oatmeal has long been used to sooth canine skin irritation. One easy remedy (as long as you don’t mind getting a little wet) is to give your dog an oatmeal bath. Put 2 cups of unflavored oatmeal in a blender or food processor and grind it. Take this and place it in a tub of warm water. Soak your dog for a few minutes, or as long as he’ll allow. Rinse well and gently use a towel to dry his coat.
Homeopathy for Dog Skin
There are also various homeopathic remedies designed for dog skin problems. Dogs respond very well to this 200-year-old type of medicine, which we regularly use on our own pet. Even though our Cocker Spaniel became a senior citizen years ago, a well-selected remedy recently cleared a bad case of conjunctivitis within a half hour. We worked closely with our homeopath.
I realize everyone doesn’t have access to their own homeopath. These highly specialized professionals are hard to find, and some owners may not be able to afford the consultation fees.
Natural Remedies for Dog Skin Rash
But there is one homeopathic remedy called Derma-IoniX designed for dog skin problems. It’s made by Vetionix, and you can use it even if you don’t have a professional homeopath, because the company offers free telephone and live chat support. This multiple remedy product contains about two dozen of the most commonly general remedies for skin problems.
This is an excellent product if your dog suffers from dry skin due to allergies. It should address all causes of dermatitis in dogs. Homeopathy works by matching particular symptoms, regardless of the underlying pathology.
One of the ingredients in Derma-ioniX is homeopathic thuja. This remedy is often recommended for vaccinosis, or vaccine reaction. Some holistic vets believe that an aggressive vaccination schedule is one reason they’re now seeing so many pets with allergies.
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