There are a number of causes for dry skin in dogs, such as bacterial, parasitic, or yeast infections, metabolic or hormone imbalances, allergies, poor grooming, under bathing or overbathing, and environmental conditions– dry winter, or hot summer with low humidity.
One thing is for sure: dry skin in dogs is common, just like it is for humans.
A dog with dry skin can often be observed obsessively scratching, licking, or chewing their skin. Our solution to dry human skin is to simply slap some moisturizer on our dry hairless skin. But for most dogs, that’s not a practical solution because of their fur.
So when your dog’s skin is dry and needs extra help beyond your dog’s efforts in grooming, what do you do? We have some solutions for keeping your dog’s skin conditioned.
Things to Consider Before Moisturizing
The first thing you should do once you’ve noticed your dog needs some assistance with their dry skin is to determine the cause of the dry skin. Because while treating the dry skin will help your dog stay healthy and comfortable, there may be a deeper cause to the dry skin that should also be addressed.
Additionally, not everything that’s safe to use on our human skin is also safe for your dog. Whether it’s a shampoo, conditioner, lotion, or essential oil, always check before putting a new product on your pet to ensure it’s non-toxic to dogs. If you’re not sure whether it’s safe, test moisturizing products on your dog’s skin before applying it all over their body to prevent bad reactions.
● Brush Regularly
Your dog has natural oils in their fur that helps moisturize their skin. Regularly brushing your dog’s hair helps remove debris and keep the fur from tangling or matting.
● Massage Your Dog
Just like in human bodies, massaging dogs can help with skin health. Massage increases blood flow to the skin, which brings nutrients to skin tissues.
● Bathe Regularly
Not bathing your dog enough leads to the buildup of dirt and oils leading to dry skin, but over bathing also leads to dry skin through the stripping of your dog’s natural body oils. Bathe your dog no less than once a month and no more than twice a week.
● Use Moisturizing Bath Products
Use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners that are safe for your dog. Do not use human bath products. Adding dog-safe essential oils is also a good option, and applying natural moisturizers like coconut oil or olive oil to your dog’s skin– including nose and paws –is great for moisturization.
● Air Dry
Pat your dog’s fur dry with a towel, then allow it to air dry in a warm location or using fans. Using a blow dryer will only make dry skin drier.
Don’t forget that your dog has skin too and that just because it’s covered in fur doesn’t mean it’s not susceptible to dryness. Dogs in colder climates are especially susceptible to dry skin like we are, and it’s important to regularly groom your dog to make sure their skin is moisturized. Many natural products are available to moisturize your dog and keep everything from their nose to their paw pads healthily conditioned.
For more information about keeping your dog’s skin healthy, look at the pet safe products by PawFriction.