Does your dog suffer from dry skin? Maybe you've noticed some of his skin flaking off, and perhaps he itches and scratches a lot. Once you've consulted with your vet to make sure something more sinister, like ringworm or fleas, is not to blame, it's time to get to work and make your dog more comfortable. Here are four things you can do to help fight dry skin in your dog.
Move his bed away from heating vents.
Dogs sometimes like to sleep in front of heating and cooling vents because this keeps them warm (or cool in the summer). But the dry air blowing from the vents can make their dry skin worse. Move your dog's bed away from the vents, and just make sure he has plenty of warm blankets to snuggle up in. In the summer, turn the temperature in your home down a degree or two so he stays cool without cozying up to the AC vents.
Stop giving him extra baths.
You might be tempted to give your dog a bath as a way to ease his itchiness, but in most cases, this will do more harm than good. When you bathe your dog, you rinse healthy oils off of his skin and hair, which may leave him even more dry than when you started. Try to reduce the number of baths you give your dog. If you do need to bathe him, use an oatmeal-based shampoo as this will help add moisture back to his skin. And use cool (not cold) water rather than warm water, as this is not quite as drying.
Feed him fatty acid supplements.
Some dogs become itchy because they are not getting enough fatty acids in their diets. You can find fatty acid supplements intended specifically for dogs with dry skin in most pet food stores. Feed your dog one according to the instructions on the package. You could also just drizzle a little coconut oil over your dog's food each day. Check with your vet before doing this just to ensure the idea is compatible with your dog's specific diet and dietary needs.
Reduce environmental allergens.
Some dogs have dry skin because they're exposed to a lot of allergens like pollen and dust mites. You can reduce these allergens in your dog's environment by vacuuming more often, changing your HVAC filter each month, and keeping the windows closed when the pollen count is high.
For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital.