When you catch your dog endlessly itching and scratching, it’s a sure sign that they are being irritated by dry skin. While it’s hard to feel through their coat, symptoms like dandruff, odor, inflammation, and even hair loss can help you recognize a skin problem. Fortunately, just like with humans, dry skin is relatively simple to fix if you are diligent.
1. Opt for a Balanced Diet
The food you feed your dog is a likely cause of their dry skin to begin, and it’s also the best way to address any skin problems they are having. The nutrients in your dog’s food, or the lack thereof, directly translates into the healthiness of their coat. A good diet means a shiny, silky coat. A poor diet, on the other hand, will certainly lead to dry skin over time.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the right dog food. Instead, ask your veterinarian for advice and always pay attention to life stage, activity level, and breed/size when selecting a food. Any high-end food will be carefully formulated and lab-tested to ensure it provides your dog with the nutrition they need to be healthy.
2. Try a Humidifier
Just like with humans, dry air can remove the moisture from your dog’s skin, even if you seem to be doing everything else right. If your home has dry air, consider getting a humidifier and taking note of the difference it makes — not just for your dog’s coat, but for the health and hydration of everyone’s skin.
A humidifier can also leave you breathing a little easier, especially at night when dry air can cause you to awake with a dry mouth or scratchy throat. It will have similar benefits for your pooch, proving especially useful during winter, when everywhere tends to feel dry. Lakeside Heating and Air Conditioning describes the benefits of a humidifier very well.
3. Groom Regularly
Sometimes, diet or air quality isn’t all to blame. Oftentimes, getting into a normal grooming routine can help prevent and heal dry skin for your dog. The trick is to bathe them regularly with a conditioner formulated to hydrate your dog’s coat. If you use human shampoo, it may strip the natural oils from their skin and actually further contribute to the problem. Pets need a gentle shampoo that’s free of chemicals (including most fragrances). Regular brushing can also help to stimulate the production of oil, restoring much-needed moisture to your dog’s coat once again.
When in doubt, it’s always acceptable to give your vet a call and ask them about the best steps to take to support your dog’s healthy lifestyle. But, fortunately, keeping your dog’s skin healthy isn’t too difficult as long as you’re diligent with their diet, grooming routine, and other needs.