My Dog Has Dry Skin – How Can I Help?

The treatment of dry skin can vary depending on the condition’s causes and potential underlying medical issues. For information specific to your pet, see your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is not suffering from a condition that requires specialized medical treatment.

For common, mild dandruff that exists without any accompanying problems, here are a few steps that you can take that may help.

Update Your Dog’s Diet

Diet and proper nutrition can influence many aspects of your pet’s overall health, with skin and coat condition being no exception. Consider upgrading your dog to a premium diet that contains a balanced fatty acid ratio, which can improve overall skin condition and reduce some instances of dry, irritated skin.

Talk with Your Vet About Supplements for Skin Conditions

In some situations, your veterinarian may recommend additional supplementation with specific fatty acids found in fish oil and borage oil. These more concentrated fatty oils can give your dog’s skin and coat the extra healthy boost it needs.

Not All Fats Are Created Equal

When it comes to skin and coat health, not just any form of fat will do. Vegetable oil, grease, butter, and bacon fat are not appropriate fats for your dog to be ingesting. These low-grade oils may do more damage to your pet’s health than good, potentially causing disorders like pancretitis or obesity. For best results, stick to Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids, fed in very specific ratios as recommended by your veterinarian. Numerous Omega fatty acid supplements exist, so see your local veterinarian to find the right supplements for your unique dog.

Groom with Care

When preparing to groom your dog, especially if he or she has been struggling with sensitive skin, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Use mild grooming products that will be gentler on your pet’s skin
  • Consider a skin and coat conditioner that may help to add a healthy shine back to the skin and coat
  • Do not over bathe as it can cause significant skin dryness and damage.
  • Consider using a specific shampoo that helps loosen excess skin flakes in particularly bad cases
  • Perform routine brushings and coat trims when appropriate

It may seem counter-intuitive, but expect to notice more dandruff for a few days after this grooming regiment as bathing and brushing often loosen surface skin flakes until the excess flakes are completely brushed out of the coat.

Need More Information About Your Dog’s Coat and Skin?

For more information on your pet’s skin and coat, contact your local veterinarian, browse our Pet Health library, look through our Ask a Vet library, or check out some of the related links provided below.