There are two ways to approach your dog’s dry skin, internally and externally. The external method will provide some immediate relief which your dog definitely needs, while the internal dog dry skin remedy will provide lasting relief. Ideally, you want to use both until your dog’s problem is overcome.
The two main external remedies for dog dry skin are shampoo and conditioners.
Most people have heard about the great healing and anti-itch properties of colloidal oatmeal. There are several colloidal oatmeal shampoo for dogs on the market now that can help moisturize dry skin and keep moisture in. The only trick to successfully using this type of shampoo to relieve dry skin is that it needs to stay on your dog for 10-15 minutes before rinsing. Depending upon how difficult it is to bathe your dog, this can become quite a hassle and very stressful for your dog.
The other option is a conditioner that you apply after bathing. While most of these still have to be rinsed off, it usually doesn’t need to stay on the skin for as long. A good conditioner will also have colloidal oatmeal in it as well as aloe vera or shea butter, which help to protect and soften the skin and coat.
Whenever bathing your dog, it is essential that you completely rinse off ALL shampoo and conditioner. Any residue that is left can cause all sorts of irritations, such as intense itching.
To really get down to the root of your dog’s dry skin problem, you need to go internal. There are many causes for a dog’s dry skin and coat. Lack of certain nutrients and/or allergies are the primary reasons for dry, itchy skin in dogs. Remedies include adding dog supplements to provide more of the key nutrients your dog needs and/or changing dog food. If you are not feeding a premium dog food, then it could simply be lack of good food causing the problem. If you are feeding a premium food, then your dog just needs more – switching to another premium dog food might help, or adding supplements.
There are very few dog foods that are made breed-specific. What this means is your individual dog’s nutritional needs may or may not be completely met by the food they are eating. Just like with humans, different foods and different quantities have different results. Not everyone can eat the same foods and have the same outcome with their bodies. Dogs are no different. Your dog may just need more of certain nutrients than your dog food provides, or your dog food might just be no good (as way too many are).
When your dog doesn’t get the nutrients they need, its immune system gets stressed. It must figure out how to get what little nutrients it can from other areas, and while doing this, the overall health will suffer.
Look for a dog food, such as Natural Balance Dog Food, that uses premium ingredients which helps restore the overall health of your dog. If you are already feeding a premium dog food, try adding dog supplements, such as Missing Link for dogs, or fish oil for dogs. Both of these supplements give your dog extra essential fatty acids. These types of supplements are also great to use if you just cannot afford the premium dog foods. Any extra nutrition you can give your pets will be a boost for their immune system and overall health.
Allergies trigger a response from your dog’s immune system. This in turn triggers other responses. And when the body is dealing with allergens, other parts suffer. Typically, allergies in dogs is most commonly expressed in the form of itchy skin, as compared to humans’ congestion. Sometimes people just assume since their dog is itching and there are no fleas, that they have dry skin. Allergies can or cannot cause dry skin, but the itching and scratching tear up the skin.
Allergies that cause dog dry skin can be handled the same way as the nutrition section above, with the added caveat that you try to limit the amount of exposure to the allergen, which may or may not be possible.
How Long Before You See Improvement
With external remedies, you should notice much improvement within a few hours; however, the effects won’t last for many days. Many of the external lotions and shampoos also contain ingredients to help control dog itching, so their condition may seem greatly improved. The truth is, it is really just relieving the itching more than curing the problem. Now this is still important because the less they irritate their skin with scratching, the quicker it can heal and start to nourish itself. But don’t forget to address the underlying problem that is causing the dry skin – the internal part.
Once you address the internal, either nutrition or allergies, and make proper changes, it can still take some time to see any real improvement – like a week or two. But don’t despair, it took a long time for this build-up to affect your dog’s skin, and it will likewise take some time to completely heal the skin.