Determining which condition your dog is dealing with requires a vet’s evaluation, but implementing some of the suggestions provided in the sidebar can certainly help your pup be more comfortable in her own skin—literally.
Here are some ways to help improve your dog’s dry skin.
• When your dog needs a bath, try using plain water, a good, non-drying solvent. If you must use shampoo, use a moisturizing type with humectants, and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner. Avoid blow dryers.
• If you have your dog groomed, speak to the groomer about turning down the heat on the blow dryer (it’s usually set pretty high).
• Feed moist food—canned, cooked, homemade or raw.
• Add digestive enzymes to every meal (probiotic bacteria, 2 to 10 billion CFUs/day).
• Provide fresh, filtered drinking water.
• Add fresh oils and other supplements to meals—
Flax seed oil (1/2 tsp. of oil/15 pounds twice daily) or freshly milled flax seeds (1.5 tsp./15 pounds twice daily)
EPA/DHA from fish oil or algae (5 to 20 mg of EPA/pound of body weight/day)
Lecithin granules (1/4 tsp. to 1 Tbs. per meal)
Nutritional yeast (1/2 to 1 tsp. per meal) or hypoallergenic B complex (10 to 50 mg twice daily)
Kelp powder (1/4 to 1 tsp. per meal daily)
Spirulina (500 to 1,000 mg twice daily with meals)
Alfalfa, nettles or horsetail (dried or powdered, 1/4 to 1 tsp. of individual herb or a mixture)
This article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 46, Jan/Feb 2008