Dogs can suffer from allergies and itchy skin too. Dogs can even get dandruff! As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility and duty to consider the ways in which you can make life more comfortable for your pet(s), particularly if they have dry, itchy skin.
The cold temperatures of fall and winter can exacerbate the symptoms of dry skin, making every day an itchy struggle for some of our canine companions. Whilst in the summer months, excess heat and dehydration can cause their skin to dry up.
If you think your dog is allergic to something in their environment, talk to your veterinarian, and try to prevent your dog from going near those things. Suspect a spring time allergy? Read more on how to help your pooch with spring time allergies here!
Or, if you suspect they’re allergic to something in their diet, it might be worth considering cutting the suspect food out (Did you know that the most common food reactions in dogs are to beef, dairy, chicken, and wheat?) If your dog seems to be allergic to food, always discuss your concerns with your vet who can advise.
But perhaps their itchiness isn’t caused by allergies at all! So, it’s important to make your home and daily routine as irritation-free as possible!
Feeling itchy isn’t just unpleasant – it actually puts your dog at risk of catching diseases and forming skin conditions that could require medication. Open wounds that are created by the over-scratching of itchy hotspots give bacteria and fungus the opportunity to get into your dog’s bloodstream.
Keep your dog from scratching with these useful tips!
Although any dog, despite their breed, weight, health, or anything else, can have allergies, there is no doubt that having a healthy, nutritious diet can help minimise symptoms for your dog.
With the right nutrients, they will have a better immune system, and stronger muscles and skin. You see, the healthier the body is, the more effective it is at fighting off allergens and stressors – even ones from the environment.
So, include some healthy snacks into your dog’s daily diet. Often pups love little pieces of apples or carrots, so swap their biscuits for some fruit and veg instead. They're full of vitamins and antioxidants that promote good health!
If you’re worried that your dog isn’t getting the right vitamins for optimum health, we would recommend trying out a dog specific multivitamin supplement from a reputable, high quality pet brand!
The use of heaters in the house, and hot tools such as blow dryers, can irritate anyone’s skin, including your dog’s. The excess heat being blown onto them can cause the skin to become dry, especially when the temperature outside is cold!
The environment can play a big role in the health of your furry pal’s skin, so consider the use of humidifiers when the air is dry and keep the house at a mild temperature as much as you can. Live in a hot climate? Utilise air conditioners and keep your dog cool with plenty of shade and night time walking to stop their skin drying out because of the sun outside.
It’s also important to stay hydrated! Allow your dog easy access to a bowl of fresh water as much as possible.
Petlab Co. Pro Tip: If you feed your dog dry food, they’ll need to drink more water than dogs who eat wet food, due to the lack of moisture in dry food.
Dog's coats are like our hair – it needs frequent cleaning to look, feel, and smell nice. Proper grooming and hygiene will help your dog’s skin stay clear of irritants, dandruff and allergens that could be sitting on them that cause excessive itching. Brushing and combing will clear the skin and coat of dead skin.
The presence of dead skin and allergens under the coat can sometimes deter growth because when the skin is inflamed from irritation, the hair follicles struggle to grow new hairs, and the existing hair loses quality, so if your dog is suffering hair thinning or loss give them a thorough bath with a high quality, moisturising, itch relieving dog shampoo to help shed the dead skin cells (dandruff) that may be causing them to itch.
However, dogs who struggle from itchy, dry skin may be sensitive to certain products. For a homemade solution, use oatmeal grains mixed with water and wash their coat with it, as it’s great for soothing itchy skin!
A great, natural reliever of itchy skin, apple cider vinegar can decrease the discomfort of dry skin and allergies. Not only that, but it also repels ticks and fleas, which are responsible for itchiness, discomfort, and bringing the risk of certain diseases to your poor pup. Some ticks carry Lyme’s Disease, so if you live in an area that has an abundance of ticks in the outdoor areas, this is a great way to prevent them from settling on your pet’s coat!
FYI, regular flea control is an absolutely essential part of being a responsible pet parent and protecting your dog and others they come into contact with, so check in with your vet to get your beloved pet into their flea prevention routine.
The acidity of apple cider vinegar also creates an environment that yeast can’t survive in, which lowers the likeliness of a yeast infection in your dog’s coat. Yeast infections can be caused by allergies, and the infection can itself cause problems such as dermatitis or dangerous inflammation of the skin.
We suggest mixing Apple Cider Vinegar in a bottle – preferably a spray bottle for easy distribution to the coat – with water. Make sure the ratio is no more than 50% Apple Cider Vinegar, because the acidity may be too much for your dog, especially if they have sensitive skin. Apply it once or twice a day, and along with their regular flea and tick treatment, they’ll be well protected when out in flea/tick-infested areas.
Ingredients that are proven to help the symptoms of dry skin are Omega 3 and Omega 6. They contain an abundance of nutrients that relieve the discomfort of dry skin, and they act as anti-inflammatories for the itchy patches on the skin. The reason they are so effective is that the oil from the Omega oils supports the existence of the body’s natural oils.
Dry skin and doggy dandruff occurs when the body’s glands don’t produce enough natural oils or hair follicles get blocked, so Omegas 3 and 6 will encourage oil production. This also boosts hair growth and prevents shedding of fur, which can be a problem for dogs with dry, itchy skin.
You can usually find Omega fatty acids in supplement form for dogs or in 100% salmon oil, squirted over their main meal.
Itchy, dry skin isn’t fun for anyone, including your pooch – it can be painful and sore when being scratched, and when scratched too much, it can create open wounds that are vulnerable to infection.
It’s our jobs, as pet parents, to make sure the environment and home we make for our dogs are as safe, healthy and comfortable as possible!