By Amanda French September 17, 2020
One of the reasons dogs make such wonderful companions is how similar they are to us in so many ways. Our furry friends are social creatures and they love to take part in family life almost as much as we do.
But some of the similarities we have with our canine counterparts can be more frustrating than fun. In this case, we’re talking about how dogs can also suffer from dry, itchy skin. Our pups can even be plagued by dandruff, just like us!
Of course, our dogs can’t tell us exactly why they’re suddenly scratching like crazy, so it’s up to us as pet parents to keep an eye out for the symptoms of itchy skin or dandruff and do our best to find a solution to the problem.
What Causes Dry, Itchy Skin in Dogs?
If you notice your pup is itchier all of a sudden, your first step should be to discover the cause of their discomfort. Itchy skin in dogs can have several causes, which means you’ll have to pay attention to what your dog’s “saying” to you even more than usual.
Itchy skin can be caused by seasonal allergies in dogs or an allergic reaction to something in their food or treats. Common allergy sources in dog foods include chicken, beef, dairy, and wheat.
If you suspect your pup has any type of allergy, you should talk to your veterinarian about the best way to diagnose allergies in dogs, and come up with a plan for how to treat your dog’s allergies safely and effectively.
Itchy dog skin can lead to some unpleasant results like hotspots, which are inflamed and irritated areas on your pup’s body where they’ve been licking or scratching excessively. Hotspots can open your pup up to harmful bacterial or fungal infections.
But what if your dog’s itchiness isn’t being caused by allergies? There are other sources of dry, itchy skin in dogs that you might not even have thought about yet. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you and your pup.
Keep reading to learn more about itchy skin causes and treatments in dogs!
Itchy Dog Skin and Nutrition
Dry, itchy skin doesn’t discriminate – dogs of any age or breed can suffer from allergies or stressors that result in constant scratching and licking. That’s why proper nutrition is crucial for every pup, so they can have a strong immune system to fight off the itch.
Whether your dog has allergies or not, making sure they’re getting the right nutrients in their diet is an easy way to prevent dry, itchy skin. Make sure your dog’s food meets the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s recommendations for healthy pet diets.
You can also swap out your dog’s store-bought biscuits for bits of apples or carrots to remove extra calories and add more nutrients. Or think about adding a vitamin chew to your dog’s daily routine to boost their immune system and help to soothe their skin.
Itchy Dog Skin and Dehydration
One of the biggest causes of itchy skin for dogs and humans is as simple as dry air. If you or your pup are being exposed to household heaters or live in a dry environment, it can wreak serious havoc on the skin and create tons of itching.
Hot air causes the skin to flake and crack, whether you have a built-in fur coat or not, and it can also quickly lead to dehydration, which is even more drying to the skin. Even cold air can lead to itching if it lacks any natural humidity.
You can address this cause of itchy skin by using an air conditioner when outdoor temperatures are high. And a humidifier is a wise investment for all times of the year if you live in an area that’s especially dry in all of the seasons.
Staying hydrated is another great way to prevent dry skin for you and your pooch. Make sure you both have access to fresh water at all times. You might also consider adding a bit of water to their food if they eat dry kibble.
Itchy Dog Skin and Grooming
So far, we’ve talked about how nutrition and hydration are important when it comes to preventing dry, itchy skin. Maybe you’re already on top of things and you’ve started giving your pup a daily multi-vitamin chew or wetting down their food for extra moisture.
But what can you do about treating your dog’s itchiness right now? For starters, it’s essential to remember that your pup’s coat is much like your hair – it needs regular cleaning and grooming to stay healthy and itch-free.
Allergens and other environmental irritants can get stuck in your dog’s fur and cause some pretty serious problems. From the dead skin of dandruff to the slowing of hair growth, the issues brought on by a lack of regular dog grooming can be frustrating.
Most veterinarians recommend baths twice a month for the average dog. For a pup with dry skin, your best bet is to stick to that schedule, but be sure to use a soothing shampoo with oatmeal and no artificial ingredients or scents.
All-Natural Itchy Dog Skin Relief
If you’re still asking “What to use on my dog’s dry skin?” at this point, it’s time to pull out the big guns provided by Mother Nature herself. We’re talking about omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of dry, itchy skin in dogs.
With an abundance of nutrients that act as natural anti-inflammatories, omega-3s work as a powerful defense against itchy skin and quickly restore the body’s balance in both dogs and humans. Omega-3 oils can also boost hair growth and prevent dandruff!
There are plenty of ways to naturally add more omega-3s to your dog’s diet, including choosing a food made with fish as the single protein source or adding salmon, flaxseed, or coconut oil to their kibble at each meal.
But if you want to avoid the mess of oils or the smell of fish in your home, you might want to consider a skin and coat supplement for dogs with all the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids packaged in a tasty and mess-free chew. Your pup will love their new treats and you’ll love the itch-relieving results!