Like humans, dogs can suffer from dry skin. The good news is that, like dry skin in humans, there are home remedies that can ease the discomfort and itchiness of dry skin in a dog.
How to Tell If a Dog Has Dry Skin
Since a dog can’t tell their owner if they have dry skin, it is up to the owner to notice the signs and symptoms of the condition. They include:
- Itching and scratching more than usual
- Rolling on the ground more than is normal
- Skin lesions such as pimples and scabs and inflammation
- Shedding hair and bald patches
- Oily fur, ironically
- A dog that stinks
- Biting the skin
- Dandruff and excessive flaking and scaling
Some home remedies work as well for dogs as they do for people. They can be rubbed directly into the dog’s skin, given orally or both.
Chamomile tea is good for soothing dry and irritated skin. Brew the tea, then put it in the refrigerator until it’s cool. Decant it into a spray bottle, and spray it on spots of irritation or itchiness. It not only brings relief but kills bacteria and yeast. Dogs with itchy feet can soak their paws in a bowl of cold chamomile tea, and if the dog doesn’t shake them off, warm chamomile teabags are the thing for itchy eyes.
Oatmeal baby cereal added to warm bathwater relieves dry skin at once. It can also be added to the usual shampoo used to bathe the dog. Another way to use oatmeal is to grind it up in the spice grinder, mix it with water until it forms a poultice, and apply it to the itchy areas.
Essential evening primrose oil soothes itching and inflammation. Apply some right on the skin, or add an eyedropper or two to the dog’s food or water to let them ingest it.
Vitamin E is also a good emollient when it comes to the dry skin of both human and dog. All the owner needs to do is break a capsule and massage the oil into the places where the dog scratches. This not only feels good to the dog, but vitamin E is also an antioxidant that protects the cells of the skin against free radical damage. It’s especially good for dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors because it also protects against damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
If the itchy skin is caused by yeast infections, feeding the dog about a teaspoon of plain yogurt supports their gut bacteria, lowers the levels of yeast, bolsters the immune system and protects the dog against diarrhea.
Licorice root is another remedy for dry and itchy skin, though it has nothing to do with licorice candy. Licorice is actually a root, and it is sold in health food stores. Because it is a type of cortisone, the owner should talk to their vet before giving it to their dog. If the vet gives the okay, a mix of five drops of licorice root, five drops of an herb called cat’s claw and five drops of the dandelion root can be fed to the dog once a day for two weeks.
A paste of half baking powder and half water can be put on the dry area for 15 minutes then rinsed with cool water.
A sort of dog lotion for dry skin would be one teaspoon of sesame oil, two teaspoons of aloe vera juice, 1 teaspoon of lanolin, one teaspoon of sulfur, one tablespoon of beeswax, one teaspoon of rosemary leaf oil, and a teaspoon each of shea butter and vitamin E — more information here. Melt the butter, the oils, and the wax together in a bain-marie, or warm water bath. Heat the wax until melted, then add the oil mixture.
Whisk with a handheld whisk or an immersion blender until smooth. Stir occasionally as the mixture cools down, and add the essential oils and blend them well into the mixture. Pour into a sterilized jar, and let it cool completely before putting a lid on it. Put it in the fridge. When it’s cold, massage it into the dog’s dry and itchy areas. This lotion should keep for about six weeks.