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How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: November 21, 2017
How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin

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With all the fur our four legged companions can have, especially long haired breeds like the Afghan Hound, it can be easy to forget dogs have skin at all. Like our own heads of hair, it is the skin underneath which affects the quality of hair as much as our hair itself. Most dogs have fur all over their bodies, so it can sometimes be difficult to see the condition of the skin underneath. This is unless the skin has become so dry and damaged, your poor pup starts losing its fur. If you think your dog has a skin condition, then a trip to the vet is necessary. If a disease has been ruled out, you will need to find ways of how to moisturize your dog's skin. Fortunately AnimalWised has you covered with these ideas to keep your pet's skin healthy and your dog happy.

You may also be interested in: Why Does My Dog Have Irritated Skin?

Appropriate diet

Our first piece of advice in caring for your dog's skin is to know that healthy skin comes from within as much as without. If your dog has been eating a poor diet, too many treats or things they shouldn't be eating, then they may end up with bad skin. A lack of nutrients will affect the dog's overall health and poor skin, shedding and moulting are all signs of a deficiency.

However, sometimes your dog is generally eating well, but needs a little boost to help give them the natural oils which keep skin hydrated. Essential fatty acids help to keep the dog's coat and skin healthy. They include linoleic acid, omega-3 and linolenic acid. They can be found in different supplements you can add to your dog's normal food. Fish oils are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, so ask your vet about the best option.

There are special dog foods which can be purchased to provide these for your pooch. They will have these nutrients added, but are often more expensive. You can buy it and use until your dog's skin improves and then return to a more affordable option. You can also provide some vegetable snacks for your dog to help provide the right nutrients. Carrots, sweet potatoes and squash will all help bring your dog's skin back to health.

How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin - Appropriate diet

Stimulating your dog's skin

Petting your pets is a wonderful practice for dog owners. It can be very relaxing and it helps you to feel close to your furry friend, not to mention the pleasant physical sensation. Fortunately, this is one of those pastimes which is mutually beneficial for you and your pet. Dogs not only enjoy the physical act, feeling cuddled and close to you, but their skin benefits from it also.

How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin - Stimulating your dog's skin

Protection from the cold

If you notice that your dog is trembling on particularly cold days, then it is likely their natural fur coat isn't enough to keep them warm. You will need to find a way to provide them with enough exercise, but also keep them warm doing so. This might mean investing in a dog coat which can be purchased from most pet stores.

By keeping your dog warm, you are protecting their epidermis (outer layer of skin) from the cold. Doing so will prevent the skin becoming dry and flaky, often resulting in a painful sensation or even cracked skin for your dog. The dog coats will also protect their skin from harsh winds and wet weather.

Bear in mind that some dogs shake for other reasons, such as Greyhounds and Yorkies, so don't assume it is the cold right away. Also, age and emotional state might be the route cause of your dog shaking.

How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin - Protection from the cold

Special shampoo for dogs with dry skin

While we might think we are benefiting our dog's skin by giving them a wash, doing so with the wrong product can make bad skin worse. Dogs, like us, can have allergies and being allergic to particular hygiene products is common. Also, if we over-wash our pets we can end up washing away the natural hydrating oils which should be present.

If you think this is what is leading to your dog's dry and sore skin, then you need to invest in a special medicated shampoo which is designed to mositurize skin. We also have some ideas for natural products to bathe your dog which might be just as suitable.

How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin - Special shampoo for dogs with dry skin

Conditioner for dogs with dry skin

The same as when we wash our own hair, shampooing can leave a dog with skin dryness, even with a good shampoo. If this is the case, you should consider conditioning your dog's fur after they have had a wash. These are special conditioners which provide extra hydration to your dog and can make sure their skin is protected from the elements. They can also help stimulate production of these natural oils which keep your dog's skin healthy.

How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin - Conditioner for dogs with dry skin

Regular care of your dog's coat

If you are a dog owner, you should already know the importance of keeping good care of your dog's coat. It will not only keep your home free of annoying stray hairs, but it will greatly benefit your dog's overall health. Different dog breeds need to be groomed more or less often.

Check with your vet the type and frequency of grooming required for your particular pet. This will stop their fur from being entangled, dirty and of such a poor condition that it can damage their skin. You will likely be able to see the presence of dandruff when grooming and also get a better view of the dog's skin condition.

Brushing your dog's coat will also be good for checking other issues. Dry skin can be caused by insect or fungal infestation. Look at the quality of your dog's skin and see if you need a vet's visit. It can also help prevent certain diseases such as Lyme disease caused by ticks.

How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin - Regular care of your dog's coat

Olive oil on affected areas

If you are wary of some of the medicated oils and lotions which are prescribed and sold for your dog, there are alternatives. Olive oil is a great natural product which won't hurt your dog if ingested, but can help keep your dog's skin moisturized and prevent cracks. You should only put it on the affected areas and it won't be useful if your dog has cracked or dry skin all over their body (if this is the case, you need to go to a vet immediately). This won't help the dog and it won't be good for your walls and soft furnishings either.

How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin - Olive oil on affected areas

Fresh water

One of the reasons your dog might have poor skin condition is because it is dehydrated. Making sure your dog has sufficient fresh water to drink can make all the difference. You can also add some essential nutrient supplements to the water to make it even more healthful. If your find your dog has dry skin in the summer, then the added heat might mean they need better hydration.

How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin - Fresh water

Limit their sun exposure

The sun is necessary for all life and, just like humans, we need sun to get certain vitamins and feel its benefits. However, overexposure to the sun can be detrimental to both our and our dog's skin. Excessive sun exposure can cause sunburn and irritation, especially when your dog's coat might be thinner thanks to summer shedding.

If you have a hairless dog breed, then you need extra protection. You can purchase special sunscreen for dogs and use this in the summer months. This is important as dogs can also develop skin cancer just as we can.

How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin - Limit their sun exposure

Consult a veterinarian

Each skin problem might have a different cause or treatment. The best advice you will get will be by going to the vet and asking their opinion. They will be able to recommend the best course of treatment and suggest some ideas from dry skin prevention also.

How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin - Consult a veterinarian

If you want to read similar articles to How to Moisturize My Dog's Skin, we recommend you visit our Skin care category.

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