reposted fromJen Jelly
A few years back my boyfriend made a remark about Laika's skin and how shiny and smooth it was. He said "she doesn't have dry, flaky skin like a lot of other dogs." It's true, she didn't. For the first few years she had the shiniest, healthiest coat I've seen - this winter changed all that.

Numerous Reasons for a Dogs Dry Skin

Many dogs experience dry or flaky skin throughout their life. Figuring out what's causing your dogs dry skin is the first step, and a vet visit is recommended because figuring out the underlying problem isn't always simple. The mostcommon causesfor a dogs dry skin are:
  • Allergies - both food & seasonal
  • Fleas
  • Ringworm
  • Skin Infections
  • Mange
  • Sensitivity to grooming products
  • Stress or Hormonal changes
Luckily for Laika it wasn't her food or an infection; our vet thinks it's related to winter. Just like us our dogs can get dry, flaky skin during winter.

We Went With a Simple Solution First

If I could create more humidity in winter I would, my dog and I would be itching mush less. Since I'm not mother nature I had to find a backup plan. There are somany recommendationsout there for treating a dogs dry skin. Since I didn't have any advanced formula shampoos, nor anysalmon or coconut oilon hand I started with something I did have - some extra virginolive oil. I started adding a few drops to Laika's food to see what would happen. I wasn't expecting much from a few drops but it was worthy trying. If it didn't improve her skin at least she was getting more omega 3 fatty acids andpolyphenols.
Fatty acids are crucial to a healthy body; both inside and out. As many commercial pet foods are very low in beneficial fatty acids, a high quality pet supplement is necessary for most pets to avoid skin and hair coat problems and achieve their optimal health. -Dr. Donna SpectorDVM, DACVIM
Much to my surprise it did work, and although her skin isn't quite as shiny as it was a few years ago the flakes are gone. And she's itchinga lot less.

Dramatization of Laika's dry, flaky skin - the drool icicle was her idea.

How Much Olive Oil Should You Give Your Dog?

The general rule of thumb is to add about 5 or 6 drops to your dogs food twice a day. Although I've read a few articles that recommend much more I started with 6 drops twice a day and it worked well. If you give your dog more than 10 drops at once, which is approximately 1/2 tbsp., your dog may develop diarrhea. There's aren't any health risks known to be associated with adding a little bit of olive oil to your dogs diet. If your dog needs to lose a few pounds you might want to consider an alternative; one tablespoon of olive oil contains about 120 calories. Some owners choose to apply olive oil directly to their dogs skin and fur. Since that sounded rather messy I stuck with the food route.

Can Olive Oil Really Help Your Dogs Dry Skin?

Olive oil definitely made a difference in my dogs itchy and dry skin. Within a week I noticed a difference and by week two her coat and skin were back to normal. Granted she only had a mild case of winter skin, but it certainly did the job. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin E, and has been linked to promoting cardiovascular health. So even if my little experiment hadn't worked on her skin I was sure she'd be gaining other health benefits from the addition. If you find your dog getting a little dry this winter help ease his itching with a few drops of olive oil.

Additional Resources/Dry Skin Remedies

What Home Remedies Do You Recommend for Dry Skin?

I'm impressed with olive oil but after much research it seems most pet owners recommend coconut oil. What have found that helps ease your pets dry skin? I might have to buy a bottle of coconut oil to try it out - if it doesn't work out I'll end up making some yummy smoothies instead. I don't think I lose either way.
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