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 SkinMany 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
- Skin Infections
- Sensitivity to grooming products
- Stress or Hormonal changes
We Went With a Simple Solution FirstIf 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, DACVIMMuch 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.
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
- Omega Fatty Acids- Sources, Effects, and Therapeutic Uses for Dogs
- Coconut oil- The Kitchen Staple May Be Perfect For Your Pet's Skin
- Dog Nutritionfor a Healthy Coat (Fatty Acids)
- The Benefitsof Fish Oil to Your Dog's Health
- Coconut Oil for Dogs- Coconutty Goodness
- The Coconut OilExperiment