Skin Health 101
Healthy skin is just as important to your dog as your skin health is to you. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from a wide variety of skin conditions — from infections and parasites to dandruff and dry skin. For dog lovers, nothing is better than running your fingers through your pup’s soft, clean coat — and it starts with the skin. Follow these simple tips to keep your dog’s skin clean and healthy.
Watch the diet! Read labels on dog food and educate yourself on a proper canine diet. Kibble is dry food that is generally more difficult to digest than wet food. Foods high in carbohydrates, especially grains can naturally dry out your dog’s skin, cause dander and exacerbate odors. Fresh and raw diets are gaining huge popularity among educated pet parents and professionals because the diet matches the biology of what our canine companions require. Raw diets are higher in moisture and provide essential oils, vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats that keep your pooch’s skin soft and healthy.
Supplement! Almost any diet will require supplements, which can vary for each individual dog — and skin supplements are essential. Fatty acids such as fish oil are highly recommended from both veterinarians and pet nutritionists to keep a dog’s skin moisturized from the inside out. Other oils that also benefit a dog’s skin and help combat poor skin conditions are coconut oil, flax seed oil and even hemp oil. You can easily mix these oils in with your dog’s food or let him lick it off a spoon as a treat. Dogs love the flavor.
A brush a day will keep skin issues at bay. Many dogs, especially those with shorter coats don’t need a full brush every single day, but using a soft bristle brush or rubber comb will knock out any loose fur, debris and gently massage your dog’s skin. When your dog’s skin is massaged, it helps the natural oil production keep the skin healthy. As a bonus, his muscles appreciate the massage, too. Double coated dogs do well with a slicker or wire bristle brush to prevent matting and tangles which can lead to many complications such as: skin tearing, fungal and bacterial infections, or mite, lice, tick or flea infestations. When you’re brushing daily, you are also paying more attention and able to catch any issues before they become full blown medical problems.
Choose the right bathing products! If your dog has healthy skin, he doesn’t need medicated shampoo. If your dog has dry skin, he will most likely benefit from a shampoo or doggy soap that has shea butter, oatmeal or other naturally moisturizing ingredients in it. Use a conditioning spray every other time you brush through your dog’s coat to keep the fur healthy and his skin clean and supple. Never use human products on dogs — the pH balance is wrong for them. The wrong products can cause problems that neither you or your dog needs!