Happiness is having a scratch for every itch – Ogden Nash
You know those Head & Shoulders commercials where the dashing man in the black suit has to brush the dandruff off his shoulders?
Or the girl, who’s at a fancy restaurant dinner, is suddenly pretending that she dropped her napkin so that she can scratch her scalp on the corner of the table?
Well, if there was one for dogs, mine would be the star. Porter, as you know, is all black. And his skin is very sensitive. So sensitive, that when we first got him we had to condition his skin to get used to wearing a collar. His neck would be rubbed raw just from simply having it on for more than a few hours.
So, when the winter hits, all bets are off. He doesn’t end up looking like a black dog, because now he has patches of dusty white where his skin is too dry. He gets itchy and uncomfortable.
This isn’t anything new to us. Most of us have a hard time with dry skin in the winter. It itches, it hurts, it cracks and it’s zero fun.
So here are a few tips on how to help your pup’s skin this winter if you’re facing the issue of dry skin:
Good Quality Shampoo
If your dog goes to the dog park or decides he needs to roll around in the mud (we’re hoping that it’s mud …we’re going to go with that it was just mud) you may feel the need to give him a bath after his lovely adventures. If you do, make sure you’re using a good quality dog shampoo. Check to see if it will help moisturize the skin. If you’re not into spending a lot of money on dog shampoo, Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo works well too and won’t dry out the skin too much.
Grab a Humidifier
So, we’re going to pretend this is for your dog, but really it’s for both of you. You can find reasonably priced humidifiers online. We have ours set up in the bedroom where Porter sleeps with us at night. This helps put some moisture back into the air and will help your skin out along with your dog’s. 2 for 1 deal!
You can give your dog some Olive Oil with his food 2 to 3 times a week. Start with about a ¼ of a teaspoon at first to slowly introduce your dog to this new additive. You can slowly increase it and if you have a large dog you can get up to 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil. Don’t start out with a lot first. Go slowly and then gradually increase it. When you can start to see the difference, then just stick with that amount.
Coconut Oil has the same premise as Olive Oil, but it has some added benefits. It helps with digestion and it could help prevent diseases down the line. Most importantly though, if you ask Porter, the best benefit is that it tastes amazing. When first giving Coconut Oil to your dog, start with a very small amount with their food. I started with less than ¼ of a tspn for Porter. I slowly worked my way up to ¼ tspn and now we’re at about 1 tspn. Which for him is plenty.
Again, start off slow so that you can make sure their stomach is okay with the new additive. Every dog is different. If there seems to be an issue, then stop using either of the Oils.
You can add this to their food 2 to 3 times a week just like the Olive Oil. Now, a disclaimer for all of you who haven’t tried Coconut Oil yet: It’s a solid. You can add it to your dog’s food as a solid if you’d like or melt it down to a liquid.
You can also use the Coconut Oil on your dry skin too. Just rub it in! Another 2 for 1 deal!
If you’re using enrichment feeders during meal time for your dog, first of all you’re awesome, secondly you can either drizzle the Oil over the food before it goes into your enrichment feeder of choice, or you can pull a small amount of food out of the enrichment feeder and let them eat that on their own with the new additive. The rest of the food would be in the enrichment feeder. You could even be an awesome owner and let them eat the small batch of food with the Oil on it as a little treat or snack.
If you have any more tips or helpful hints please feel free to share! These are just some of the things I have taken advantage of to help out Porter. If your dog’s skin is extremely dry and they seem to be in any discomfort then it’s time for a vet visit. Use your best judgement!
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH