The skin of your dog serves an important function. The coat of your dog provides warmth for your dog, helps him regulate body temperature, offers protection against the environment, and provides and enhances sensation.
Your dog’s skin is a great indicator of the overall health of your pooch. With that in mind, let’s talk about how to improve your dog’s skin.
Keeping your dog looking fabulous is a good way to make sure your dog is healthy. And of course, make sure your dog is famed for his good looks whenever you take a stroll through the neighborhood.
Why your dog might have skin problems?
There are many reasons why your dog might be experiencing coat and skin problems. Skin conditions are common among puppies. And sometimes, it might be hard to find the cause of the skin issue because of the complex interaction between different layers of skin.
With that in mind, here are some of the main causes of skin issues among dogs:
- Consuming food with poor and low-quality ingredients
- Failure to properly groom your dog’s coat
- Lack of omega fatty acids in the diet
- Naturally dry skin
- Naturally oily skin
- Using human products on your dog’s skin
- Over bathing
- Under bathing
- Emotional concerns
Tips for proper skin health
Provide proteins in your dog’s diet
Protein is one of the most important ingredients for your dog’s diet. Not only it gives your dog energy, helps him build muscles, it also provides nourishment for the skin. Low-quality foods usually lack protein, and they are filled with carbs and fats that do not provide nutrients for the skin of your dog.
Your dog’s coat is made of more than 90% protein, meaning he needs lots of it for healthy skin. Look for high-quality foods that have protein as the first ingredient. And of course, natural protein, not leftovers or byproducts.
Avoid food that has a high amount of grains, byproducts, or similar as the first ingredient.
Good quality protein sources include chicken, turkey, lamb, or salmon. Just remember, chicken meal is not chicken. When you see “meal” in the ingredients list, that is usually a waste product of meat.
Provide omega fatty acids
Same as humans, dogs need their omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega acids have anti-inflammatory properties, ensuring proper health of your dog’s skin.
One way to ensure your dog gets enough omega acids is to look for foods that contain fish, fish oil, or flaxseed oil. Or, you can add some fish to your dog’s diet. Make sure to cook the fish before giving it to your dog. And of course, you want boneless fish, as bones can be a potential choking hazard for your dog.
Another option is to stir one teaspoon of flaxseed oil or fish oil into your dog’s food. Just do not add both oils, as that would be too much, and it can upset your puppy’s stomach.
For omega-6 fatty acids, you can try some supplements, or look the ingredient in treats. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in your dog’s skin health. Lack of any of these acids can lead to dry skin, hair loss, and irritation of the skin.
Give healthy treats
We touched a bit on the topic of treats before. A general rule of thumb is that treats are great, but you should not go overboard. The major rule is 90/10, meaning just 10% of your dog’s diet should come for treats.
Also, make sure the treats you give to your dog are healthy. You can try using natural and organic products as treats, including carrots, apples, and some fish meat or chicken meat.
Do not forger brushing
Regular brushing is a must for healthy skin. Your dog sheds on a regular basis. Same as humans, dogs have a hair growth cycle. Brushing is also important to spread the natural oils on your dog’s skin and make sure the coat looks glossy. Brushing will help you keep the skin of your dog in peak condition.
How often should you brush your dog? Well, it depends on a lot of factors, including breed, environment, active time and more.
Generally speaking, try to brush your dog at least once per week. Even if your dog goes to a professional groomer, make sure to schedule brushing sessions between the two of you. Bonus: brushing is a great way to spend quality time and bond with your puppy.
Grooming and bathing
Some people groom their dog at home, others go to a professional. Usually, people with larger dog breeds go to a professional, as it is too much hassle to do it at home. Speaking of grooming, you should schedule regular visits.
Talk to your groomer about the frequency. Every dog is different, and the same as brushing, it depends on a number of factors. Those include the type of fur, length of the coat, and how dirty your dog gets.
Dogs with an oil coat usually need more frequent grooming. Short-haired breeds with smooth coat do fine with less frequent baths. Breeds that have a water-repellent coat, for example, the Golden Retriever, requires less frequent baths to preserve his natural oils.
With that in mind, the general rule of thumb is once per month. Some people might be tempted to wash their dog once per week. But that is a mistake. Bathing your dog too often can make your dog’s coat dull and worse.
Last, but not least, try to provide alternative natural products for bathing and grooming that will not cause any irritation.
Protect against the sun
Excessive sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Same as humans, dogs suffer from sun exposure as well. Nowadays, there are pet sunscreen products that come with a minimum of SPF 15 protection factor.
If you spend a lot of time in the sun, you should get some of these products.
Also, protect your dog against sand, sea, and chlorine, all of which can be damaging to your dog’s skin. Yes, your dog might love to jump in the sea, but do not let him stay in water for long hours.
Massage your dog
You will be surprised, but there are pet massages for everything. For example, you can massage your dog to help him cope with depression. In any case, pet massage is a great stress relief for your dog, but for you as well.
Massages increase blood flow to specific areas of the body, including the skin. And as the blood flow increases, more nutrients are carried to the area.
Look into canine massage tutorials to learn how to help your dog. Or if you like, call a canine massage therapist and professional.
Soothe your dog’s dry and itchy skin with an oatmeal bath
Oatmeal bath works wonderfully for people with dry and itchy skin. And it works for your furry friend as well. Grind oatmeal in a blender or food processor until you get a flour-like consistency.
Fill a tub with lukewarm water, and add the powder into it. Stir until the water gets cloudy. Put your dog in the bath, allow him to soak for five to ten minutes, and then rinse off.
Do not use human products
This should be a no-brainer, but we feel we have to tell it. Human products are designed for humans. Dog products are designed for dogs. The natural pH of a dog’s skin is between 6.5 and 7.5. For comparison, the natural pH of human’s skin is 5.5. That means that you have to use different products.
Humans have more acidic pH value, while dogs have a neutral pH value. Therefore, it is crucial that you use products that are suitable for his skin. Make sure the shampoo is free from artificial ingredients and additives, and you will be fine.