Our dog, Tenor, has such a thick and luscious coat of fur. (He’s part Black Lab, part Great Pyrenees, but he mostly just looks like your average Labrador Retriever.)
His skin and coat weren’t always in such great shape, though. In fact, a few months ago he had dry, flaky, itchy skin so bad that we thought he had an incurable skin disease!
Here’s what the vet recommended. And it worked like a charm!
One Option: Antibiotics
The first time we noticed the dog’s dry skin, we probably waited a bit too long to take him to the vet.
Against our better judgment, we tried an over-the-counter remedy first. It was a spray-on leave-in conditioner specifically made for a dog’s dry skin. After a few days of that and no change, we ended up taking him to the vet for something better. (The dog smelled wonderful, but you could still see lots of small white flakes on his pitch-black coat of thick fur.)
In fact, by the time we took him to the vet, his skin problem had turned kind of scabby and itchy. NOT a good sign.
At this point, it was most important that we clear up the itchy and scabby spots on his skin, so he recommended a 10-day dose of antibiotics (Cephalexin). That worked like a charm. Within 2 days, the flaky skin was pretty much gone.
But the vet had warned us… if Tenor’s dry skin was in fact due to allergies, then it would likely return. The trick then would be to selectively test a variety of foods, products, environments to determine what exactly he was allergic to. (That didn’t sound like fun!!!)
Here’s how to conduct a cheap food trial for dog allergies.
Another Option: Olive Oil
A month or so later, Tenor’s dry skin had reappeared. It wasn’t as bad as the first time — just random flakes here and there.
The vet said before we go through all the tests for allergies, let’s try a simple home remedy first: Olive Oil.
He said to pour a tablespoon or so of Olive Oil right on his food 2 to 3 times each week, and see how that worked. We did it, and boy, did his coat get thick and shiny and flake-free in no time!
I can’t recommend this stuff enough! Tenor loves it, too. It reminds me of the days when we used to add doggie gravy to his dry dog food. It was always a special treat. Now, the Olive Oil is his special treat at feeding time.
I’d have to say the best home remedy for a dog’s dry, itchy flaky skin is plain and simple Olive Oil.
UPDATE: It’s been 6 years now, and we’re still adding the Olive Oil to my dog’s food. The only change: we’re adding it to his food every single day now. I keep a squeezable condiment bottle filled with Olive Oil near his dog food bowl. I squirt enough Olive Oil to lightly coat the top of his food each time we fill up the bowl. We’ve been doing it this way for the past 2 years. No complaints. And no more dry skin! His coat is also much thicker and shinier since we’ve started adding the Olive Oil to his food.
Why Dogs Get Dry Itchy Skin
The vet said most likely our dog’s dry skin is simply due to dry air inside the house — especially since we have gas heat.
He said dogs that spend a lot of time indoors during the winter months tend to get mild skin conditions like this. It’s (usually) no big deal. And Olive Oil will typically remedy the situation throughout the entire winter season.
A good old-fashioned air humidifier would also help to remedy dry skin — for both you and your dog!
IMPORTANT: If your dog has dry flaky skin — and it persists — then then be sure to discuss it with your own veterinarian. Olive Oil won’t cure everything!
To Give You An Idea Just How Well The Olive Oil Works…
We left Tenor at a dog boarding kennel last weekend, while we went out of town for a wedding. And naturally, they didn’t add anything to his dog food during his 3-day stay there. (I suppose if I’d asked them to, they would have.)
When we picked him up at the kennel, the first thing we noticed was how dry and flaky his skin was.
So now he’s back on the Olive Oil, and he’s loving it. And his coat looks great again. It works really quickly!
Here are 5 natural home remedies for dog dry skin.
Just For Laughs
Yeah well, his skin and coat may be great, but he needs a little help controlling his drool sometimes. Ah but that’s a whole ‘nother issue…
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).