Skin disease is one of the most common reasons dog owners seek veterinary care, and one of the biggest complaints we hear about is dry, flaky skin causing dandruff.
Healthy skin has an oily component to it – this helps keep the skin supple and waterproof. By keeping the skin healthy, it can heal minor scratches quicker and easier.
If your pet has flaky skin, there are several things that you can do at home with your pet to keep the skin and coat healthy.
Bathe your pet too often…By bathing your pet more often than once a month, the oils and “good bacteria” are stripped, leaving the skin even drier than before.
Brush your pet’s coat. By brushing regularly you promote production of normal oils, remove any dead hairs, and stop the hair from matting.
Apply fish oils topically…As a general rule, applying oils to the coat of your pet is not the most effective delivery method. All it will do is make the coat greasy and more prone to plugged follicle and hair matts. However, there are some products that are designed to be used topically. Read the product directions carefully.
Feed a good quality diet…Good health starts with a good food, with all the nutrients properly balanced. You can also supplement the food with fish oils and other products high in omega fatty acids. These can be found at veterinary clinics, pet food stores, and health stores. If you give a supplement in capsule form, the entire capsule must be eaten whole. It cannot be squirted on the food or chewed by the pet. The capsule needs to make it through the harsh stomach juices intact, so that it can break down and be absorbed in the intestines.
Ensure that you comb out any tangles before the hair gets wet. Once a knot is wet, it’s nearly impossible to comb out without causing significant discomfort to your pet.
Use a human shampoo. Human shampoos are designed to strip the oils from the scalp, while pet shampoos will keep the right amount of oil on the skin.
Use a pet shampoo with the corresponding conditioner. A veterinarian may have recommended a prescription shampoo, in which case a regular conditioner may not be appropriate.
If you have further concerns regarding your pet, please contact your veterinarian, as your pet could have an underlying medical condition.