Many dogs develop dry skin from time to time. While it's important to find out what's causing the dryness, a little olive oil can help ease the discomfort and provide some much-needed moisturization.
Supplement Your Dog With Olive Oil
There are many reasons a dog develops dry skin. Sometimes it's due to an underlying illness, other times it may be due to the seasonal climate. It can even be caused by a dietary deficiency. Dry skin isn't difficult to spot; it tends to look pale and a little parched or flaky. In comparison, healthy skin glistens slightly, and there are no flakes of skin on the scalp or in the fur.
Olive oil offers a safe, natural solution for dry skin. In Natural Dog, author and veterinarian Deva Khalsa recommends feeding dogs cold-pressed virgin olive oil because the fatty acid and vitamin E content can help keep their skin moisturized. She recommends adding anywhere from one teaspoon to one tablespoon of oil to your pet's food daily. The amount you use depends on your dog's size and how dry his skin is, so it's best to consult your vet about the correct amount to feed your dog. Giving him too much could cause loose stools.
Using Olive Oil as a Topical Moisturizer
For extra fast relief, you can apply olive oil directly to your pet's skin because it penetrates deeply to moisturize. Vet Info recommends adding five to ten drops of oil to approximately one cup of water, and then using your hands to massage the mixture into your pet's skin wherever it looks dry. It's also a good idea to wipe the excess oil off his coat with some paper towel. You can use this treatment as often as once per day until your dog's skin looks healthy again. After that, occasional treatments should be sufficient to keep his skin moisturized.
When to Avoid Using Olive Oil
Using olive oil directly on your dog's skin can be good for him, but there is one situation where you want to avoid it. According to Dr. Jane Laura Doyle in an article published at Dogs Naturally, you shouldn't use olive oil on your pet's skin if he has any open sores or wounds. This is because the oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and she feels it can interfere with the body's natural healing process. You can still apply the oil to provide relief for his dry skin in other areas; just avoid applying oil any place his scratching has broken the skin.
Consult Your Vet
A little dry skin may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes it's a sign of something more serious. This is especially true if feeding olive oil or applying it to your dog's skin doesn't have the desired effect. According to Vet Info, some of the underlying health conditions that produce dry skin as a symptom include:
- Liver problems
- Thyroid problems
- Autoimmune disorders
If your dog's skin doesn't improve and he develops hair loss or any other unusual symptoms, you should have your vet examine him to diagnose the root cause of the condition and make sure he receives proper treatment.
Check Your Dog's Skin Regularly
Dry skin is easier to deal with if you treat it when you first notice it. Brush through your pet's fur at least once a week to look for scaly skin and flakes, and begin using olive oil right away as needed. If your pet has frequent bouts of dry skin, ask your vet to help you figure out why.