Your dog’s flaky skin can sometimes be a first symptom in a serious illness such as mange and Cushing’s disease. In other cases, flaky skin is caused by something quite easy to treat, such as dry skin or canine dandruff. You can attempt home remedies in alleviating your dog’s flaky skin. However, if the condition doesn’t improve quickly with home treatment or if the flaky skin is accompanied by other symptoms, you should take your pet to a veterinarian.
Various types of baths may help to alleviate your dog’s flaky skin. Oatmeal baths are one of the most popular and most effective in soothing irritated skin, especially in the winter when the flakiness is caused by dry skin. However, you shouldn’t bathe your dog more often than once every two weeks unless your dog’s veterinarian instructs you otherwise. Giving your dog too many baths will strip the skin of its natural oils and cause it to dry out even more.
Adding a humidifier to the room in which your dog spends most of his or her time can be helpful in alleviating the dryness that leads to flaky skin. If you don’t own a humidifier, you can run a hot shower and let your dog stay in the steamy bathroom for a half hour or so to get the benefits of higher humidity.
Adding some oils and other supplement to your pet’s diet may also help to correct dry, flaky skin. Be careful not to add too much; oils can cause diarrhea if the dog is given a large amount at one time. Olive oil, fish oil and other sources of omega- 3 fatty acids are sometimes effective in helping to alleviate dry skin in dogs.
Olive oil can also be useful as a topical remedy. Try massaging a bit of olive oil onto your dog’s skin once a day to cure the dryness. Veterinarians often recommend Avon's Skin So Soft Oil for dogs with dry skin. Dilute one tablespoon of the Skin-So-Soft oil in one gallon of water, and use it as a rinse at the end of your dog’s bath.
As part of a home treatment for your dog’s flaky skin, consider making some changes to the food you provide for him or her and the way you groom your pet. Nutrition plays a large role in the appearance of a dog’s coat and skin. Feed your dog a high-quality pet food or consider changing to a homemade diet. Also look at the shampoos and other products you’re using to keep your pet clean and pest free. If any of these contain harsh chemicals, of if you are using them too often, you might consider making changes in these areas.
Bethney Foster is social justice coordinator for Mercy Junction ministry, where she edits the monthly publication "Holy Heretic." She is also an adoption coordinator with a pet rescue agency. Foster spent nearly two decades as a newspaper reporter/editor. She graduated from Campbellsville University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, journalism and political science.