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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ask the Vet, with Dr. Pat: Easy, At-Home Treatments for Doggie Dry Skin

by Pat Bradley, DVM
Dry Skin Can Be
Easily Treated at Home
Hello Dr. Pat:

I could write 10 questions but will keep it to just one. My Ramsey, a Pitbull/Bloodhound mix (I know...a nose driven terrier. funny) has a problem with dry skin. His vet says he does not have allergies. We did tests that turned up nothing. Dr. G says he just has dry skin and offered a spray on stuff for after his baths. It was VERY expensive so I declined. Can you recommend a natural moisturizing treatment that I can make or buy for him...perhaps something not terribly pricey.

Thanks, Janice
Hi Janice,
Before I answer YOUR question, let me ask YOU one: What is the largest organ in Ramsey’s body?  (Keep reading! The answer will be revealed!)

You can make an inexpensive moisturizer for his skin by putting a tablespoon of coconut oil and a cup of water in a spray bottle.  Spritz lightly, shaking often.  (I mean shake the bottle of course, but the coconut scent will smell so much like the beach that it will make you feel like dancing!)

Common diseases like hypothyroidism can cause dry skin.  But since you said “tests turned up nothing”, I’ll assume medical conditions have been ruled out. 

What do you feed Ramsey?  Dogs who eat dry dog food often have dry skin. While we all know the advantages of buying and feeding dry dog food, one disadvantage is that the skin and coat often don’t get optimum nutrition. Paradoxically, the best moisturizers for Ramsey’s OUTSIDE are the ones you put INSIDE.   And I don’t mean spritzing coconut moisturizer down his throat.

So what can we do?  First, let’s see if you know the answer to my question:  What’s Ramsey’s largest organ?  His skin.   And it sounds like his skin could use some extra nutrition!  Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Vitamin E: one 400 IU gelcap 2 or 3 times weekly for a medium to large dog– puncture the gelcap and squeeze the oil onto his food. Use alone or with one of the other oils mentioned below.

Codliver oil: a great way to get skin-nourishing Vitamins A and D. Have you tried any lately? Some brands taste so great that my granddaughters beg for it! Nordic Naturals makes one specifically for pets. You can order it at the link, if you like.

Fish oil: Salmon oil is my favorite supplement for dogs with dry skin. And my favorite brand is Alaskan Bear Treats. I predict that Ramsey’s Bloodhound nose will declare it irresistable, and his Pit Bull half will bulldoze the way straight to his food dish.

As with any new thing, start gradually and don’t overdo it! You should start seeing a positive change within a few weeks.


Have a question for Dr. Pat? Write to

For a personal consultation about your pet's needs, visit Holistic Veterinary Services.
Dr. Pat's opinion or advice does not replace an actual exam with a veterinarian

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Anonymous said...

I have used salmon oil mixed in with my German Shepards food and has worked great not only with dry skin but with shedding the product is from Finland called Iceland pure has worked for us also with the shedding.

Anonymous said...

Our now 13 year old Golden Retriever had dry skin and patchy tummy hair in her early years, but after treating with 1000 mg. fish oil with omega 3 once a day, she quickly cleared up.

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

We had a similar situation with Xena, our Retriever mix who had dry skin most of her life. Omega Fatty acid supplements did ease it considerably. We also saw further improvement when we ended chemical lawn treatment, which appeared to exacerbate her problem. We now use natural fertilizers and pest control that doesn't irritate our pups.

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