The best thing to add to your dog’s food for dry skin is a healthy oil. The four best oils for dry skin are coconut, olive, fish, and krill. Start by pouring a small amount over their food. Too much oil in one sitting can cause severe digestive issues.
There goes Fido again. He keeps scratching and itching at his skin. You have already checked for the usual suspects that cause the itching (fleas and ticks), but you didn’t find anything. If your dog is itching but doesn’t have fleas, there’s a good chance they have dry skin.
The good news is there are plenty of items that you can add to dog food that will help with the dryness and shedding. Before going over what to add to your dog’s food to help their dry skin, it’s essential to understand why your dog has dry skin in the first place.
How to Know If Your Dog Has Dry Skin
The most common symptoms of dry skin are fairly obvious:
- Excessive itchiness
- Hair loss
- Bumps on the skin
Some dogs may only experience one of those symptoms, others may experience them all. One thing is for sure, if your dog is constantly scratching their skin, something is wrong!
What Causes Dry Skin on Dogs?
To find a solution to your four-legged friend’s skin problem, we must understand why this occurs.
Just like humans, there are many reasons why your dog can be experiencing dry skin. One of the most common reasons is allergies. Like their human counterparts, dogs can also get allergies from their food, environment, or the seasons.
These allergies can cause dry skin, itchiness, and inflammation, causing significant discomfort for your dog.
Other possible causes of dry skin include infections, cold weather, or harsh soaps. There are hypoallergenic shampoos or sensitive shampoos that target dry skin during bath time. You can find these at your local pet store.
Your dog may also be prone to dry skin due to their breed. If you believe that your dog is prone to dry skin, you may want to consult with your veterinarian for a solution.
What Role Does Nutrition Play in Skin Health?
Nutrition plays a significant role in the health of your dog’s skin. Your four-legged may be lacking some essential nutrients in their diet that cause their dry skin. But even if your dog isn’t lacking any nutrients, adding certain foods to their diet can help moisturize the skin.
Add These To Your Dogs Food
Your dog might have dry skin because they’re lacking rich fats in their diet. Below are several dog-friendly high-fat oils that you can add to your dog’s diet, helping keep the skin from becoming too dry. The good news is that you probably already have most of these items in your pantry!
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs). You’ve probably heard all about the health benefits of coconut oil. Those benefits are primarily due to the MCT.
You can start by adding a tablespoon of coconut oil per 30 lbs body weight to your dog’s diet. We highly suggest testing different brands and types of coconut oils for your dog to find the best match.
If the coconut oil is working, you should notice that your dog’s skin is more moisturized and that their coat looks much shinier.
Some other health benefits that coconut oil can provide for your dog are weight loss, improved energy, and fresh breath!
Who wouldn’t want that?
Just about everyone has olive oil in their kitchen cabinet. We all know the rich properties benefit humans, but it has been proven that they have health benefits for dogs as well.
Olive oil is an inexpensive but rich oil that is filled with vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. You would want to add about half a tablespoon to your dog’s meals once to twice a day.
By adding this to their diet, it will prevent them from experiencing dry skin and flakiness or heal their already tender skin.
Not only is olive oil good for your dog’s skin health, but it also boosts your dog’s immune health and brain activity.
Fish oil has become a health phenomenon for humans and has now made its way into dog nutrition.
Fish oil is another excellent solution for your four-legged friend’s coat if given safely and under proper guidelines.
One reason why fish oil is excellent for your dog’s skin and coat is its high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s are usually lacking in many dog’s daily diets.
When introducing fish oil (or any oil) into your dog’s diet, we suggest adding it gradually. Since this is a more finicky oil than coconut oil and olive oil, we recommend consulting this with your veterinarian.
The vet will be able to provide you with the correct dosage that your dog should take. Apart from promoting healthy skin and coat, fish oil has other health benefits that range from healthier joints to increased brain activity.
Krill oil may not be readily available in your cabinet like coconut oil or olive oil, but this is another excellent solution to consider when talking about your dog’s skin and coat health.
Like fish oil, krill oil has a high content of omega-3s. Fish oil is derived from fish, while krill oil is derived from tiny crustaceans from the bottom feeder family.
Apart from a better-looking coat, some benefits of krill oil are increased brain activity, reduced inflammation, and prevented heart conditions.
Flaxseed oil can be found at your local health store and can prove to be a very beneficial addition to your four-legged friend’s diet.
This oil is packed with Omega-3s. This can improve your dog’s skin and coat health and prevent any discomfort in the future.
Not only is this oil beneficial to your dog’s skin, but it is also very healthy for their joints, immune system, and digestion.
If you cannot find any flaxseed oil, you can add ground flaxseeds to your dog’s meals instead.
We do not recommend feeding your dog whole flaxseeds as it will usually just pass through them. This will not provide them any nutritional benefits that grounded flaxseeds or flaxseed oils will provide them.
Add One Item To Your Dogs Food
With so many choices, we suggest you pick one oil and add it to your dog’s diet for about a week. After that week, examine their skin and see if there have been any improvements. Don’t test all the oils out at once. Not only would that be way too much fat for your dog, but you wouldn’t know which oil is producing the results.
The Importance of Water
At the risk of stating the obvious, water is essential to the overall health of your dog. Water is also essential in keeping the skin hydrated. Dehydrated skin equals dry skin. The truth is, most domesticated dogs aren’t drinking nearly enough water.
Dogs out in the wild are much more active and are out in the sun all day. This forces them to drink plenty of water. Domesticated dogs typically spend all day inside and don’t have to hunt down their food. Because of the lack of activity and sun exposure, domesticated dogs don’t drink much water.
The best way to get your dog to drink more water is to add some flavor. There are a lot of flavor additives that are specifically for dogs. Most of these additives will also contain vitamins and minerals that will add to your dog’s hydration.
If flavored water doesn’t work, no dog can resist the temptation of chicken broth!
Is it Better to Switch Foods?
If you’re wondering whether it’s better to add oils to your dog’s current food or switch to a different food designed for dry skin, there is no “correct” answer. Both these solutions come with pros and cons.
The biggest con that comes with switching foods is that you don’t know how your dog’s digestive system will respond to the new food. For all you know, it may end up giving your dog diarrhea.
The other downside is that foods designed specifically for dry skin tend to be a lot more expensive.
On the other hand, switching dog food is much easier than worrying about pouring a small amount of oil over your dog’s food each time you feed them.
If you want to switch food, our advice would be to do it slowly. For the first week, start by combining 75% of their current kibble with 25% of the new kibble. Each week, add 25% of their new food and take away 25% of the old food.
Within a week or two, you’ll know how well their digestive system is handling the switch.
Your dog’s nutrition correlates to his skin, coat, eyes, etc. Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure that your dog is getting the right amount and proper nutrients in their daily diet. If you are unsure of any of the suggestions discussed in this article, reach out to your vet to seek advice.
By adding one of these oils to your dog’s diet, we hope that Fido’s skin and coat health thrives and flourishes. No more itches means a happier pup. A happier pup means a happy owner!
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.