Dog dry skin creates a lot of discomfort for your dog.
Dry skin can become inflamed and gets intensely itchy. Some dogs are so badly affected, they lose interest in play, and become rather depressed.
Bathing can be a quick way to ease some of your dog’s discomfort. Whilst a bath is not a cure for skin diseases, it can certainly provide some relief to symptoms of dry skin when done correctly.
You still need to consult a vet to address the skin problem for cases like: allergies, parasites, or an underlying medical condition.
Here are the bathing tips for your dog with dry, itchy skin.
1. Brush And De-mat
Always brush and de-mat any tangled hair before bathing your dog. Matted hair can be brushed out easier when the hair is dry. Brushing also removes loose hair, dog dandruff, and dirt from the coat.
Place cotton balls in your dog’s ears to prevent water from getting in. And remember to remove them after the bath.
2. Use The Right Shampoo
Use a shampoo formulated for dogs. Not “people” shampoo. Your dog has a different pH for skin and hair than you do. Dogs’ skin and coat is alkaline; whilst your skin and hair is acidic in nature. Thus, the shampoo you use on yourself, has the wrong pH for your dog. This will dry out your dog’s skin.
For dogs with dry, irritated skin, choose a mild shampoo that cleanses well. Go for a shampoo that do not contain SLS(Sodium Laurel Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate). These compounds are known to cause skin irritations in some dogs.
Look for a dog shampoo that will help:
- soothe the itch
- moisturize the skin
- promote healing
And look for ingredients that benefit itchy, dry skin:
- aloe vera
- vitamin E
- essential oils: evening primrose oil, tea tree oil, chamomile
- silk, oat, or wheat proteins
3. Bathe With Cool To Lukewarm Water
(Too) warm water can worsens skin irritations. Use cool to lukewarm water to bath your dog. Cool water soothes irritable or inflamed skin. But do not use cold water. Dogs do not like cold water. If your dog shivers and jumps out of the bath, check to see if the bath water is too cold for him.
Wet coat thoroughly before applying shampoo.
4. Massage Gently
Use the pads of your fingers to massage the shampoo into wet fur. Be gentle. Do not scrub, or scratch the sensitized skin with your finger nails. The massaging action helps loosens dead skin and hair.
Next, rinse off the shampoo completely. Repeat with a second round of shampoo.
You can use a pet sprayer to direct water down deep. It makes rinsing easier. Pay particular attention to the underside, inner coat, skin, and between the toes. Shampoo residue can dry out the skin and coat, and also irritate the skin.
5. Use The Right Conditioner For Your Dog
A conditioner keeps your dog’s coat soft, shiny, and tangle free. It makes it easier to brush out your dog after bathing. The conditioner also soothe irritated skin, and replenish moisture to the skin
You can choose between leave-in, or rinse-off formula.
For the rinse-off formula, remove excess water from the coat, and apply the conditioner to wet fur. Gently massage the conditioner evenly onto the entire dog. Next, rinse thoroughly.
6. Pat Dry
After the bath, pat the dog dry with a large towel. Do not rub when using the towel, or it can irritate the skin. If you need to blow dry the coat, use a cool setting on the hair dryer. Comb through the coat again to keep the hair tangle free.
7. How Often Do You Bathe Your Dog
If your dog has dry skin, you might want to bath him once weekly to ease his discomfort of itchy skin. The caveat is to use the proper shampoo and conditioner formulated for his skin condition. Check for products that are gentle enough to be used on a weekly basis.
Bathing can provide relief for dry, flaky, irritated skin. If your dog has a simple case of dry skin, a proper bath can help kick start the healing process and restore his skin to a healthy condition.
Use TLC when bathing your fur kid. Choose a good quality dog shampoo and conditioner formulated to nourish the skin, and soothe itchiness and inflammation.
Consider using natural products that contain organic, herbal or botanical ingredients. These products are gentle for dog dry skin and safe to use. Other products that contain medicinal ingredients(eg. hydrocortisone, antihistamines) may do the job, but could present side effects. Always go with gentle, and effective products whenever you can.