What is Dry Skin?
An animal’s coat is the first sign of health and vitality. An animal’s skin is sensitive to the environment and may need extra special care to remain in good condition. The furry coat of your pet is kept moisturized by natural oils in the skin that help to lubricate the skin and promote skin elasticity. Dry skin on dogs and cats may appear flaky, brittle and dry.
What Causes Dry Skin?
Certain underlying disorders that strip the skin of essential oils may be responsible for cat and dog dry skin. However, the most common culprit is poor diet or poor skin hygiene. Dandruff may result from food allergies or intolerances, while itchy skin may lead to scratching and hair loss – producing a patchy, dull coat.
Excessive washing of your pet may also result in dry, flaky skin which causes itching. This happens when the production of natural oils (present on your animal’s skin) is disrupted - to counteract the dry skin caused by frequent washes oil glands produce too much oil.
Diagnosing Dry Skin
Diagnosis and treatment will depend on the cause of the dry skin. Most animals will experience dry skin at some point in their lives, and with the right care, most skin problems are easily corrected. Depending on the cause, treatment may involve topical creams (however these may also have the potential for side effects). Your vet may also suggest supplementing omega-3 oils into the diet.
Help for Dry Skin
Pet owners often look to natural herbal and homeopathic remedies to help keep their pet’s skin healthy and nourished. Herbs such as Equisetum arvense (an effective tissue tonic due to its high silica content) and Taraxacum officinalis have also been researched for their ability to soothe the skin and keep the skin hydrated. Fucus vesiculosis is a sea vegetable often used in supplements to support the production of thyroid hormones, necessary for maintaining skin and coat health via thyroid functioning.