Can Olive Oil Help Your Dogs Dry Skin?
A few years back my boyfriend made a remark about Laika’s skin and how smooth it was. “She doesn’t have dry, flaky skin like a lot of other dogs.” It was true, she didn’t. For the first few years she had the shiniest, healthiest coat I’ve seen — but this winter changed all that.
Does your dog have some dry flakes on his skin? Are his elbows a bit dry? Looking for a simple remedy for your puppies itchy skin?
My dog had some extra dry skin this winter. After taking her to the vet and ruling out any medical issues such as allergies we decided to try using olive oil for my dog’s dry skin.
The Most Common Causes of Dry Skin in Dogs
Many dogs experience dry or flaky skin throughout their life, and it’s common in the winter when the humidity drops. But it’s important to remember that not all dry skin is caused by a drop in humidity.
Before trying something new for your dog’s dry skin it’s important to figure out what’s causing it to begin with. For example if your dog has food allergies adding a little bit of olive oil to their diet won’t solve the underlying problem.
Figuring out what’s causing your dogs dry skin is the first step, and a trip to the vet is recommended because finding the underlying problem isn’t always simple. There’s a long list of potential medical issues that can cause your dog’s skin to become dry. It’s best to have your veterinarian examine your dog and to help rule out any medical problems.
Your vet can take a sample of your dogs skin to diagnose or rule out many different skin conditions. The most common causes for a dogs dry skin are:
- Allergies – both food & seasonal
- Fleas (can cause sever allergies in some dogs)
- Skin Infections
- Sensitivity to grooming products
- Stress or Hormonal changes
Luckily for Laika it wasn’t a food allergy or an infection; our vet thinks it’s related to the low humidity of winter. Just like us our dogs can get dry, flaky skin during winter. Remember that itchy skin is a symptom, not a disease.
Why I Chose Olive Oil For My Dogs Dry Skin
If I could magically create more humidity in winter I would since dry skin isn’t much fun to deal with. My dog and I get dry, itchy skin in the winter and it’s no fun at all. I got a humidifier to help, but it had limited results. And while I can just use lots of lotion to help soothe my dry skin that’s not an option for my dog, so I went searching for another plan.
There are many recommendations out there for treating a dogs dry skin, but I didn’t have any of those on hand. And since I didn’t have any advanced formula shampoos, nor any salmon or coconut oil I started with something I did have — some extra virgin olive oil.
I started adding a few drops to Laika’s food to see what would happen. I wasn’t expecting much from just a few drops but it was worth trying. If it didn’t improve her skin at least she was getting more omega 3 fatty acids and polyphenols.
Fatty acids are crucial to a healthy body; both inside and out. As many commercial pet foods are very low in beneficial fatty acids, a high quality pet supplement is necessary for most pets to avoid skin and hair coat problems and achieve their optimal health. – Dr. Donna Spector DVM, DACVIM
Much to my surprise it did work (and she loves the taste), and although her skin isn’t quite as shiny as it was a few years ago the flakes are gone. And she’s itching a lot less.
How Much Olive Oil Should You Give Your Dog?
When adding olive oil to your dog’s diet the general rule of thumb is to add no more than 1 tsp. for every 20 pounds of body weight. I give my 70 pound dog 2 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil twice a day with each meal.
There aren’t any health risks associated with adding a little bit of olive oil to your dogs diet, but with anything new it’s best to introduce it slowly since it can cause stomach upset. And if your dog needs to lose a few pounds you might want to consider an alternative because just one tablespoon of olive oil contains about 120 calories.
If you don’t want to add olive oil to your dog’s food you can apply it directly onto your dogs skin. (that sounded a bit messy, so I stuck with the food route)
Can Olive Oil Really Help Your Dogs Dry Skin?
Olive oil definitely made a difference in my dogs itchy and dry skin. Within a week I noticed a visual difference and by week two her coat and skin were back to normal. Granted she only had a mild case of dry winter skin, but it certainly did the job.
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin E, and has been linked to promoting cardiovascular health. So even if my little experiment hadn’t worked on her skin I was sure she’d be gaining other health benefits from the addition.
If you find your dog getting a little dry this winter help ease his itching with a few drops of olive oil. It’s not only an easy home remedy for dry skin it also has numerous health benefits:
Rich in monounsaturated fats, olive oil prevents and lessens the effects of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It contains oleic acid, in addition to some compounds (squalene and terpenoids) that are believed to be effective in preventing cancer, which kills a staggering 50 percent of dogs over age 10. – 8 Reasons to Add Olive Oil to Your Dogs Diet – Dogster
Additional Resources/Dry Skin Remedies
- Omega Fatty Acids – Sources, Effects, and Therapeutic Uses for Dogs
- Dog Nutrition for a Healthy Coat (Fatty Acids)
- The Benefits of Fish Oil to Your Dog’s Health
What Home Remedies Do You Use For Your Dogs Dry Skin?
I’m definitely impressed with how well olive oil worked on my dogs skin. But after much research it seems many pet owners have even better results with coconut oil. What have found that helps ease your dogs dry skin?
Next winter I might have to buy a bottle of coconut oil to try it out. If it doesn’t work as well as olive oil I’ll just make some smoothies instead, I don’t think it’s a complete loss either way.
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