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
Before trying something new for your dog’s dry skin it’s important to figure out what’s causing it. What remedies work for your dog’s dry and itchy skin will depend on what’s causing it to begin with.
Many dogs will experience dry or flaky skin throughout their life, and it’s much more common in the winter. Figuring out what’s causing your dogs dry skin is the first step, and a vet visit is recommended because finding the underlying problem isn’t always simple.
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.
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 to find out what the underlying cause of your dogs dry skin is, and to help rule out any medical problems.
Why I Chose Olive Oil For my Dogs Dry Skin
If I could create more humidity in winter I would, my dog and I would be itching mush less. We use a humidifier, but my dogs dry skin persisted. Since I’m not mother nature I had to find a backup plan.
There are so many recommendations out there for treating a dogs dry skin, but I didn’t have any of those on hand. 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 a few drops but it was worthy 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?
The general rule of thumb is to add 5 or 6 drops of olive oil to your dogs food twice a day. Although I’ve read articles that recommend more I started with 6 drops twice a day for my 70 pound dog and it worked well. If you give your dog more than 10 drops at once, which is approximately 1/2 tbsp., your dog may develop diarrhea.
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. If your dog needs to lose a few pounds you might want to consider an alternative; just one tablespoon of olive oil contains about 120 calories.
Some owners choose to apply olive oil directly to their dogs skin and fur. Since that sounded rather messy 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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