Dry, flaky skin is a common problem for humans in this drought-ridden desert state, and dogs and cats suffer from it too. As unattractive as it may be, it’s not just a cosmetic concern, especially for our pets. Dry, itchy, irritated skin is more prone to bacterial and fungal infections, and also makes your pet more susceptible to parasites such as fleas and ticks. Here are some things you can do to combat dry skin in pets:
Feed a Good Quality Diet
Skin health and coat quality are often the first to suffer when a pet isn’t getting its nutritional needs met. Feeding an all-natural, species-appropriate diet made with quality animal-based proteins instead of cheap fillers will help ensure your pet is getting easily assimilated nutrients for building and maintaining supple skin and soft fur. Pet food ingredients to always avoid: corn, wheat, soy, by-products, unnamed meats, high fructose corn syrup and other added sugars, propylene glycol, BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and artificial preservatives.
Make Sure Your Pet Is Well Hydrated
Fresh water should always be available for your pet. Encourage drinking by placing multiple bowls around the house, and consider investing in a fountain to keep water as fresh and enticing as possible. Increase water intake by including high-moisture foods such as canned food, raw food, and rehydrated freeze-dried food in the diet. This is especially important for cats, who don’t have a strong thirst mechanism and can be subclinically dehydrated if fed only dry kibble.
Supplement with Fish Oil
Fish oil helps to condition and moisturize the skin from the inside out. Omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of cell membranes, and strong cell membranes are needed to maintain the water content of cells and tissues. Please note that it is important to give your pets fish oils rather than plant-sourced oils (such as flax or olive) because dogs and cats do not efficiently convert the long-chain fatty acids in plant oils into the beneficial forms (DHA and EPA) they can utilize. [Our highly recommended fish oil brands for pets: Iceland Pure and Nordic Naturals.]
Add Body Guard Food Supplement to Meals
Protec Body Guard is chock-full of fantastic ingredients to improve any pet’s diet and overall health, but two ingredients in particular support skin health: lecithin and choline chloride. Lecithin is a dry source of fatty acids and phospholipids that help maintain cell membrane integrity. Choline is an important building block in many cellular molecules, and is a component of the structural phospholipids that are abundant in cell membranes.
Be Gentle to Your Pet’s Skin
Use only gentle, all-natural shampoos and conditioners that are free of harsh chemicals and detergents, which can strip natural oils from the skin, leading to dryness and irritation. Look for products that contain natural moisturizers such as oatmeal, aloe, or neem. Too-frequent bathing can overdry the skin, so use grooming wipes or waterless shampoos to remove surface dirt from the coat as needed.