Early this year, I discovered some hairy clumps on my German Shepherd, and I noticed he was scratching more frequently than normal. Dogs scratch and lick themselves clean frequently. But there is scratching, and then there is scratching. This one was the kind where you go after an itch to the exclusion of all other activities.
I took him to the grooming, and while much of the hair smoothed out, the roughness around the area of his clumps did not go away. And he kept scratching. I took him to the Vet.
The vet diagnosed dry skin and possibly allergies.Dry skin is a problem many dogs face, especially as the weather cools down and starts becoming dry. Deprived of much needed oil and moisture, the skin dries up, causing itching and in some cases, sores.
I put him on some immediate home remedies.
1) Fish Oil and Omega 3: The quickest and the most effective way to fight dry skin in dogs is fish oil. I gave them 1000mg/per 100 lbs per day for first six weeks. Then I reduced it to one 500mg capsule a day. Now I feed him 1000mg capsule once a week on a regular basis. Omega 3 continued: I got flax seeds, ground them and added it to their food, mixing it with chicken stock, a favorite with both my dogs. Both my dogs are over 100 pounds, so I added 1 tbs for every 25 lbs of their weight.Gradually, I have cut it down to about 1/3rd of that quantity
2) Brush: Brushed him everyday. It not only got out the clumps, but also helped in blood circulation, and to get rid of dead skin, the biggest source of dry skin.
3) Massage: Massage the area with a combination of olive, coconut and Vitamin E oil in 1:1:1 ratio. Adding 1 capsule of Vitamin E oil to the diet works wonders. Shave the area if needed to access it in hairy dogs.
4) Grooming: Do not over groom your dogs, or give them too frequent baths. But do not ignore the benefits of grooming them either. Bathe them once a month, using a good shampoo that conditions them. Research your shampoo and buy them from health stores or get high quality good brands, preferably recommended by your vet.
5) Herbs and diet: I also have started adding herbs and spices to their diet. I try to buy protein rich dry food – I have found Royal Canine to be the best so far of all that I have used – but I try to cook food for them at least once a week. I find turmeric, sage, green tea, cinnamon, greens like spinach, parsley very effective in getting them the much needed nutrients. To find out much more detailed list of herbs and spices for dogs, please visit this space.
Within 3 months the clumps were gone, and his skin has become soft and moist. With the winter spreading its wings rapidly, it’s time to get the humidifiers out for the fur babies and also make sure they have enough water to slurp on 24/7
If the above mentioned remedies do not help, please take our dogs to the vet. Rule out thyroid or other skin infections, like mange or ring worms.