A holistic approach to dry skin in dogs addresses the physical discomfort your dog is experiencing as well as the underlying nutritional concerns. While changing your dog's diet will significantly improve dry skin, topical home remedies such as a lemon rinse and colloidal oatmeal are effective in soothing your dog's itchy dry skin.
A healthy homemade diet or a diet of high quality commercial food will boost your dog's immune system and relieve itchiness from dry skin. Preservatives and additives will often exacerbate dry skin in dogs.
Fatty acid supplements added to your dog's diet will promote a healthy skin and coat. A multivitamin is a good idea as well. A strong immune system is key to healthy skin in dogs.
Olive oil added to your dog's food once a day can improve a dog's dry skin. Add 1 tsp. of olive oil for every 15 lbs. of your dog's body weight.
During the winter months when dogs are prone to dry skin, you should bathe your dog less. When bathing is necessary, use a soothing shampoo specifically formulated for dry skin, and soak your dog in ground or colloidal oatmeal.
This lemon rinse recipe from animal herbalist Juliette de Bairacli (see Resources) is an effective skin tonic for a dog’s dry skin as well as a flea repellent. Slice a whole lemon, then bring to a near boil in 1 pint of water. Take from the heat and steep overnight. Apply to your dog's coat with a sponge or spray bottle, and repeat as needed to soothe and tone itchy skin.
Brush your dog's coat more often to remove shed fur and dander that can irritate your dog's dry skin.
Always consult your veterinarian for a diagnosis, especially if your dog is suffering from skin tears, lesions or hair loss. Hot spots are particularly troublesome and should be checked by a veterinarian for treatment.