How to Hydrate a Dog's Skin

by Tom Ryan
    "Bathing too often can dry out my skin!"

    "Bathing too often can dry out my skin!"

    Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    A dog's skin produces natural oils that keep it protected and hydrated, but your dog isn't invincible. Dry weather and medical conditions can make the skin dry and flaky, but if you take steps to hydrate it, you'll keep your dog healthy and happy.

    Step 1

    Bathe your dog only when you need to. Unlike humans, who need frequent bathing, your dog only needs it every two or three months -- once a month at the most. This gives his body's natural oils time to build up, spread through the coat and protect the skin. Bathing too often strips the oils and can dry out the skin. If you notice that your dog's skin is dry or flaky, use a canine moisturizing shampoo to hydrate it.

    Step 2

    Run a humidifier in your home to treat the air. When the air is dry, it can dry out your dog's skin.

    Step 3

    Switch to a hypo-allergenic shampoo if your dog's skin gets irritated or dried out by the shampoo you're using. Your dog could be experiencing an allergic reaction to his shampoo.

    Step 4

    Ask your vet about prescription, medicated shampoos if your dog's skin condition doesn't improve. These shampoos may contain medication that treats skin conditions like dermatitis, or they may simply contain chemicals like salicylic acid that do not dry out the skin.

    Step 5

    Consult your veterinarian about moisturizers for your dog's paw pads. Paw pads can get dry and even crack, especially during low-humidity months, like in the winter. Generally, wiping your dog's paws with a disposable, medicated moisturizing pad keeps them hydrated, but always defer to your vet's judgement, and follow the instructions on any medicated lotions you may use.

    Items You Will Need

    • Moisturizing shampoo
    • Humidifier
    • Medicated moisturizing wipes

    Photo Credits

    • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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