Oils may be applied to your puppy's skin for healing or pampering purposes by experts such as veterinarians or professional groomers. Oils commonly used for such purposes include olive oil, essential oils such as vitamin E and tea tree oil, and baby (mineral) oil. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before you use any oils on your puppy's skin, as some oils may irritate the skin or cause allergic reactions, and some may cause problems if he ingests them by licking them off.
Your puppy's vet may use or recommend olive oil for some purposes. As an occlusive agent, olive oil can help protect against dryness by physically blocking water loss from the skin, and it may help alleviate irritation caused by dryness. Topical application of olive oil may also help guard against cancerous effects after exposure to UVB rays, according to a 2000 study led by the Department of Dermatology at Kobe University School of Medicine.
Professional groomers sometimes incorporate mineral oil, often in the form of baby oil, into conditioners to provide additional moisture and to prevent matting in the coat. You can also apply mineral oil to delicate ear skin to help relieve itching and irritation from conditions such as ear mites.
Tea Tree Oil
Already popular as a treatment for human acne, tea tree oil can provide healing properties for your puppy as well, due to its antimicrobial and anti-itching properties. A 2002 study by the University of Zurich found that tea tree oil helped to significantly improve general skin problems such as inflammation or eczema in 82 percent of dogs treated in the study. However, some sources report that tea tree oil may be toxic to dogs when applied undiluted, so if your pet's veterinarian recommends its use, be sure to use only the dosage prescribed. Contact with tea tree oil can cause allergic contact dermatitis in some dogs, so consult your veterinarian if your little pal's condition worsens after you apply the oil.
Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that is incorporated into many commercial dog foods for its health benefits, sometimes is used to promote healing of small cuts or wounds. The antioxidant and UV-absorbent properties of dl-alpha-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, may help prevent skin cancer when it is applied topically. However, because some studies have concluded that the form of the vitamin E is an important factor in whether it is helpful, it is important to consult your veterinarian before you routinely use vitamin E on your puppy's skin.
- Muller and Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology
- Phytotherapy of chronic dermatitis and pruritus of dogs with a topical preparation containing tea tree oil (Bogaskin).
- Toxicity of melaleuca oil and related essential oils applied topically on dogs and cats.
- Photoprotective actions of topically applied vitamin E.
- Ultimate Dog Grooming
- The Veterinarian's Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs
- Vet On Call: The Best Home Remedies for Keeping Your Dog Healthy
- Importance of the form of topical vitamin E for prevention of photocarcinogenesis.
- Canine Medicine and Disease Prevention
Margot Freeman has been a writer since 2009. She currently works in social media within the tech industry, and has been volunteering with acclaimed Austin, Texas animal shelter Austin Pets Alive! since 2010. Freeman holds a Bachelor of science in audio and media technology.