Dog with Dry Skin
We have a two-year-old Chihuahua whose skin is unusually dry this winter. Carmen does not seem too uncomfortable but she does scratch a lot. Is there anything we can do?
Even though the problem seems relatively minor to you, I recommend you take Carmen to your veterinarian. I think you will understand when I explain a few different causes of dry skin. Winter is prime time for dry skin. Cold air and gas heat cause low humidity which dries out the skin in some animals -- and in some people. Itching often results. The danger is that Carmen's scratching will cause an infection which will lead to a whole series of problems. Treatment depends on the cause of the itch. Bathing, for example, may help dry out the skin. If you give Carmen frequent baths, she may need a special application of a moisturizer after her shampoo and rinse. Your veterinarian can help you find a product that you can use at home. Some pet owners use bath oil diluted with a prescribed proportion of water. Diet also can be a factor in dry skin. If Carmen is fed a poor quality diet which is too low in fatty acids, she may need to change foods or take a supplement to ensure she has sufficient fatty acid to keep her skin healthy. Other skin irritations may cause itching and scratching which also lead to increased skin cell production and the characteristic flaking. These problems might be fleas, mites, or allergies. While they look like dry skin, they are much more complex problems. If dryness is secondary to one of these problems, your veterinarian can help. If simple dry skin is the culprit, you can help by moisturizing her skin. Such treatment probably will become an annual winter regimen.