Owning a pet, such as a dog, is pretty much like bringing an extra child into your family. They are just as lovable and require almost the same amount of care as children do. In addition to all the positives that dogs bring to our lives, they also have the ability to worry us just like our children do. Usually, this happens when we discover our beloved pet has a health problem, and because they can’t talk, we don’t know how bad it really is. One of the most common problems dogs experience is dry skin. While this may appear to be a big problem, there are many ways to treat it.
Try These Suggestions
If you’ve had your dog examined by your vet but still can’t find a cure for dry skin, then you might try these suggestions. First, a great skin treatment is to give your dog more oils in his diet. We know that the Omega 3’s found in fish oil is helpful for our skin and hair. This is also true for dogs. They make pills that have fish oils as well as other healthy oils that you can give your dog daily for dry skin.
You can also bathe your dog in special shampoos made specifically for dry skin. Also, talk to your groomer about using an unscented shampoo when grooming because this can sometimes contribute to dry skin on dogs too.
Healthy Dog Food Recipes
Healthy dog food recipes are very important to your canine’s health and longevity. Just as a person’s diet is central to their overall health, so is a dog’s, and most commercial dog food just doesn’t cut it. How healthy do you think you would be after eating the same food three times a day, every day, and it mostly consisted of corn and “leftover” animal parts? While our doggie friends don’t have the exact same nutrition needs as we do, they do have nutrition needs which are simply not met by eating the same food every day.
Knowing that many commercial dog foods cut corners by adding fillers and using sub-par ingredients, what can a concerned pet parent do? Quite a number of them have started feeding their pooches homemade food, instead. When you think about it, this is how dogs survived for thousands of years before food was commercialized. On top of this, it has been discovered that replacing unhealthy food with healthy dog food recipes lowers your dog’s chances of serious illness such as cancer and increases their lifespan!
The best thing about healthy dog food recipes is many are easy to find, and almost all are easy to make. Such as this starter:
Full Meal Recipe
• 1 lb. low-fat ground beef
• 1-2 cups brown rice
• 2 cups spinach
• 2 medium potatoes
• 3 carrots
• 1-2 tsp ground flaxseed (optional)
Directions: Brown meat lightly in pan. Clean veggies, peel and chop potatoes and carrots. In a food processor or blender, mix all ingredients together with the grease from the meat and about 1/2 – 1 cup water if needed.
This type of eating gives your dog a great tasting meal as well as plenty of nutrients. Ground flaxseed adds loads of omega 3 and vitamins to the mix, too!
It may seem daunting to jump right into “full meal” recipes as an owner begins to think of healthy dog food recipes at first. So, as a starting point, it may be a better idea to begin making doggie snacks. One such recipe is these bacon snacks:
Homemade Doggie Snacks
• 8-10 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
• 4-5 eggs, raw and beaten
• 1/8 cup of bacon fat
• 1/2-1 cup water
• 1/2 cup dry milk powder
• 2 cups oat or buckwheat flour
• 1/2 cup cornmeal
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients in a blender or food processor. Then drop spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet or drop heaping tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven off and leave treats in there overnight to dry.
Starting your dog on a healthy diet is very easy, but it takes the first step. Once they are a part of your family, be sure to treat them that way!
There are several things that can contribute to your dogs’ dry skin. So, before you can find an acceptable dry skin treatment, you will need to find what the source of the dry skin is first. Dry skin for dogs can be caused by allergies, fungal infections, parasites and even dietary issues.
Check For Parasites
When you first notice that your dog has dry skin, you should inspect his hair and skin thoroughly to determine if there are any fleas, ticks, mites or any other type of parasite on him. If you find fleas, then take your dog to the groomer or vet for a flea dip and then be sure to find a good flea and tick topical treatment to apply to your dog’s skin monthly. If you don’t notice any parasites, it is a good idea to have your vet conduct a “skin scraping” test, as many parasites are too tiny to be noticeable. Your vet can also test for fungal infections too. If your vet notices a fungal infection or a parasite infestation, then he will be able to prescribe the right treatment for your dog. Once those problems are addressed, your dog’s dry skin should clear up.
Ingredients In Pet Products
There are so many controversies on whether some ingredients in pet products are the main reason why our dogs seem to be developing so many strange illnesses, rashes, and allergies. Before I go on, I just want to point out that there are two sides to every coin and that we must look at both sides. With that said, here is a general look at the most common pet grooming practices and products.
Most mass-manufactured pet grooming supplies contain certain amounts of artificial colors, preservatives, and synthetic materials in order to assure long shelf life, make them more attractive to use ( such as smelling nice and lathering well) and more profitable. Also, most of these grooming supplies use fairly common industry terms such as “all-natural”, “organic”, “pure”, “hypoallergenic”, “aromatherapy” “aromatherapy derived” or “holistic” which, of course, make things even more difficult for pet lovers.
Since the definition of “all-natural” seems to mean anything from petroleum to poison ivy, the controversy widens. The questions then become:
- What is all-natural?
- Is natural always good?
- Is natural really natural?
I have noticed that some companies use the term “all-natural” because they have chosen not to use synthetic ingredients and use organic or nearly non-synthetically derived materials. So the term all-natural differentiates their products from the products that contain too many synthetic or not so pure ingredients.<
There are also companies that use “all-natural” or “organic” ingredients among many synthetic ones and call the product “all-natural” or “organic”. This is where reading product labels carefully are important.
In my opinion, if a product is made without artificial colors, synthetic perfumes, synthetic preservatives, petroleum by-products and contain organically grown herbs, extracts, hydrosols or essential oils, it is as all-natural as it can be.
Doing Your Research
If you are the owner of a sensitive or allergy prone dog, you may want to do a bit of digging yourself and see if you can learn about some of these potentially irritating ingredients. I am going to mention only a few here.
- SLS: Tests show that SLS can penetrate into the eyes as well as systemic tissues (brain, heart, liver, etc.) and show long-term retention in those tissues. When SLS is combined with other ingredients such as Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), or Triethanolamine (TEA) nitrosamine (nitrates) is formed. Nitrosamine (N-Nitrosodiethanolamine) is a known carcinogen. SLS is also a skin irritant and has been found to cause eye irritation, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions.
- Mineral Oil: Mineral oil coats the skin and disables its ability to breathe. Skin is the largest body organ that needs to release toxins freely, but mineral oil stops this process. Since the toxins cannot be released, problems such as severe acne or premature aging of the skin may occur.
- DEA and MEA: These hormone-disrupting chemicals, also known as Cocamide DEA or MEA, and Lauramide DEA, are known to form cancer-causing nitrates and nitrosamines. They are used as foam boosters, stabilizers and viscosity builders/modifiers for shampoos, hand soaps and bath products.
**As reported on CBS Morning News, the “National Toxicology Program (NTP) recently found that repeated skin application to mouse skin of diethanolamine (DEA), or its fatty acid derivative Cocamide-DEA, induced liver and kidney cancer.”
- Talc: According to Dr. Samuel Epstein, of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, “A wide range of scientific studies over the last three decades have clearly linked regular talc use by women and ovarian cancer.”
Most manufacturers of pet grooming supplies claim these ingredients are okay to use since the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves them as safe enough to use at certain levels.
Then how do we explain all the constant itching, rashes, reoccurring dermatitis and ear infections that our dogs battle? The problem may be somewhere else, but it’s up to us to find out why our dogs are feeling the way they are because they depend on us.
Organic Herbal Grooming Products
I personally try to stay away from any ingredients that can and have caused skin problems in my dogs. I still prefer mild, organic herbal grooming products and believe that strong detergents in shampoos can cause an imbalance in the skin. They can create extensive dryness, dermatitis, and irritate and produce rashes. The synthetic perfumes in doggie colognes may cause inhalant and skin allergies, just like in people. In my opinion, using ointments with mineral oil, a petroleum byproduct, just may not be the mildest solution to a flaring hot spot.
A solution is to try more than one product and read labels even if it seems absurd at first. After all, as a consumer, you have the right to know what you are paying for.
Ask questions, listen to what the manufacturer says, do some Internet research and compare your findings. Be wary of “we will educate you” slogans. You are savvy and intelligent, can educate yourself and make your own choices. I promise that with a little effort, you will soon learn to recognize what’s available and will not buy into some hype.