Whether roan or solid, your sleek German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) has a coat that gleams. His healthy shine is the result of healthy skin. However, it is not unusual for your GSP pal to develop dry skin, and depending upon the cause, you can prevent or remedy the condition.
Your pooch’s dry skin might mean his internal health is off-balance. Your GSP pal is an athlete and needs a diet for active dogs. Because he has more body mass from muscle, he requires a higher fat to protein ratio in his food. These fatty-acids will give your four-legged friend a healthy coat from the inside out. Not only will his skin be less dry, he might shed fewer of those eyelash-length hairs of his.
Your buddy -- let's call him Fritz as a nod to his heritage -- can run faster than you roller-blade with that GSP “high energy.” If he’s denied a good daily romp, dry skin might result from anxiety. Because he’s German-engineered for intelligence and fitness, your Fritzie is prone to anxiety. If he’s developed dandruff, as well as a taste for your couch, increased daily exercise, such as a gallop to the pooch park and back, could be the cure.
Food allergens might be to blame for Fritz’s itchy, dry skin. If you think your GSP has an allergy, talk to your vet about feeding him a hydrolyzed protein diet. It’s like an elimination diet -- usually of chicken and rice -- to determine food allergens. Some GSPs are simply allergic to corn in their food, and manufacturers make corn-free and other allergen-free products that still meet his unique athletic needs without causing the itching fuss.
Frequent baths will lead to dry skin because shampoo strips essential oils from your GSP’s water-proof coat. Fritz was bred to be a great snuggle buddy and family companion, but this might tempt you to bathe him too much. If you do need to bathe Fritz, use a natural dog shampoo with oatmeal or simply rinse him with water. You can brush your GSP with a chamois cloth to stimulate healthy coat oils.
Sometimes Fritz’s dry skin can be a tough case. If you’ve considered different causes but not had success making changes in his food, activity or bathing, talk to your vet (always consult with a qualified vet about the health and welfare of your pets). Dry skin can lead to hot spots that your GSP will try to lick or scratch excessively and can trigger anxiety. Tell your vet what you’ve observed leading up to the condition and when it started.
Charli Mills has covered the natural food industry since 2001 as a marketing communications manager for a highly successful retail cooperative. She built teams, brands and strategies. She is a writer and editor of "This is Living Naturally," a consultant for Carrot Ranch Communications and a Master Cooperative Communicator.