Your Italian greyhound snuggles against you, scratches her ears and nudges for a pet. You stroke her satiny coat and – oops – her skin feels dry. With a closer look, you see skin flakes all over her coat. Not to worry – you can fix this.
Start with a soft-bristle brush or a mutt mitt. Brush or stroke her, removing loose hair and skin flakes. Her skin is sensitive, so avoid stiff brushes or hard-edge slickers. The soft brush or grooming mitt distributes skin oil through her coat.
If your Italian greyhound air-kicks and rolls in the dirt, bathe her as needed with oatmeal-based or moisturizing shampoo, but remember that too-frequent bathing removes her natural skin oil.
Finish with an oil spray or conditioner for extra-dry skin.
Many dogs have allergies to foods, pollen, mold, fleas and pollutants. If your Iggie is allergic, her body reacts with symptoms such as dry skin, weepy eyes and itchy ears. If her food and treats contain corn, soy or wheat, substitute other foods for a few weeks to see whether her skin improves. After outdoor jaunts, wipe her off with a damp washcloth to remove pollen, dust and debris.
If fleas or mite are a problem, avoid over-the-counter flea collars, as they irritate her skin and make the problem worse. Ask your vet about other flea and tick controls, as well as antihistamines that would soothe her allergies.
Consult your vet about essential fatty acid supplements or fish oil for your Iggie’s dry skin. Some dogs eagerly devour a fish oil capsule as a treat. The fish oil provides antioxidants as well as skin nutrients. Flaxseed, either as a supplement or food ingredient, helps keep her skin supple and her coat silky.
If she is a kibble nibbler, sprinkle olive oil or canola oil on her food. Use a light touch with the oil, because too much causes loose or runny poop. A balanced vitamin supplement promotes overall health as well as skin care.
If your Italian greyhound's dry skin is thyroid-related, your vet will prescribe thyroid supplements to restore her skin and metabolic health.
Give your pup a healthy home environment. If the air is dry, so is her skin. Use a humidifier or a bubbling dog fountain to add moisture to the air. A humidifier in the bedroom where she snuggles in your bed helps you and your Iggie, because added moisture often improves sleeping comfort. Use a HEPA air filter to remove allergens, dander and other particulates from the room.
Protect her delicate skin from drying drafts and outdoor chill. A dog sweater or vest is effective. Cushion her bedding with soft fleece or cotton covers over a memory foam pad. Inadequate padding stresses this breed's skin and elbow pads.
Helping your Italian greyhound's skin is easy. And your reward is a contented dog.
Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.