Dry skin is common in dogs during winter and in old age, and relief is trickier than just lathering on some lotion. If your dog's coat gets in the way or if he licks lotion off before it has a chance to penetrate, try a little baby oil.
Apply a few drops of baby oil directly to dry patches on your dog's feet, ears, back or other locations. Gently rub the oil into your dog's skin.
Stay away from areas immediately around your dog's mouth or nose, as inhaling baby oil can be dangerous. If you believe your dog has inhaled any amount of baby oil, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Mix a few drops of oil with your dog's shampoo or conditioner to treat larger patches of dry skin. Add more or less, as desired, to control symptoms. This is especially beneficial if your dog's dry skin worsens following bathing with a hypoallergenic dog shampoo.
Add a couple tablespoons of baby oil to your dog's bath water to treat mild, generalized dry skin. It has the added benefit of smoothing the coat.
Use baby oil to detangle matted fur, as it is less drying than some commercial detanglers.
Monitor your dog for signs of a reaction to the baby oil, especially following the first few uses. Increased itching or flaking, rash, or other symptoms may indicate an allergy to the fragrance. Rarely, dogs may be unable to tolerate mineral oil, the main ingredient in baby oil.
- Itching and flaking, especially without evidence of fleas or rash, is usually associated with harmless dry skin. In some cases, however, dry skin may indicate an underlying health condition. For this reason, new cases of dry skin always require veterinary evaluation.
- Some medicated shampoos designed to stop itching will actually worsen itching associated with dry skin. This is because they contain harsh chemicals that can increase dryness and flaking.
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."