dog

I Treated My Dog’s Dry Skin With 5 Natural Remedies — Here’s What Finally Stopped Her Itching

by Angela Andaloro

My very best friend in the world is my 7-year-old boxer named Moesha. I’ve known Moe since the day she was born. Her mom, Beauty, came into my life as a doggy teen mom, pregnant with her first litter at just under 2 years old. I watched Moe’s birth and was the first person to hold her after she arrived; she was the size of a hamster at the time. It wasn’t until just after she turned 8 weeks old that I learned I would get to keep her.

Needless to say, Moe and I are very attached to each other. She’s a great girl, full of personality. She keeps me laughing every day, and I couldn’t ask for anything more from a canine companion.

There is something you should know about Moe, though: Her dry skin is a major problem. Every spring and winter, I find myself looking for new ways to take care of her itchy skin. I have to be really careful with what I use on her, as boxers have particularly sensitive skin and are prone to various allergies and skin conditions. So far, I’ve tried giving her half of a Benadryl at the recommendation of my vet. I’ve tried changing her diet. I’ve tried allergy-specific treats, hydrocortisone lotions for dogs, and other random remedies I’ve found at local pet stores. Alas, nothing has been able to provide consistent relief.

This has been a humid summer in New York City, which means my air conditioning has been running constantly, which means my house has been ultradry. And as I’ve tried to deal with my own dry skin, Moe has been trying to deal with hers. Her scratching has become such an issue as of late that I’ve even begun encouraging her to “ask for help” so that she doesn’t tear up her own skin with her toenails (or rub herself on every piece of furniture she can find).

Recently, Moe and I decided to explore a handful of natural remedies in an attempt to fix her dry skin for good. It’s been quite the ride…

1. Olive Oil

1. Olive Oil
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According to VetInfo, adding anywhere from a few drops to 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to your dog’s food can help relieve itchiness. (Take your dog’s size into consideration if you try this remedy at home, as too much oil could upset your pooch’s stomach.)

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The only downside to this remedy is that if you feed your dog dry food, the olive oil makes the kibble soggy if it’s not eaten right away. Some dogs are picky eaters and won’t eat their food once it’s soggy, but luckily that’s not an issue for us:

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Moe saw me put something in her bowl but knew better than to ask questions. She ate her food right away.

After putting the olive oil in her food once a day for five days straight, I soon discovered that this remedy had one unfortunate side effect…

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Gas, gas, and more gas. I couldn’t be in the same room as Moe if she had just eaten. (She was fine otherwise, though.)

As for the scratching, the olive oil didn’t make much of an impact.

2. Vitamin E Oil

2. Vitamin E Oil
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Vitamin E oil boasts all sorts of benefits for dogs, according to Shepherdy, from healing dry skin to reducing the risk of cancer.

I started by rubbing the oil over a small portion of Moe’s skin just to see how she’d react to it.

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I was surprised by how thick the oil was. It was much harder to rub in than I’d anticipated, and much stickier. It took a lot of rubbing to make sure Moe’s skin wasn’t left tacky to the touch.

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The good news? The vitamin E oil took pretty good care of the dry area right above Moe’s hip bone that had been bothering her for weeks. Two days after the application, I still hadn’t caught her scratching it — not even once.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

3. Apple Cider Vinegar Spray
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I thought this remedy would be a surefire hit with Moe, given the fact that apple cider vinegar is touted as a virtual cure-all.

Dogs Naturally recommends a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar and water, so I mixed up a batch of it and put it in a spray bottle. I then left the bottle on the ground to let Moe check it out on her own time, as she scares easily.

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She seemed fairly intrigued with it until I actually sprayed it…

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This was the wrong move. From that moment on, Moe decided she was terrified of the bottle and ran away from me every time I picked it up. I eventually managed to spray her with a tiny bit of the apple cider vinegar/water mixture, but she was not pleased.

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My poor baby. She already errs on the anxious side, so I hate to do anything that freaks her out even more.

Needless to say, the apple cider vinegar treatment was not the remedy for Moe.

4. Chamomile Tea Spray

4. Chamomile Tea Spray
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According to Two Little Cavaliers, this remedy involves simply brewing a cup of chamomile tea and letting it chill in the fridge ’til you’re ready to use it.

After the ACV spray incident, I was worried that the chamomile tea spray was not going to work for Moe.

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But Moe went right up to the spray bottle of tea and started sniffing it.

Once I saw a lick, I was optimistic. I decided to give her armpits a quick spray because I’d noticed her scratching them earlier.

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I expected Moe to flinch and run the second the tea made contact with her skin, but she did great. She let me spray both armpits and rolled over happily.

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About 15 minutes later, Moe was borderline elated. She kept flapping her little arms around with the biggest smile on her face. I thought it might be a fluke, so I tried applying the tea again the next day. She was so excited upon seeing the bottle that she lay right down, letting me spray her and rub in the tea this time. Another success!

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When she’s happy, I’m happy! So far, the tea was the winning remedy.

5. Turmeric Paste

5. Turmeric Paste
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Lucky Puppy Magazine recommends 1/8 of a 500 mg capsule of turmeric per 20 pounds of dog, which you can mix with an unscented moisturizer, yogurt, or rice flour.

I tried to let Moe know what was happening before I slathered the paste on her, but she wasn’t interested.

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I decided to apply the paste to a red spot that had started creeping up her chest.

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She didn’t flinch or react at all when I put the paste on, which surprised me. She’s usually not a fan of having things of this consistency being slathered on her.

After the paste was applied, Moe decided that she wanted to learn more about it.

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(The turmeric is safe for ingesting as well as for topical use, so I let her try it.)

In the end, I decided that the chamomile tea spray was definitely the winner for me and for Moe. Of course, every dog is different, so be sure to consult your vet before testing any of these treatments on your pup’s own dry skin. Happy itch-healing!