Food really is medicine. The first step towards great skin and fur is to offer a balanced diet that is species appropriate and as close to nature as possible. Processed, commercial foods that can sit at room temperature and never spoil are not real food, and will not give optimal health to your dog. By offering a natural diet to your dog, you will be doing the best thing you can to give them strong health and vitality, and is likely to reduce your Vet visits considerably.
A natural diet can bring about almost an immediate improvement to your dog’s skin and fur conditions. Clear skin, shiny smooth coat fur and strong nails are one of the things pet parents first notice after they eliminate processed foods from the diet. But no matter what you feed, these simple tips can save your pet’s skin and help you deal with common issues easily, cheaply and at home.
1. Ditch the Grains
Many dogs are sensitive to grains, and the skin is their allergy organ. Food intolerances, whether to grains or certain proteins (chicken and beef are common allergens) can cause itchy skin, inflamed feet, ear infections and tummy upsets. Heavily processed foods containing grains and preservatives (as found in most commercial dry foods) can also contribute to a smelly coat. It may surprise some people that dogs don’t smell “doggy” when fed a species appropriate diet.
2. DIY Dog Skin Soother Spray
Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV for those in the know) is not only a powerful digestive aid when added to the food or water bowl, but also works as an antispectic / antibacterial when applied topically. It makes a fantastic skin soothing sprays for itchy dogs when mixed with green tea (use ½ cup ACV, ½ cup brewed Calendular & green tea and 1 cup distilled water in a spray bottle). This is brilliant for yeast overgrowth, hotspots, insect bites or rashes! Choose an organic, raw vinegar that includes “The Mother” – this type contains way more enzymes as the processed version.
3. Smooth on Coconut Oil
Full of good fats, antibacterials and antifungals, Coconut oil is proven to improve skin and coat, when added to food. It can neutralise doggy odour and bad breath as well as helping to prevent ear infections (feed daily, ½ teaspoon per 5kgs of body weight). Used topically, can be used to treats cuts, moisturise dry pads and skin, and rubbed into fur may act as a flea deterrent too!
4. Apply Manuka Honey
Referred to as the “kingpin” of honey, activated Manuka Honey is is a powerful topical treatment for open wounds, cuts, abrasions, skin infections, and especially burns. Keep a small jar in your pantry at all times.
Coconut Oil, Calendula flowers & manuka honey
5. Rinse with Calendula Flowers
It’s hard to imagine that a simple dried flower can help relieve a range of uncomfortable symptoms in your dog, right? Well Calendula is such a herb, especially for dogs who suffer from hives, inflammation, allergies and itchy skin. Natural, gentle and completely chemical and soap free, it can be given orally, used as a wash, and is also a great item for your natural First Aid Kit and can be used for wound healing and inflammation as well as a salve for cuts, abrasions and burns.
As a tea, Calendula can be used to relieve skin discomfort. It will not only reduce inflammation, but help reduce yeast overgrowth when brewed as a tea and added to the bath water. You can either infuse bath water and use on its own, for sponging, or use as a final rinse after shampooing using a natural soap-free wash. Please note that this product should not be used on pregnant or lactating animals.
While there are lots of things we can do at home to treat and relieve minor skin conditions at home using everyday natural ingredients, these are complementary therapies and are not a substitute for professional Veterinary care or treatment. If your dog is seriously injured, has skin lesions or an infection, please consult your Vet.