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As seasons change, so does my dog’s skin. Springtime brings seasonal allergies, accompanied by itchy eyes and paws. In summer, the air conditioner can dry his sensitive nose. And of course, winter brings chapped, frosty paws.
Many dog owners wonder: can I just put lotion on my dog? Well, yes and no. Unfortunately, you can’t just use your own human lotion on the dog because our moisturizers may contain harmful chemicals and ingredients. Dogs are likely to lick topical treatments off of their noses and paws, so any skin-soothing product you use has to be 100% dog-safe.
Any skin-soothing product you use has to be 100% dog-safe.
Avoid these ingredients at all costs, because they’re toxic to dogs:
- Zinc oxide: commonly included in sunscreen and diaper rash creams
- Diclofenac: used to treat joint pain
- Calcipotriene: used to treat psoriasis
Other ingredients in topical creams or skin treatments can be dangerous to dogs if ingested. Before using any cream, salve, or gel containing these ingredients with your dog, be sure to consult with your vet:
- Hydrocortisone: on its own or in calamine lotion
- Lidocaine: numbing agent
Learn more at the link above as well as from the ASPCA.
Luckily, there are plenty of dog-safe products on the market to treat dry, itchy skin. From dog-specific salves to grocery store staples, it’s never been easier to find a solution for your dog’s skin problems. Read on for some of our favorite treatments for dry dog skin! These are lotions you can feel safe putting on your dog anytime.
The Best Dry Dog Skin Treatments: Butters, Salves, and Oils, Oh My!
From butters to balms, oils to lotions, and salves to creams, read on for some great products to soothe and protect dry dog skin and rough, chapped noses and paws.
From the makers of the popular lip balm (and lots of other body care products) comes this dogs-only lotion made to soothe dry, cracked noses and paws. With soothing olive oil and antioxidant rosemary, it helps repair your dog’s dry skin. As a bonus, it has a light, pleasant scent that won’t irritate you or your dog.
This 100% organic paw balm packs dog-friendly ingredients like coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, aloe, vitamin E, rosemary seed extract, and lavender oil. The natural ingredients mean a little lick won’t hurt. Massage a bit onto your dog’s dry, cracked paws, and let the healing begin!
Loaded with all-natural moisturizing coconut, hempseed, and olive oils, this ointment also contains manuka honey, long touted for its healing properties in humans and dogs alike. Use it to treat itchy paws in spring, chapped ears in winter, and minor abrasions all year long.
This balm is not only certified organic, but it’s also made in the USA by a company founded by a dedicated dog mom and cancer survivor. After her battle with breast cancer, she committed to using only safe, non-toxic ingredients for both herself and her pets.
Coconut oil is one of nature’s safest, most effective moisturizers. Humans have been using it for generations to soothe dry skin and hair, and it’s just as useful for dogs! As a topical moisturizer, a little bit goes a long way massaged into dry doggy skin. But it’s even more effective as part of their diet, boosting the immune system and improving skin and coat health from the inside out. Click here for more on the benefits of coconut oil for dogs.
The snout soother is 100% organic healing salve that works to soothe chapped noses and to protect from further damage. It’s safe for humans too!
Similar to the snout soother, this dog paw balm is formulated with organic ingredients to help soothe chapped and rough paw pads that can result from walking on hot sand, gravel, or concrete.
Earthbath has been making all-natural dog products for over 20 years. Their Oatmeal & Aloe shampoo is specially formulated to treat dry skin, relieve itching, and leave your dog’s coat soft, shiny, and smelling great. It’s soap-free (meaning it cleanses without drying), gentle, and safe to use on puppies six weeks and older.
This veterinarian-formulated paw pad and elbow cream contains ingredients such as collagen and lanolin to restore moisture to dry paws and elbows.
Olive oil is a kitchen cupboard staple that does double duty for dogs. For an external treatment, apply a small amount to your dog’s dry paws, noses, and ears. Be sure to rub it in completely, and remember, a little goes a long way! It’s also effective as part of your dog’s diet. Add a teaspoon to your dog’s breakfast and dinner to promote healthy, hydrated skin and fur.
Blissful Dog makes their organic nose butter from shea butter, olive oil, castor oil, avocado oil, almond oil, coconut oil, beeswax, cocoa seed butter, and essential oils. Rub a small amount into your dog’s dry, crusty nose, and it will be soft in no time! The all-natural ingredients are dog safe, and they offer breed-specific labels for a custom moisturizing gift.
This is one moisturizer you and your dog can share. Humans use pure shea butter to soften dry, cracked elbows and heels. It moisturizes and protects skin, and best of all, it’s totally dog-safe when applied topically in small amounts. Use shea butter to soothe dry paws, noses, elbows, and other dry patches. You can moisturize your hands and your dog’s paws at the same time.
The first ingredient in this convenient 1.6 ounce tube of USDA-approved organic dog salve is hemp seed oil, which is known for its health-enhancing properties. Its natural ingredients are well formulated: Rosemary and lavender oils give it a fresh scent, beeswax, sunflower oil, and vitamin E contribute moisturizing properties, and tea tree oil is a topical antiseptic. Plus, the application is easy and hand-free: just roll or rub it on over your dog’s cuts, hot spots, or minor burns. The company also mak
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This protective wax with vitamin E helps to protect your dog’s paw pads from salt and snow and though it is specifically designed for dry and tough winter conditions, it is useful year-round, to help replenish moisture during the dry, summer months and for the dog paw conditions that can develop then, such as sandburn.
The Bottom Line
All of these products contain dog-safe ingredients, meaning it’s okay if your dog takes a little lick. But even the dog-friendliest oils can lead to an upset tummy if over-ingested. Store your dog butters, salves, and oils out of reach, and distract your dog with a treat while you apply to keep most of the moisturizer on their body, not in their mouth.
A Quick Note About Your Dog’s Diet and Their Skin
Dog skin problems are often caused by allergies. If you believe your dog may be suffering from a dog food allergy, talk to your vet about trying an elimination diet and/or hypoallergenic dog food.
Preventatively, you can try keeping your dog’s skin healthy by making sure they’re eating a diet full of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids or supplementing meals with an ingredient such as salmon oil from time to time. But remember to talk to your vet before making any drastic changes to your dog’s diet.
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Elisabeth Geier is a writer, teacher, and animal advocate with extensive animal handling experience and a soft spot for bully breeds and big orange tabbies.
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