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- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
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.
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.Buy Now on Amazon for $4.49
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!Buy Now on Amazon for $14.99
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.Buy Now on Amazon for $19.95
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.Buy Now on Amazon for $18.98
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.Buy Now on Amazon for $9.95
Particular Paws is a 100% natural, non-greasy balm with zero toxins, preservatives or other chemical additives. Its cooling mixture of tea tree oil and aloe vera make it especially useful to treat hot spots or dry, cracked summertime skin. Toss the stick version in your beach back for quick, easy application.Buy Now on Amazon for $26.95
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.Buy Now on Amazon for $13.50
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.Buy Now on Amazon for $13.89
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.Buy Now on Amazon for $18
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.Buy Now on Amazon for $10.99
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. But remember to talk to your vet before making any drastic changes to your dog’s diet.
- Can Dogs Wear Sunscreen?
- Why Does My Dog Have a Dry Nose?
- A Vet’s Guide to Treating Your Dog’s Dry Skin
- 12 Best Dog Shampoos for Sensitive Skin
- The 11 Best Hypoallergenic Dog Treats
- Hypoallergenic Dog Food? Exploring Limited Ingredient Dog Food for Allergies