Our Bernese Mountain Dog Stella started getting dry skin when she was about a year old. It always started with her coat looking a little dull, increased shedding, and eventually massive amounts of dandruff flakes. What I didn’t realize right away is that her dry skin correlated when I myself experienced the same thing - it was always season changes and less humidity.
After hundreds of dollars spent on vet visits, creams, lotions, and potions I started researching natural alternatives for dry skin in dogs. To my surprise many of the things I was using on my own skin were actually healthy for her as well. I started to create a “girl’s night” routine with Stella that involved “hair masks” for both of us, and right away I noticed her coat return to it’s healthy shine.
With Stella's breed (Bernese Mountain Dog) being prone to cancer we've also had to be mindful of what flea, and tick prevention we use which is why we switched to using essential oils. We use this hair mask as an insect repellent as well.
Dogs fur and skin can take a toll due to sun damage, inclement weather, allergies, chewing, and excess dirt. I recommend keeping an eye on the fur, and using this “hair mask” when you notice any dullness. It’s also important to check in with your vet if it’s persistent - sometimes dry skin can be an indicator of an underlying condition.
There are lots of different things you can do with my “hair mask” but here is my standard recipe.
Heat up mixture in the microwave or stovetop and test before applying to your dogs skin. Once it’s warm but not hot massage the mask into the dogs fur and skin. You can rinse within the hour with warm water, or we like to leave it on throughout the week (get ready to wash your pup’s bed). For us the greasiness usually goes away when Stella swims, or plays in the snow but you might be better off giving your pup a rinse if you don’t want to wait.
Coconut oil is the most abundant source of lauric acid on Earth which means it’s able to kill bacteria, yeast, and prevent tooth decay. When Stella licks her fur after I apply the hair mask her breath actually improves as well which is a win in my book!
Olive oil is a great solution to use on pups because it can treat fleas, and protect the skin against UV radiation. Be mindful to avoid any open wounds or sores that may cause discomfort to your dog while applying the oil.
A good flea essential oil combination is Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, and Lemongrass. Rosemary and geranium are also excellent for repelling insects and making your pup’s coat smell fresh.
Have questions about the mask or thoughts about naturally treating pups? Let us know in the comments!