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This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

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How do you moisturize a cat's skin?

Use an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement to provide natural moisture for your cat’s skin. If your home is naturally arid, use humidifiers to help protect your cat’s skin from becoming dry. Use a natural moisturizing agent (such as coconut oil) on your cat’s dry areas.

How can I treat my cats dry skin at home?

Use a humidifier to increase the humidity in your home..Feed your cat a high-quality, vet-recommended diet with high fat and protein levels..Add a fatty acid supplement.

How can I soothe my cats itchy skin?

Your vet may recommend giving your cat a soothing oatmeal bath or a rinse of vinegar diluted to one tablespoon vinegar per quart of warm water. Regular brushing is also helpful in distributing the natural oils in your cat’s skin and removing dead skin.

How can I help my cat with dry skin and dandruff?

Feed your cat a nutritious diet. Make sure the food you feed your cat is formulated for skin health. ….Groom your cat with a brush or comb. ….Try a special shampoo. ….Help your cat maintain a healthy weight. ….Keep your cat hydrated. ….Use a humidifier at home.

Just like us, cats can sometimes suffer from dry skin. This often occurs during the winter, when the cold air outside and increased heating use inside dries out the air, but it can happen other times too. The good news is, occasional mild itchiness and dandruff due to dry skin is nothing to worry about. But if your cat has persistent dry skin or is also showing other symptoms of a skin problem or illness, she should be seen by your veterinarian.

If she is unable to groom normally, the oils that her skin secretes will build up and dead hair won’t be removed. You can also add a fatty acid supplement with omega-3s and omega-6s to your cat’s food to help keep her skin supple and coat shiny. Thanks to their natural grooming tendencies, most cats only need to be bathed on rare occasions. If you find yourself bathing your cat frequently, consult with your veterinarian to make sure a more serious skin condition isn’t the cause. More serious conditions can cause your cat to have dry skin, including parasites like fleas and mites , ringworm , allergies, fungal and bacterial infections, over grooming (an obsessive-compulsive behavior), hyperthyroidism , and diabetes . If your cat is experiencing moderate to severe itchiness, red inflamed skin, pustules, crusts, open sores, chronic ear infections, hair loss, weight loss , lethargy, increased drinking and urination, or an abnormal appetite , it is time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Brush your cat regularly to help distribute the oils from her skin throughout her coat and to remove dead hair.

Does your cat’s fur flakes any time you pet them? Is it constantly scratching away at an itch? If so, you’re probably wondering what you can do to stop it. There’s a good chance your cat has dry skin, especially if your cat has no fleas. So, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Felines with dry skin are more common in the winter months, but if that’s not your case, you might be even more confused. Let’s take a look at what causes this problem along with some home remedies for dry skin on cats.

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center , cats require food that is nutritionally balanced and has plenty of fatty acids. Quality cat food has fatty acids like omega 3, which help maintain healthy skin and coats. It’s essential to keep in mind that any time you change your cat’s food, it can take up to a month to see any results. Other things like dry air and sunburn can also cause cats to lose moisture in their skin quickly. Overweight cats have more trouble grooming certain areas of their body, which can cause dry spots on their skin. A cat suffering from stress may start to experience irritation, itchiness , inflammation, or dryness of the skin. A triggering of past traumatic experiences Aging of the brain/memory problems (dementia) A lack of socialization Chronic pain/arthritis Change in environment Separation anxiety Whether it’s something new in their routine or newly introduced food, your cat’s immune system might not be reacting to it properly. As we learned earlier, your cat needs a proper diet full of nutrition, vitamins, fatty acids, and adequate protein to sustain good health. Natural shampoos with oatmeal or aloe vera can help soothe dryness and irritation. You may just need to spend some more quality time with your pet or incorporate more physical and mental stimulation by implementing some entertaining cat activities . They should be able to pinpoint the source of their allergies, so you can get started on a plan that works best for your cat’s dry skin. Home remedies for dry skin may help cats get relief, but what about preventing it from happening in the first place? Now that you better understand the causes and symptoms of your cat’s dry skin, it makes the whole problem easier to get rid of. Monitoring your cat’s behavior and taking action can reduce a lot of their discomfort and further health issues. If your cat is prone to dryness, adding CBD to the diet may help to keep the skin supple. Since CBD oil acts as a natural moisturizer, it can help soothe your cat’s dry skin and reduce the chances of dandruff and long term itchiness.

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About This Article

Here’s What Causes Your Cat’s Dry Skin (and Home Remedies to Try)

A case of dry skin isn’t usually serious, but it can make your cat super uncomfortable! Here’s how to nix the itch.Just like us, cats can sometimes suffer from dry skin. This often occurs during the winter, when the cold air outside and increased heating use inside dries out the air, but it can happen other times too. The good news is, occasional mild itchiness and dandruff due to dry skin is nothing to worry about. But if your cat has persistent dry skin or is also showing other symptoms of a skin problem or illness, she should be seen by your veterinarian.

Common Causes of a Cat’s Dry Skin

Dry Air

Your cat’s skin requires a certain amount of moisture to maintain its elasticity and resilience. A low-humidity environment can cause the skin to dry out. This most often happens in the winter when the air is colder and we are turning our heat on more (forced-air heat in particular can really dry out your home). Arid climates also have very low humidity.Use a humidifier to help increase the humidity in your home to keep your cat’s skin happy. (When using a humidifier, use caution if incorporating essential oils, as they can be dangerous for cats!)

Grooming Challenges

Regular grooming is an important part of your cat’s skin and coat health. If she is unable to groom normally, the oils that her skin secretes will build up and dead hair won’t be removed. This causes greasy hair and can lead to mats.Obesity and arthritis are two of the most common reasons for a cat to not groom herself adequately. Overweight cats are physically unable to bend to reach their entire bodies, and arthritic cats may experience pain when doing so. Even young adult cats will stop grooming if they are sick and don’t feel well.Help your cat by assisting with grooming until she is able to do it on her own again. Brush your cat once a day, especially in hard-to-reach areas like her back end, belly, and behind her ears. Many cats enjoy being brushed and it is a nice bonding activity. Occasional baths may also be needed to help keep your cat’s hair and skin at its best.

Nutritional Needs

Your cat’s diet plays a role in maintaining skin health. Feeding a low-quality or imbalanced diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies that may lead to dry skin and other health problems. Make sure that your cat’s diet has an AAFCO Statement on the label ensuring that it has the right nutrients for your cat. If you are feeding a home-cooked diet, work with a veterinary nutritionist to make sure that you are providing everything your cat needs.Diets with a higher fat and protein content can be beneficial for skin health. You can also add a fatty acid supplement with omega-3s and omega-6s to your cat’s food to help keep her skin supple and coat shiny. Be cautious when choosing a supplement, as supplements are not subject to the same regulations and oversight as medications. Choose a supplement that has been approved by the National Animal Supplement Council or is recommended by your veterinarian.

Improper Bathing

Thanks to their natural grooming tendencies, most cats only need to be bathed on rare occasions. Bathing too frequently, using a shampoo that was not formulated for cats, or using water that is too warm can all dry out your cat’s skin.For the best results, use an oatmeal-based shampoo that will combat any dryness, use water that is warm but not hot, and rinse thoroughly to remove all shampoo residue. If you find yourself bathing your cat frequently, consult with your veterinarian to make sure a more serious skin condition isn’t the cause.

Parasites and Illnesses

More serious conditions can cause your cat to have dry skin, including parasites like fleas and mites, ringworm, allergies, fungal and bacterial infections, over grooming (an obsessive-compulsive behavior), hyperthyroidism, and diabetes. All of these conditions will have other symptoms present in addition to dry skin.If your cat is experiencing moderate to severe itchiness, red inflamed skin, pustules, crusts, open sores, chronic ear infections, hair loss, weight loss, lethargy, increased drinking and urination, or an abnormal appetite, it is time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Treatment will depend on the condition(s) and symptoms present.

Does Your Cat Have Dry Skin?

Before finding out if your cat has dry skin, it’s best to understand what it is first. Dry skin, or cat dandruff, is a condition that affects the dermal health. Cats with dry skin are characterized by flaky, dryness, and itchiness. For reasons not yet known, dandruff in cats is relatively common.Dandruff on cats will look a lot like human dandruff. It’s mostly dead or damaged skin scaling off, usually due to dryness. Although it’s a nuisance for cats, this disorder isn’t usually a serious issue.However, it should not go ignored by cat owners. If a cat is scratching excessively, it can harm their skin and lead to further damage like open sores and skin infections.

Causes of Dry Skin on Cats

If your cat is continuously itchy, especially if they target the same area, it could be due to dry skin. When you go to pet your cat and notice a ton of dandruff, that’s another sign of dryness. Once you know what is causing your cat’s skin to be dry you can make a plan of action to alleviate it. So, let’s go over some of the common causes of dry skin on cats.

Nutrition

One of the leading causes of dry skin on cats lies around their diet. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, cats require food that is nutritionally balanced and has plenty of fatty acids. Quality cat food has fatty acids like omega 3, which help maintain healthy skin and coats.Low-quality cat food or an overall poor diet can lead to itchiness and dandruff. If you’re unsure of what to look for in your cat’s food, discuss this with your veterinarian. They can direct you towards the optimal complete food choice.It’s essential to keep in mind that any time you change your cat’s food, it can take up to a month to see any results. It’s also best to eliminate giving them any treats so you can better understand how they react to their new food.

Hydration

Another cause of dryness might be because of an extreme loss of natural oils in the skin and overall loss of skin moisture.Lack of hydration can cause a cat’s skin to reflect dryness immediately. Other things like dry air and sunburn can also cause cats to lose moisture in their skin quickly.

Health

For some cats, their dry skin problems might be due to feline diabetes. Overweight cats have more trouble grooming certain areas of their body, which can cause dry spots on their skin.

Allergies

Most people believe that cats are independent and carefree. For the most part, this is true but cats are prone to stress just like we are. Cats get anxiety and they can stress for a number of reasons and any form of stress can have negative effects on the body, skin, and coat. A cat suffering from stress may start to experience irritation, itchiness, inflammation, or dryness of the skin. Some of the most common causes of stress in cats are:

Parasites

Feline dandruff might also occur because of certain parasites cats can get. Parasites include fleas, mites, intestinal worms, or ringworms. When fleas or mites bite your cat, it can trigger an allergic reaction on their skin. This can lead to excessive scratching and dandruff. Luckily there are several home remedies to get rid of fleas and other parasites if your cat has this problem.

Symptoms of Dry Skin on Cats

One of the more apparent signs your cat might have dry skin is continually itching and in the same area. If a cat scratches restlessly and targets the same area, it could indicate they have a dry patch of skin there. Sometimes the scratching can become so obsessive that it causes hair to become brittle or fall out.Another symptom of cats with dry skin is dandruff or flakes on their fur. Some cats will over-groom themselves in efforts to alleviate their dry skin. Dandruff should not be mistaken for dander. Dander on cats is much smaller and happens as a natural skin shedding process. Dandruff is larger and is dry-looking, scaly skin.White flakes of dandruff are usually noticeable on a cat’s coat. If you have a cat with longer fur, you might need to use a cat comb or brush to see any signs of dandruff. If you see any signs of irritation such as redness or inflammation of the skin, it may signify dryness as well.

Home Remedies for Dry Skin on Cats

Dry skin on cats is nothing to purr about. Luckily for cats, there are a variety of things you can do to get rid of this problem, such as:As we learned earlier, your cat needs a proper diet full of nutrition, vitamins, fatty acids, and adequate protein to sustain good health.Another cat dry skin remedy is to make use of a natural moisturizer. Naturally moisturizing agents, like coconut oil or CBD oil, may have the potential to soothe your cat’s dry spots. Look for moisturizing shampoos or topical applications to use on your precious feline. Natural shampoos with oatmeal or aloe vera can help soothe dryness and irritation.

Use an Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplement

Omega 3 supplements can also provide the natural moisture your cat needs. Omega 3s can help give your feline a thick and shiny coat.

Use Humidifiers to Protect Dry Skin on Cats

If you notice your cat constantly has itchy skin in drier weather, use humidifiers in your home to keep their skin from getting dry.

Promote a Stress-Free Environment

If you suspect your cat is under stress it may be the cause of its dryness. There are several things you can do to help relieve your felines tension. You may just need to spend some more quality time with your pet or incorporate more physical and mental stimulation by implementing some entertaining cat activities. There are also many types of calming treats for cats, these treats are specifically created to promote relaxation.This might not be a “home remedy” exactly, but it can help you determine how to best proceed and what solutions to use. If you suspect that your cat has an allergy, ask your vet for a test. They should be able to pinpoint the source of their allergies, so you can get started on a plan that works best for your cat’s dry skin. When in doubt, visit your veterinarian for the best advice.Dry skin is a common concern for cat owners and their cats but most of the time it can be treated easily. So, if you love your cat, you should not let their dry skin go untreated. Home remedies for dry skin may help cats get relief, but what about preventing it from happening in the first place?

Preventing Dry Skin on Cats

Now that you better understand the causes and symptoms of your cat’s dry skin, it makes the whole problem easier to get rid of. The most common causes of dry skin include allergies, poor diet, dry weather, and parasites. The obvious thing here would be preventing all those from happening.Being a proactive cat owner is probably the best method to eliminate all these, while also ensuring your cat is healthy all around. Monitoring your cat’s behavior and taking action can reduce a lot of their discomfort and further health issues.

Can CBD Oil Help Dry Skin on Cats?

You’ve probably heard of all the ways people are using CBD for themselves and their pets. Cannabinoids, like CBD, can interact with the endogenous endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short. Surprisingly, every mammal has an ECS, this includes us and our cats.Since CBD is non-toxic and nonpsychoactive it’s no surprise several companies have begun creating pet-specific CBD products. As it’s risen in popularity, CBD has helped countless people and pets calm nervousness, tension, discomfort, and it may even help with certain skin problems.Dry skin usually symbolizes that something is out of balance. CBD may promote homeostasis and possibly restore overall balance through interaction with the ECS. If you want to use CBD oil or a CBD topical make sure you do not apply it to any open wounds.One of the best ways to calm a cat’s skin with CBD is to add some to your cat’s daily diet. Ingesting CBD will allow the cannabinoids to interact with the ECS. Research suggests that the ECS plays a major role in skin health. If your cat is prone to dryness, adding CBD to the diet may help to keep the skin supple.As we discussed earlier, a natural home remedy for feline dandruff includes using a natural moisturizing agent. Since CBD oil acts as a natural moisturizer, it can help soothe your cat’s dry skin and reduce the chances of dandruff and long term itchiness.