Is there a supplement (ie. fish oil) that I can
give my 22 lb. Shiba for his dry, itchy skin? He
just started itching about 2 weeks ago and his
scratching is not concentrated on any specific
part of his body.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds help with a number of problems, including dry, itchy skin. Special veterinary omega-3 preparations are available, and they generally work better than over-the-counter fish oils.
Omega-3 supplements are natural and generally safe (although they rarely cause upset stomach and weight gain). Unfortunately, they are not especially potent. I recommend them for my itchy patients. But they rarely work out as a sole treatment for itching. Unfortunately, in my experience omega-3s are the most effective natural anti-itch dietary supplement.
Itching in pets is usually caused by allergies. The most common allergies are to fleas, environmental agents (pollen, mold spores, detergents, and many others), and food. Of these, fleas are the number one offender by a long shot.
If your Shiba is not on a high-quality flea preventative, I would recommend that as the next step–even if he doesn’t have fleas. If the itching is severe and causing reduced quality of life, then a trip to the vet is in order.