Q. I have a 5-year-old Yorkshire Terrier that has a very oily coat. I can bathe her and two days later her coat is oily again. I have tried every kind of shampoo there is for oily hair and have even tried bathing her in dish soap, recommended by a vet dermatologist. Nothing seems to help. Is this a normal condition for some dogs, or is there something going on in her body that I am not aware of? She does have thyroid problems and is on thyroid medication. Could that cause it?
A. The skin and coat of your dog provide clues to her health. Since she has thyroid problems and is on a medication for them, her symptoms should eventually resolve themselves but she will need periodic blood tests to check how she is responding and adjust her dosage if need be. It’s the thyroid condition, not the medication, that makes her greasy, and she probably has some flaking too.
It is somewhat unusual for such a young dog to exhibit this problem. In addition to her meds, try a dietary change and offer some supplements as well. We have seen dramatic changes in skin, coat, and vitality after owners adjusted their dogs’ diets. Consult with your vet to find a food that may be suitable for your pet. She may also benefit from supplements. Omega fatty acids, vitamin E, and salmon oil can work wonders for dogs with skin and coat problems.
As to a shampoo to get rid of that grease, I think the dish detergent might make matters worse for your dog. Household products are usually too harsh for use on dogs. In the salon, we use a de-greasing shampoo with the consistency of cold cream that comes in a jar. It is so safe and effective that I have used it on a Poodle puppy that had motor oil spilled on him. It is even used by wildlife rescuers on animals after oil spills.