Why Does My Dog Have Dry Skin and What Can I Do?

There are many reasons for dry skin in dogs: anything from poor food to a fungal infection can be involved.

Similar to humans, dogs can get dry skin, which can lead to dandruff, for example. In severe cases, the vet also speaks of seborrhea.

There are many causes of dry skin in dogs, and symptoms can vary widely. It is best to seek the advice of a veterinarian who can thoroughly examine your dog.

Causes of Dry Skin in Dogs

There are many different causes that can lead to dry skin in dogs. In part, it can be simple things like poor nutrition and a lack of omega-3 fatty acids, but dry skin can also be a sign of more profound ailments.

These include a weak immune system and hormonal disorders, such as an underactive thyroid and Cushing’s disease. But allergies or skin problems, for example, due to parasites, fungi, or bacterial infections, can also be triggers.

If a veterinarian has ruled out all of these causes, dry skin is sometimes also due to too frequent washing.

It is best to consult a veterinarian as most of these ailments can only be resolved with prescription drugs or shampoos.

Causes of Dry, Flaky Skin in Dogs

If your dog has dry skin paired with dandruff, it may also be due to an underlying skin infection or disease that should be determined by a veterinarian.

If your dog has dandruff, daily combing can remove it. In this way, you distribute the natural fats of the coat and moisturize the skin at the same time.

Why Does My Dog Have Dry, Flaky Skin and Scabs?

If your dog has dry, flaky skin combined with scabbing, this is most often the sign of an underlying infection. The most common cause of infection is parasites, particularly from fleas, but fungus and bacterial infections can also cause dandruff.

To find out if your dog has fleas, you can rub off your dog’s fur with a white paper towel. If you see small spots or speckles on it afterward, put a drop of water on it.

If the speckle leaves a red or brown stain, it is most likely flea droppings. The fleas are often not seen on the dog, as 95 percent of the fleas only live in the vicinity of the host animal.

Regardless of whether fleas are the cause of your dog’s scaly and scabbed skin, you should consult a veterinarian, because scaly skin is usually very uncomfortable for dogs and should therefore be treated.

Why Does My Dog Have Dry Skin and Lose Fur?

If your dog has dry, flaky skin and is also losing hair, there are two possible causes. First of all, dry skin could lead to skin inflammation that damages the hair follicles and thus causes hair loss.

The second reason could be that your dog becomes uncomfortable and licks or scratches the area badly, which can lead to injury and hair loss. The vet will determine the cause and the right treatment to help relieve your dog’s discomfort.

Dry Skin in Dogs: What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of dry skin in dogs vary from case to case. Sometimes the skin becomes red or cracked, which is common on the paws in particular. Sometimes the skin becomes flaky and the scales settle in the fur. Sometimes scabs also form on the skin.

Severe cases of flaking can also lead to seborrhea. This happens when there is an overproduction of the sebum glands and the coat becomes greasy. Sometimes dry skin can be itchy and very annoying to your dog, but this is not always the case.

What to Do About Dry Skin in Dogs?

To treat dry skin in dogs, the first thing to do is to identify the cause. To do this, a veterinarian will carry out various tests to find the right treatment method.

In the event of a skin infection, your dog will need antibiotics or antiparasitic treatment. If you have an allergy, anti-inflammatory therapy is necessary and the allergen must be determined. If the cause is a systemic disease, such as Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism, your dog will need medication on a daily basis.

If your dog has dry skin, the first thing to do is to see a veterinarian find out the cause. Then, in addition to the prescribed treatment, you can apply care products to the skin to improve the condition of the skin.

Spot-On for dogs with dry skin

For dry skin, spot-on products that contain ceramides and fatty acids (omega oils) usually help to restore the skin’s protective layer. There are also shampoos that your vet can prescribe that are moisturizing and soothing.

In any case, you should consult a veterinarian about the choice of dog shampoo, as many shampoos further dry out the skin.

Dog Has Dry Skin: Home Remedies That Will Help

There are also a few home remedies that will help treat dry skin in addition to the veterinarian’s prescribed treatment. For example, you can add omega oil to the food to strengthen the layers of the skin and reduce inflammation of the skin.

A ratio of 3: 1 omega-6 to omega-3 is ideal. There are natural dog supplements that contain this ratio. You can also add flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil, or coconut oil to your dog’s food.

Soothing shampoos containing oats or salicylic acid can also help.

The Dog Has Dry Skin: Olive Oil as a Home Remedy?

A common remedy for dry skin in dogs is olive oil. Add up to two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil to meals for a medium-sized dog twice a day. This is safe for your dog and contains fatty acids, also known as omega oils, which build protective barriers in the skin and help reduce inflammation.

However, olive oil is not designed for curing skin conditions and does not contain the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 (3: 1). There are definitely better omega oil products that provide better support for the dog’s skin.

In addition, extra virgin olive oil is expensive and you can get more effective and cheaper products from your veterinarian or specialist store.

Dry Skin in Dogs: Coconut Oil as a Home Remedy?

You can apply small amounts of coconut oil directly to your dog’s skin to soothe them. Spread a small amount in the palms of your hands and massage it into your dog’s fur and skin.

You can leave small amounts of coconut oil on your dog’s skin as it will either be absorbed or worn away throughout the day. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer that soothes the skin.

Caution: Applying too much could make the coat greasy and make the problem worse. Therefore, you should always discuss the use of coconut oil with your veterinarian first.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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