How To Treat A Dog With Dry Skin

Dog dry skin can be common in a lot of dogs and usually presents itself when they are younger. It is always important to catch and treat dry skin issues when they first occur and to understand what may be causing the dry skin so that there are no ongoing issues and so it doesn’t get worse.

Dry skin for dogs can be a serious issue depending on the cause and can lead to infections, hair loss and pain for the dog. Dry skin is a common issue which most people won’t know when they first get a dog so it can be worrying, thankfully there are many ways to treat this.

Signs Of Dog Dry Skin

Dry skin in dogs can manifest in various ways, and observing these signs can help you identify if your dog is experiencing this condition:

  1. Flakiness: One of the most apparent signs is the presence of flaky skin. You may notice small, white flakes on your dog’s fur, particularly when you brush or pet them.
  2. Itching and Scratching: Dry skin often leads to itching and scratching. If your dog seems to be scratching more than usual or is constantly licking certain areas, it could indicate discomfort caused by dry skin.
  3. Redness and Irritation: Dry skin may cause redness and irritation on your dog’s skin. Look out for any inflamed areas, especially around the ears, belly, and paws.
  4. Dandruff: Similar to humans, dogs can also develop dandruff when their skin is dry. If you notice small, white flakes on your dog’s fur or bedding, it could be a sign of dry skin.
  5. Hair Loss: Dry skin may lead to excessive shedding or hair loss in certain areas. Keep an eye out for bald patches or thinning of the coat, especially if accompanied by other symptoms of dry skin.
  6. Scabs and Crusts: In severe cases, dry skin can lead to the formation of scabs or crusts on the skin. These may be accompanied by bleeding or oozing, indicating skin irritation and inflammation.
  7. Changes in Coat Texture: Dry skin can affect the overall texture of your dog’s coat. It may become dull, rough, or brittle, losing its natural shine and softness.
  8. Restlessness or Discomfort: If your dog seems restless or uncomfortable, constantly licking or biting at their skin, it could be a sign of dryness and irritation. This also includes making noises when they are scratching themselves, which is an indication dry skin may be causing pain.
  9. Frequent Baths: Over-bathing or using harsh shampoos can strip your dog’s skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness. If you notice your dog’s skin becoming dry after baths, it may be a sign to adjust your bathing routine.

There are various ways a dog may indicate they have dry skin and it’s important to note down all these symptoms before treatment to ensure they have the treatment needed.

What Can Cause Dogs To Have Dry Skin?

Dry skin in dogs can have various underlying causes, including:

  1. Environmental Factors: Dry air, especially during winter months or in homes with central heating or air conditioning, can deplete moisture from the air, leading to dry skin in dogs. This is why it’s important to keep your dog hydrated.
  2. Allergies: Dogs can develop allergies to environmental factors such as pollen, dust mites, mould, or certain ingredients in their food. Allergic reactions can manifest as dry, itchy skin.
  3. Dietary Issues: Poor nutrition or a lack of essential fatty acids in your dog’s diet can contribute to dry skin. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are crucial for maintaining healthy skin and coat.
  4. Parasites: Fleas, ticks, and mites can irritate your dog’s skin, leading to dryness, itching, and inflammation. Some dogs may also develop allergic reactions to flea saliva, exacerbating skin dryness.
  5. Bathing Too Frequently: Over-bathing your dog or using harsh shampoos can strip away natural oils from their skin, leading to dryness and irritation.
  6. Underlying Health Conditions: Certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, or autoimmune disorders can affect your dog’s skin health, leading to dryness and other dermatological issues.
  7. Age: Older dogs may experience dry skin as part of the natural aging process. As dogs age, their skin becomes less efficient at retaining moisture.
  8. Genetics: Some dog breeds are more predisposed to dry skin than others. Breeds with short coats or those prone to allergies may be more susceptible to skin dryness.
  9. Medications: Certain medications or topical treatments may have side effects that include dry skin as a symptom.

How To Treat Dog Dry Skin At Home

Treating your dog’s dry skin at home can help alleviate discomfort and improve their skin health. However, treating dog dry skin at home can also save a fortune and if it stops dry skin you won’t have to pay out for vet expenses. Here are some tips for treating dog dry skin at home:

  1. Regular Bathing: Bathe your dog using a mild, moisturising shampoo specifically formulated for dogs with dry or sensitive skin. Avoid using harsh shampoos that can further strip away natural oils. If in doubt consult your vets for advice on the best shampoo or conditioner to use. There are a number of dogs shampoos available, this is one we like on Amazon.
  2. Moisturise: After bathing, apply a moisturising conditioner or oil to your dog’s coat and skin. Coconut oil, olive oil, or specialised pet moisturisers can help hydrate dry skin. Be sure to massage the moisturiser thoroughly into your dog’s skin.
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Add omega-3 fatty acid supplements to your dog’s diet. These supplements can help improve skin health and reduce inflammation associated with dry skin. Consult your veterinarian for the appropriate dosage for your dog. Also include fish into your dogs diet such as fish oil or tuna (in oil) which is a favourite amongst dogs.
  4. Humidify the Air: Increase humidity in your home, especially during dry winter months, by using a humidifier. This can help prevent moisture loss from your dog’s skin and improve overall skin hydration. *Don’t use essential oils in the humidifier, as they can be poisonous to dogs.
  5. Proper Nutrition: Ensure your dog is receiving a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin and coat. Consider switching to a high-quality dog food formulated for skin and coat health if necessary.
  6. Regular Brushing: Brush your dog’s coat regularly to remove dead skin cells, distribute natural oils, and stimulate blood circulation to the skin. Use a soft-bristled brush or grooming mitt to avoid irritating sensitive skin. There are loads to choose from, however, here is one we link from Amazon.
  7. Avoid Irritants: Identify and eliminate potential irritants that may be contributing to your dog’s dry skin. This includes avoiding harsh chemicals, fragrances, and detergents in household cleaners, laundry detergents, and grooming products.
  8. Hydration: Ensure your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Proper hydration is essential for maintaining skin moisture and overall health. It might be a good idea to have more than one water bowl in the house and one in the garden.
  9. Protective Clothing: If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors in harsh weather conditions, consider using protective clothing such as sweaters or coats to shield their skin from cold, wind, and moisture loss.
  10. Consult Your Veterinarian: If your dog’s dry skin persists or worsens despite home remedies, or if you notice any other concerning symptoms such as excessive itching, redness, or skin lesions, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

By following these home care tips, you can help relieve your dog’s dry skin and promote healthier, more comfortable skin and coat. However, if your dog’s condition does not improve or if you notice any signs of infection or other health issues, seek veterinary attention promptly.

How To Treat Dog Dry Skin and Dandruff

Treating dog dry skin and dandruff requires a combination of skincare practices and dietary adjustments. It’s important to keep in mind there are various levels of dandruff and it’s important to ascertain how severe it is before treatment. Here’s how you can effectively address these issues:

  1. Use Moisturising Shampoos: Bathe your dog with a moisturising shampoo designed for dry skin and dandruff. Look for products that contain oatmeal, aloe vera, or moisturising oils like coconut oil or jojoba oil. Avoid shampoos with harsh chemicals or fragrances that can further irritate the skin. You can buy specialised shampoos for dogs from various pet stores and online.
  2. Regular Brushing: Brush your dog’s coat regularly to remove loose hair, dirt, and debris. This helps distribute natural oils throughout the skin and coat, promoting healthier skin and reducing dandruff. Use a soft-bristled brush or grooming mitt to avoid irritating sensitive skin. However, it is important to not over brush as this may irritate your dogs skin further.
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements: Add omega-3 fatty acid supplements to your dog’s diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help improve skin hydration and reduce inflammation, which can alleviate dry skin and dandruff. Fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements are excellent sources of omega-3s for dogs. Consult your veterinarian for the appropriate dosage for your dog’s size and breed. Adding fish into your dogs diet such as Tuna and Salmon.
  4. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s skin health and overall well-being. Your vet can provide guidance on the best skincare practices and recommend treatments tailored to your dog’s specific needs. They can also identify any underlying health issues that may be contributing to dry skin and dandruff.

By following these steps and providing proper care and nutrition, you can effectively treat your dog’s dry skin and dandruff, promoting healthier skin and a happier, more comfortable pet. If your dog’s condition persists or worsens despite home remedies, consult your veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment.

How To Treat Dog Dry Skin In Winter

Treating dog dry skin in winter requires special attention due to the cold, dry air and other factors that can exacerbate skin issues. Here’s how you can effectively address and prevent dry skin in your dog during the winter months:

  1. Humidify Indoor Air: Use a humidifier indoors to add moisture to the air, especially if you use central heating, which can dry out the air in your home. Increasing humidity levels helps prevent moisture loss from your dog’s skin which can cause fur loss as well. It also reduces the risk of dryness and irritation.
  2. Protective Clothing: If your dog spends time outdoors in cold weather, consider using protective clothing such as sweaters or coats to shield their skin from the cold, wind, and moisture loss. If you have a smaller dog it might be wise to use a body suit when they are sleeping especially if it gets very cold where you are located. This can help prevent dry skin and irritation caused by exposure to harsh winter conditions.
  3. Limit Exposure to Harsh Elements: Limit your dog’s exposure to harsh winter elements. If you are walking them make sure they have a coat and possibly shoes if your area is gritted often as grit and salt and damage your dogs paws and skin.
  4. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: If needed and if the condition doesn’t go then it’s important to see your dogs vets on a regular basis, such as once every 6 months.

If you want to reduce your dogs dry skin these are perfect ways you can do this. However, they don’t always work and it’s important to keep your dogs health in mind and seek a vets perspective if needed.

How To Treat Dog With Dry Skin

There are many ways you can treat your dog with dry skin although here are some of the top ways we suggest. They don’t work for everyone but it’s important to try them before seeing your vet in case the problem can be resolved at home and it can save a lot of money in the long term.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements: Add omega-3 into your dogs diet. Find out what fish products they like and make sure they have enough. Dogs do not create these acids on their own so it’s important to add them into their diet. Tuna seems to be a firm favourite amongst our dogs at the Paw Institute.
  • Protective Clothing: Protective clothing is important, especially in cold environments. Ensure they have coats, shoe and when they are at home make sure they have places they can curl up under blankets so that they can keep warm.
  • Hydration: Always make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water. Just like humans, hydration can have a huge impact on the skin and can stop skin from getting dry and damaged.
  • Consult Your Vets: You don’t always have to pay for an appointment to get advice from your vet. Give them a ring and ask for advice. They are able to give you the information you need and it will be specific to your dogs breed as well. So if you have a Jack Russell you can treat them and not give them treatments that are suited to larger dogs like Alsatians.

Hopefully there is enough information in this article to help you with your dogs dry skin and always seek medical advice from your vets if you are unsure or if your home treatments aren’t working.

There is a lot of advice on the market and people in similar situations post online so check what others have to say that are in the same boar. You can also get book such as the Dog Care Handbook that has loads of important advice and information on dry skin and other conditions your dog may get.

Are there any ways you use to tackle your dogs dry skin? Let us know and we’ll have to take a look and possibly add them to this post for people to see. At the end of the day your dog is your best pal so you want to make sure they are feeling fit and healthy.