Diagnosing Dry Skin in Dogs

Dry skin in dogs occurs for a number of different reasons. The various causes of this condition may be mild and temporary, or they may range up to serious and potentially fatal diseases. Because of this, it is important that you not ignore dry skin, which may otherwise appear to be a relatively mild and unimportant adverse health condition. Proper diagnosis of your pet's condition is crucial in order to provide him with the appropriate treatment that he requires. React quickly by taking your dog to a veterinarian as soon as you recognize dry skin or any other symptoms.

Take Note of Concurrent Symptoms

One of the most important things that you can do to help your veterinarian to promptly diagnose the cause of your dog's dry skin is to accurately note all concurrent symptoms that occur alongside the dry skin issue itself. At the first sign of dry skin, check your dog for signs of other physical ailments or problems. Note when those other symptoms began and how their severity has changed over time. Take note also of any behavioral changes that you've seen in your pet. All of this information will prove useful to your veterinarian as he attempts to make a diagnosis.

Veterinary Diagnosis

After having taken note of your pet's other symptoms, take him to the veterinarian for a complete examination and diagnosis. The diagnostic procedure typically begins with a full physical examination, during which your vet will closely inspect your pet for any other symptoms or signs of particular diseases and conditions. He will also take note of your vet's prior medical history and any medications or other supplements that you have given your dog recently.

Because dry skin may be caused by mites, your veterinarian may continue by conducting a skin scraping or stool sample. These tests can be helpful in determining whether your pet's dry skin is a result of parasites or rather if it's been caused by some other condition. A skin scraping can also help to determine if the dry skin condition is a result of an infection of some kind.

If a skin scraping or stool sample proves insufficient to fully determine the cause of your pet's dry skin, your vet may continue by conducting allergy tests. Canine allergies are relatively common and contribute to a number of different symptoms affecting the skin. In order to test for a food allergy or an airborne allergic reaction, your vet will request a number of different allergy injection tests. In these procedures, a small amount of a common allergen is injected into your pet's skin, and the resulting reaction helps to determine whether your pet suffers from a sensitivity or an allergic reaction to the substance.

In some cases, dry skin is caused by other, more harmful diseases and conditions. In these cases, your veterinarian may need to conduct additional tests beyond the ones described above. These may include blood samples and other related analyses. Once you and your vet have determined the cause of your dog's dry skin, you can work together to plan a proper treatment procedure.