Dog Skin Dry and Flaky

A dog’s skin will be dry and flaky due to several causes. Sometimes the problem can be solved by changing the dog's shampoo or making slight changes in his diet, while some other times dry and flaky skin can mean that the dog is suffering from a serious underlying condition.

Conditions Which Can Cause Skin to Be Dry and Flaky in Dogs

Dogs can have dry and flaky skin and shed skin flakes similar to dandruff. This may be normal to a certain extent, but may also be because of numerous health conditions. Observe your dog carefully to see whether other symptoms are associated with the skin being dry and flaky:

  • Seborrhea causes the coat to be excessively dry or oily; there will be some scratching and possibly hair loss. Antiseborrheic shampoos and fatty acid supplements can solve the problem if there is no underlying condition, such as hypothyroidism or allergies.
  • Mange (sarcoptic or demodectic) is characterized by intense itching, biting and scratching resulting in hair loss, crusts, papules and scales. After diagnosing sarcoptic mange by microscopic examination of skin scrapings, the veterinarian will probably prescribe Amitras dips and Ivermectin.
  • Flea allergy dermatitis is a condition that is due to the fact that the dog is allergic to the saliva of the parasites. In addition to severe itching, hair loss, crusts, papules and scales, there might also be hot spots or secondary infection.  Flea control is the long-term solution for this. The itching will be relieved with steroids and antihistamines.
  • Cushing's disease is signaled by dry flaky skin, black heads, seborrhea, hyperpigmentation, easy bruising, increased thirst and urination.
  • Hypothyroidism is the most common condition resulting in skin changes in dogs. Hair loss, seborrhea as well as secondary bacterial infections may appear. Obesity and lethargy are often associated with this condition.
  • Impetigo usually occurs in puppies. It usually affects small circular areas where scaling will be present as well as pustules and crusts. Topical solutions or shampoos can solve the problem if it is not severe. In more serious cases antibiotics are prescribed as well.

Other Causes of Skin Becoming Dry and Flaky

Dogs have very sensitive skin, so, even if there is no underlying health condition causing dry skin, the skin may also be flaky and itchy. Common causes may include:

  • The shampoo you are using is too harsh. The shampoo removes the essential oils from the skin and it becomes irritable.
  • The dog's diet does not provide all necessary nutrients. Lack of fatty acids can result in dry, flaky skin.
  • Allergens in the dog's environment. Your dog can be allergic to plants or other substances you keep in your house or in the yard. Try to spot the cause and eliminate it, if possible.

Home Remedies for Dry and Flaky Skin

A possible home remedy for dry skin is olive oil. Add 1 spoon of olive oil to the dog's food 2 or 3 times a week.

Oatmeal in the form of paste is effective in soothing dry, itchy skin. Mix water and oatmeal to make a thick paste. Applied daily, this remedy should improve your dog's skin condition.