Symptoms of Dry Skin on Dogs

Dog dry skin is more frequent during the winter season, as dogs have sensitive skin which is prone to dryness, flaking and itching. Dry skin on dogs may also be caused by an imbalanced diet, parasites or skin infections. It’s helpful to be aware of the symptoms of dry skin, so as to be able to detect the underlying cause and get treatment in a timely manner.

Symptoms of Dry Skin

The most visible symptom of dry skin is itchiness. The skin will be irritated and the dog will scratch, chew and lick his skin, sometimes to extremes, causing bleeding and severe wounds. Your dog may also rub himself against furniture or walls, leaving traces. A dog with dry skin will also be flaking and have a rough skin. Hair loss may also be present, due to the obsessive itching and scratching.

Possible Causes of Dry Skin

Dry skin on dogs may be caused by several factors or medical conditions:

  • Cool weather and wind will dry the dog’s skin and he'll be unable to produce a sufficient amount of essential oils
  • Parasites such as fleas, mites or mange
  • Poor diet; your dog will be deprived of the essential nutrients and will not be able to secrete the necessary amount of oils needed for a normal skin
  • Unsuitable shampoo can dry a more sensitive skin
  • Fungal and bacterial infections that will cause skin pH imbalance
  • Excessive grooming habits
  • Excessive bathing can clear away the essential oils secreted by the skin, and these are needed to maintain a healthy pH and balanced skin
  • Thyroid diseases will cause an abnormal secretion of sebum
  • Allergies (food, inhalant or contact allergies)

Treating Dog Dry Skin

The treatment of dry skin on dogs depends on the underlying cause.

Change the dog’s shampoo to an all-natural brand formulated for sensitive skin, and make sure that your dog won’t bathe more than 2 times per month. When you groom him, you can use a moist cloth to remove debris and other impurities from his skin. You can purchase a special after-grooming lotion that will moisturize the dog’s skin.

There are also rinses that contain cortisone, which can alleviate the itchiness and reduce irritation. A topical ointment containing steroids may be employed, but only if the vet recommends these.

If dry skin is caused by parasites, there are anti-parasitic shampoos available. Meanwhile, you should eliminate all the parasites from the dog’s fur and environment to prevent a re-infection.

Changing your dog’s diet can also help the condition of his skin. Ask your vet to recommend you a diet that contains all the essential nutrients for dogs. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements can balance the pH of the dog’s skin.

If the dry skin is caused by wind, dry weather or pollens and grasses, you should reduce your pet’s exposure to these. During winter, put a jacket on your dog or keep him indoors.