Dog Dry Skin

How to Deal With Dog Dry Skin: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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See our advertising disclosure.

What Is Dog Dry Skin?

How to Deal With Dog Dry Skin: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Dog dry skin is a common skin condition that affects dogs. It’s characterized by excessive scaling and flaking of the skin, redness and irritation, itching, and hair loss. Allergies and poor dog food (nutrition) can cause dry skin.

What does Dry Skin on Dog Look Like?

Dog dry skin usually appears as flaky patches or scaly skin that may feel rough to the touch. The color of the skin may vary depending on the type of dry skin your dog has.

Some dogs with dry skin have no symptoms, while others might constantly itch or develop severe scaling. In severe cases, your dog may develop lesions and open sores that weep a clear fluid on his body.

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What Are Some Causes of Dry Skin in Dogs?

The main cause of dog dry skin is a lack of skin moisture. Dog dry skin and low skin moisture can be the result of:

  • Age. Dogs with age-related health problems such as kidney disease and diabetes tend to have more dry skin problems than younger dogs because their bodies don’t produce as much oil to keep their skin healthy.
  • Weather. Dry weather conditions also contribute to dry skin in dogs because they make it harder to sweat toxins from their bodies via paws and pants. This causes an increase in bacteria growth in exposed areas where the fur isn’t present anymore (like paws and the nose), which can lead to skin infections.
  • Environmental Factors. Extreme temperatures and low humidity can dry your dog’s skin and make it appear flaky or scaly. Exposure to sun or wind can dehydrate your dog’s skin and make it appear scaly and cracked.
  • Health Problems. Some of the most health issues causing dog dry skin are allergies (atopic dermatitis and food sensitivities), bacterial infections, fungal infections (ringworm), hormonal imbalance (Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism), and parasitic infestations (fleas, mange, or ticks).

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Skin in Dogs?

The symptoms of dog dry skin are:

  • Scaling, crusting, or flaking on your dog’s coat surface — especially behind the ears or around his nose, mouth, and eyes
  • Redness or irritation in affected areas
  • Chewing their toes
  • Dry patches that may bleed when scratched or picked at by your pet
  • Flaky dandruff-like particles in the fur around your dog’s neck, shoulders, armpits, and tail area
  • Itchy skin may be more noticeable during certain seasons, such as summer.

What Breeds are Prone to Dry Skin?

Any dog breed can develop dry skin. However, some are more sensitive to the condition than others. Dogs with short hair and those who live in areas with higher humidity are more prone to developing dry skin.

Dogs with short hair coats tend to have less oil in their hair shafts, meaning they absorb more water when wet. The result is that they’re often drier than longer-haired dogs, especially in cold weather.

Dog dry skin is likely to occur in the following short-coated breeds:

  • All Terriers
  • Shar-Pei
  • Bulldogs.

What Are the Best Treatments for Dry Skin in Dogs?

How to Deal With Dog Dry Skin: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

There are many treatments for dog dry skin – some are home remedies, and others are over-the-counter products formulated for dogs.

Aloe Vera for Dog Dry Skin. Aloe vera contains potent anti-inflammatory properties that help calm inflamed skin and reduce the itching sensation.

Apply aloe gel to the affected area twice daily for 15 days. Dog owners can also use fresh aloe vera leaves instead of buying them from stores, as they are more effective than store-bought products.

Coconut oil for Dog Dry Skin. Coconut oil has lauric acid, which helps repair damaged cells in the skin, thereby improving its overall health.

Apply coconut oil to affected areas and massage gently until it gets absorbed into the skin. Repeat this twice daily for 15 days to see results.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Dog Dry Skin. Apple cider vinegar is used as an antiseptic, fungicide, and bactericide. Plus, it can help manage skin issues in dogs.

Add some apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle and mist it onto the affected areas of your dog’s fur so that the solution can penetrate deep down into their skin and hair follicles, where it will work its magic. Repeat this 2-3 times a week until your dog’s skin is completely clear of fleas and ticks.

Olive Oil for Dog Dry Skin. Olive oil has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for many health conditions, including skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin.

If your dog has a dry coat or itchy paws, try rubbing some olive oil into the affected areas before shampooing your dog in the shower or bathtub.

Humidifier for Dog Dry Skin. The air in your home can be very dry in the winter, especially if you don’t heat with forced hot water. A humidifier will help moisturize the dry air. The cool mist from a humidifier can also help to keep your dog’s skin hydrated and healthy.

Honest Paws 5-in-1 Oatmeal Shampoo. Honest Paws 5-in-1 Oatmeal Shampoo is an all-natural and hypoallergenic shampoo. It is the best dog shampoo for sensitive skin. This shampoo cleanses, moisturizes, nourishes, and conditions the coat, leaving it soft and shiny. It also soothes irritated skin and reduces itching.

Honest Paws 5-in-1 Oatmeal Shampoo can be used as a preventative against fleas and ticks and as a treatment for hot spots, rashes, skin allergies, dry skin, and other irritations.

This shampoo is made in the USA and contains only natural ingredients safe for your pet. It does not contain toxic chemicals or additives that could harm your dog’s health.

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Honest Paws Dog Dry Shampoo. Honest Paws Dog Dry Shampoo is a dry shampoo and deodorizer perfect for dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens. It’s great for reducing odors in your pet, and it’s safe to use on all breeds of cats, dogs, and puppies.

Each bottle of Honest Paws Dog Dry Shampoo comes in a size that should last you a long time. This dry shampoo is made with natural ingredients like oatmeal, aloe vera leaf powder, and provitamin b5, making it safe for your pets without causing any harm.

The formula cleans your pet’s coat, leaving it soft and shiny. This shampoo also has a pleasant scent that leaves your dog smelling fresh and clean. This dry dog shampoo can be used on both short- and long-haired dogs.

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Vets Preferred Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for Dogs. Vets Preferred Salmon Oil for Dogs is a pure and natural supplement that can help your furry friend maintain a healthy weight and support joint health.

Salmon oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, essential fats needed by every cell in your dog’s body. These essential fatty acids help keep his coat shiny and reduce allergic reactions while supporting his overall health.

Vets Preferred Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil for Dogs is made from cold-pressed salmon oil and contains no additives or preservatives. This makes it safe for dogs of all ages, including puppies and senior dogs who may have more sensitive digestive systems.

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Natural Dog Company Skin Soother Stick. The Natural Dog Company Skin Soother Stick is a concentrated, all-natural solution that helps heal and soothe skin. The formula contains botanical extracts, vitamin E, and essential oils to help alleviate many common skin ailments in dogs, such as dryness, itchiness, rashes, and irritation.

It’s also suitable for cats and dogs with sensitive skin or allergies who need relief from environmental irritants like pollen, dust mites, and other allergens. The healing properties of this formula include anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling and redness in the skin. This stick can be applied directly to the affected area or mixed with water or lotion to create a soothing spray or ointment.

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Raw Paws Organic Coconut Oil for Dogs. Raw Paws Oil for Dogs is 100% pure and unrefined, making it the perfect solution for your dog’s health. It is made from fresh coconuts. It contains no additives, fillers, or preservatives and is not refined or bleached.

All-natural coconut oil contains lauric acid, a fatty acid known to have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antifungal properties. This can help prevent infections like yeast infections or hot spots.

Coconut oil can also help improve the overall condition of your dog’s skin and coat. It helps maintain healthy skin by promoting cellular regeneration and preventing dryness while providing a shiny coat and softer fur!

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When Should I Be Worried About Dog Dry Skin?

If your dog has dry, flaky skin and no other symptoms, there’s no reason to worry. Dog dry skin is just one of those things that happens to dogs now and again.

But it may be more serious if your dog has other symptoms along with dry skin — such as itching or scratching, redness, sores, or scabs.

How do I Prevent Dry Dog Skin?

There are a few simple things you can do to prevent dog dry skin:

  • High-Quality Diet. Feed a balanced dog’s diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, flax seeds, or other sources of these nutrients that your dog needs. This helps keep the skin moist and healthy by reducing inflammation and irritation.
  • Healthy Hydration. Give your dog plenty of fresh water every day. If your dog doesn’t like water out of his bowl, this could be another reason he has dry skin. Use ice cubes to provide him with more water when needed.
  • Grooming Schedule. Bathe your dog regularly and brush him daily if possible — especially around his ears and tail, where dirt tends to collect and cause irritation. Use only mild soap or shampoo on sensitive areas such as the eyes, nose, and mouth area; rinse thoroughly after washing; then pat him dry instead of rubbing him vigorously with a towel or blow drying him directly into the airflow (which could irritate his skin).