11 Signs of Dry Skin on Dogs

itchy dog

Dry skin on dogs is a result of an allergic, parasitic or bacterial reaction to the environment, nutrition, or season, causing dogs to scratch, rub-up, bite or lick excessively. Signs of dry skin include flaky, red or dandruff patches that can become irritated or sensitive to touch.

Dry skin is uncomfortable for a dog and may indicate it’s time to visit your veterinarian to help make sure he is healthy and happy. There are many causes for why a dog has dry skin and signs of a skin issue may include:

  1. Excessive scratching, biting or licking
  2. Frequently rubbing his face or body against furniture and carpeting.
  3. Scabs
  4. Scaly patches
  5. Hot spots
  6. Flakes
  7. Bald patches
  8. Rashes
  9. Lumps
  10. Lesions
  11. Skin discoloration

Which allergens cause dry skin on dogs?

Dogs, like humans, are sensitive to their environment, parasite and bacterial infections. When a dog has dry skin, it can be an indication of an allergy or illness, which changes the skin and coat condition.

Recurring dryness can be prevented with the right treatment before it becomes a long-term problem. When a dog shows signs of dry skin, understanding where the problem begins is the key to the best treatment plan for your pet.

Causes for dry skin on dogs

ParasiticFleas, lice, Sarcoptes scabiei miteMange
SeasonalChanges in weatherFlaky, dry skin or moist eczema
Fungal infectionRingworm and yeastNumerous skin issues
BehavioralStress, boredom, and anxietyLicking, hair loss, skin infections
NutritionalFoodItching or rashes
HormonalDisorders or fluctuationsNumerous skin issues
EnvironmentalCleaning or grooming productsChews on paws, constant licking
BacteriaExcessively licking skinTender, red patches, hair loss
Yeast infectionChewing on the skin, mostly pawsOily or scaly skin, body odor

Dog dry skin: Treatment

A clinical exam is needed to identify the cause of a dog’s skin problems. If your dog is showing signs of a skin disorder, have a veterinarian check him out and provide next steps to a treatment plan.

A professional diagnosis of what’s causing the irritation helps to isolate specific allergens that need to be avoided or managed, as well ensure the appropriate treatment that could include topical or oral medications to help ease any discomfort.

How to prevent dog dry skin

The most common cause of dry skin is dehydration. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, clean water and is drinking throughout the day.

The best way to prevent dry skin is to maintain your dog’s coat and skin so that it’s healthy and he is comfortable in it. Take a look at some of the easy ways to prevent dry skin on dogs.

  • Be sure to use a flea and tick preventive.
  • Use hypoallergenic dog shampoo when grooming him, and pet-friendly solutions when cleaning your home.
  • Ensure his dog food has no artificial ingredients and consider a supplement or specialty food containing essential fatty acids.
  • Keep him away from other dogs who may be exhibiting signs of ringworm.
  • Brush his coat frequently.
  • Keep your home humidified.

Learn more about dog health from experts.  Subscribe to the Petfinder Newsletter.