Common Causes of Dry Skin in Dogs

Updated: August 02, 2022

Dry skin in dogs is one of the most common pet parent problems. A dog with dry skin licks, scratches or bites himself, sometimes to the point of inflicting wound or injury. He may also rub himself against the floor or against your home furniture.

Dogs with dry skin can be uncomfortable and itchy. But, there are things you can do to help relive itchy dog skin. Here, we've come up with a list of the symptoms, the common causes of dry skin in dogs and how to prevent & manage them.

Causes of Dry Skin in Dogs

Dogs with Dry Skin Due to Allergies

Just like us, our furbabies experience allergies, too! It can be caused by a number of allergens including dust, pollens, medications, smoke, grain, grass, or food. These allergies then cause dry, flaky skin in a dog.

"Just like us, our furbabies experience allergies, too! It can be caused by dust, pollens, medications, smoke, and food."

Fleas, Mites, and Mange

Bites from parasites (fleas and mites) can greatly irritate your dog's skin and cause it to become inflamed and dried out. It is because your dog develops an allergic reaction to the parasite's saliva.

Poor Diet

A diet that is of low quality is not able to provide your dog the right and proper amount of minerals and nutrients essential to support healthy skin and shiny coat. A healthy dog diet is essential for a healthy skin and coat.

Seasonal Changes

Seasonal changes can also cause dry skin in dogs - cold, windy or warm weather. Indoor cooling and heating systems can also take its toll on your dog's skin and coat health.

Disorders and Diseases

Though you may think dry skin is a simple skin problem, it could be the sign of a deeper illness. Dry skin may mean a bigger problem as a dog’s skin can be a window to their health. Your furbaby's dry skin may be associated with systemic disorders, like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease. These diseases are commonly accompanied by hair loss, skin infections, and dry skin. Other diseases that cause dry skin in dogs, too, include cancer and auto-immune diseases. Take note that these diseases are life-threatening and might show itself in dogs with dry skin.

Irritating Products

Dog shampoos are called dog shampoos for a reason - because they are for dogs. Using human shampoos or applying any human products on your dog's skin can dry it out or worse, irritate it!

Breed-Specific Skin Conditions

All dogs are different, but some breeds are more at risk of developing dry skin than others. Hairless dog breeds are much more prone to several skin conditions. While long-haired dog breeds may develop a condition called zinc-responsive dermatosis which, according to VCA Animal Hospital, is linked with skin lesions that include crusts and scaling around the eyes, mouth, scrotum, lips, and the vulva. Dogs who have zinc-responsive dermatosis may also develop a dry, dull hair coat that may or may not be itchy.

Symptoms of Dry Skin for Dogs

Dog dry skin symptoms can be easy to identify in certain cases. But, not all dogs will scratch excessively. So, look out for these signs of dry skin on dogs.

  • Itchiness
  • Flaky skin or dandruff
  • Pimples or red spots
  • Scabbing
  • Hair loss
  • Inflammation
  • Skin odor
  • Increased oiliness

Some dogs may only exhibit one symptom, while others may show a number of signs of dry skin. Always keep an eye on your furbaby if you begin to notice early signs of dry skin and consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. Dry skin in dogs will require veterinary care and should be treated seriously as it could be the sign of a deeper issue.

dog dry skin, dry skin in dogs, dogs with dry skin

Dog Dry Skin Treatment and Prevention 

Vet first. If you think your dog is experiencing dry skin, visit your vet for proper diagnosis as he will conduct tests because your dog's treatment will greatly depend on what specific allergy your dog has. If your dog's dry skin is because he has a food allergy, a hypoallergenic diet may be prescribed. If your dog's dry skin may be because of fleas and mites, then a flea control product will be suggested, etc.

Treat Allergies

If an allergy is the cause of your dog's itchy skin, then the best dog dry skin treatment is to treat the allergies. Here are some ways how to help dogs with dry skin from allergies:

  • Avoid the allergen
  • Help control or relieve the symptoms
  • Opt for immunotherapy options, like allergy shots
  • Provide allergy medication or supplements
  • Use Pet WiPees™ Dog All Purpose + Allergy wipes daily

Luckily, there are many ways to assist dogs with allergies. From medications to Allergy SoftSupps®. Depending on the severity of the allergy and your vets recommendation, Pet Parents® Allergy SoftSupps® can help to support your dogs immune system, healthy skin, and their response to seasonal allergies. Made with ingredients like Quercetin which helps maintain normal histamine levels and wild alaskan salmon oil, which can help promote a healthy response to seasonal allergies, these dog allergy supplements are a great non-prescription option for allergy support.

You can also wipe away environmental irritants with Pet WiPees™ Dog All Purpose + Allergy wipes. These dog wipes help to moisturize dry and irritated sin while removing allergens from the skin and coat. Plus, with regular use, they can actually help to reduce future reactions.

dogs dry skin, what to do for dogs dry skin

Monitor Quality and Ingredients

Purchase only shampoos and hygiene products that are from proven and trusted brands that can help get rid of parasites and skin irritation in your furbaby. Some low-quality products can just add up to your dog's dry skin condition and may cause more irritation.

Keep Calm and Supplement

See to it that you are supplementing your dog essential fatty acids like our Pet Parents® Skin & Coat SoftSupps® that will help provide your furbaby with healthy nutrients that can bid dry skin goodbye & can promote an overall healthy skin & coat. Our omega dog chews are not only loaded with a proprietary blend of essential ingredients but also has a branded and clinically-proven ingredient, Epax®, which undergoes intense processes that makes it more effective than the basic fish oil for dogs found in other skin dog supplements.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures for Dogs with Dry Skin

Limit the time your dog spends out in the cold or under the sun as this can add up to even drier skin. You also have to constantly brush your dog's coat to be able to remove dead skin & hair and aid in the stimulation of your furbaby's skin's natural oil production.

General Tips for Dog Dry Skin

While some breeds are more prone to dry skin than others, there are a few things you can do to prevent dry skin on dogs:

  • Feed a high-quality diet
  • Use tick prevention methods to prevent infestations
  • Groom your dog regularly
  • Provide allergy medication or supplements
  • Schedule regular vet checkups
  • Learn about your dog’s breed and the skin conditions they are more susceptible to

Dry skin is common in dogs (and to us humans, too!) and as pet parents, a dry skin seen in our furbabies can be too much to handle. But there are effective ways on how to bid the dryness away and make sure that your dog is healthy inside out.

"Limit the time your dog spends out in the cold or under the sun as this can add up to even drier skin."