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Dry Skin on Dogs

Dry skin on dogs can be a serious skin condition that requires a diagnostic procedure to determine the exact causes of the problem. It’s really frustrating thing both for the dogs and their owners as dry skin makes the dog feel uncomfortable and excessively itchy which worsens the situation even further.

How to Treat Dry Skin on Dogs

To treat dry skin on dogs, one must first identify the causes and symptoms of dry skin.  The procedures for diagnosing skin conditions are time-consuming so as an owner, you need to be very patient while the vets try to get at the bottom of it.  Below are some tips on getting to the bottom of finding the causes for your dog’s dry skin.

While our blog’s mascot is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these tips apply for any breed.

Allergies

While at first it might not seem as a big deal, it can turn out that the dog’s dry skin is just one of the many symptoms associated with some serious diseases. Allergic conditions such as seasonal and environmental allergies (dust, pollen, grass, and feathers), food allergies and FAD (Flea Allergic Dermatitis) can all contribute to the development of dry itchy skin on dogs.

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Atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis is inflammation of the skin due to the exposure to the allergens and manifests with itching, redness and, you guessed it, dry skin. In order to prevent this from occurring, your vet will perform series of tests or elimination diet (in case of food borne allergies) to identify the primal cause and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. FAD and food allergies are easier to detect and treat, while environmental allergies are a bit trickier.

Shampoos and a change in diet can help address issues with dry skin on dogs.

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Parasites

Parasite skin infestations are among the most frequent causes for dry skin on dogs. Mange is a condition caused by one of three possible species of parasites (demodex canis, sarcoptes scabiei and cheyletiella). Although the symptoms are similar there tend to be differences in manifestation and localization which a vet can detect.

For example demodex infestations aren’t itchy and have different localization compared to the other two. Cheyletiella appears as ‘walking dandruff’ and scabies is the itchiest of them all, also easily transmittable to other dogs. Symptoms of skin parasites are hair loss, redness, pustules, and itching, dry flaky skin on dogs.

Treatment consists of anti-parasitic drugs and the protocol depends on which type of parasite is identified with skin-scraping.

Shampoos can also help address demodex infestations on dogs.

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Skin Infections

Skin infections are a result of bacterial and fungal overgrowth. They result in circular lesions and pustules on the skin; the skin loses its integrity and becomes dry, smelly and crusted. Ringworm is a type of fungal infection transmissible to humans so you have to be very careful when you notice dry skin on your dog.

According to clinical signs and skin scraping cytology the vet will determine the best treatment protocol which is usually accompanied by baths with medical shampoos and oral antibiotics/antifungals.

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Other Primary Disorders

Some hormonal diseases such as hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism can all lead to dry skin on your dog. Cancers and some auto-immune diseases (Pemphigus foaliaceus) are also accompanied with various skin conditions.

External factors that can cause dry skin on dogs are extremely cold or extremely cold weather, frequent bathing, and inadequate dog shampoos. Poor nutrition can also lead to dry skin because the body suffers from nutritional deficiencies and the skin doesn’t have enough material to renew all of its layers. With any case of dry skin on your dog make sure you consult with your veterinarian.

Related Articles

See more of our relevant and related articles on treating your dog’s dry skin condition.

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2 comments

  1. we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of my dog’s itchy skin for the longest time. it eventually disappeared with the help of coconut and salmon oil, given on a consistent basis. grooming is also very important.

  2. Try coconut oil on their skin

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