If you want to cure dog dry skin our suggestion is that if the
condition is not severe and your dog is
not in significant discomfort, try some of these home remedy approaches to
cure dog dry skin
first. Home treatment for dry skin in dogs includes nutrition
support, supplementation, bathing, and moisturizing products.
The first thing an owner should do is to rule out underlying causes
such as poor diet. Also make sure your dog is flea free by
monthly flea preventative, as well as a product that prevents
parasites. If your dog is losing fur, or scratching and
see a veterinarian who can rule out allergy as the cause and who can
prescribe the necessary treatment approach. If you ruled out all of the
above, then consider using a coal tar shampoo since this will dissolve
and remove crusting dog skin.
If the condition worsens then see a Veterinarian to determine
skin condition is caused by some other problem such as mange
yeast infections, fungal
Even many of these such as mange, fleas and ringworm can be treated at
home first. A quick call or visit to the Veterinarian never hurts if is
an affordable option for you.
Dog Skin Lesions Caused by
With Itching and Related
Scratching and Biting
What Causes Dog Seborrhea (dry skin with flaking)?
Seborrhea can be a primary condition in rare cases, meaning it
is caused by a dysfunction in your dog's skin cells. The
process of skin cells dying and being replaced by new cells is referred
to as keratinization, where there is a laying down of a keratin layer
the outer surface of the skin cells. A problem or defect in
the keratinization process leads to an overabundance of keratin, which
then causes dog skin itch and flakiness. The dead skin cells are called
dander. Keratinization disorders are also referred to as exfoliative
dermatoses or seborrhea. Any condition that changes the fat or lipids
of the skin, the content of the skin, or that dries the skin will
change that size of packets that are shed, causing scaling or dandruff.
When skin cells are shed normally, they are usually invisible to the
Primary Seborrhea (Genetic)
The most common type of genetically influenced seborrhea is called
Ichthyosis, a type of primary seborrhea. In Ichthyosis the skin becomes
covered with thick greasy scales. Breeds susceptible to Ichthyosis
- West Highland White Terriers
- Jack Russell Terriers
- Golden Retrievers
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
- American Bulldogs
Symptoms include skin odor, or some problem with the skin or coat
(scaly, crusty, waxy, greasy), and skin odor.
Ichthyosis is diagnosed using a skin biopsy. There is no cure and it
can lead to severe infections and other skin problem. Depending on the
severity of the condition, it may be managed with frequent baths and
anti-seborrheic shampoo, topical creams and synthetic retinoids.
There are cases of primary dog seborrhea which is not Ichthyosis. These
cases are also diagnosed with a skin biopsy. Cases are referred
to as being dry (seborrhea sicca), greasy (seborrhea oleosa), or some
combination of the two.
Breeds susceptible to genetic cases of primary seborrhea include:
- Cocker Spaniel
- Labrador Retrievers
- Basset Hound
These cases of primary seborrhea can also be manage with moisturizing
conditions and medicated shampoos. Patients may require baths 2x
to 3x per week until the skin condition is under control. Once
controlled, the number of baths can be reduced. Supplements are
not a cure, but may help to control the condition.
In most cases, dog dry skin or seborrhea is secondary, and is the
result of some type of other dog
or problem. It can be
- A poor or new diet that is not providing enough of those
food components needed for healthy skin. For example, table
scraps and human foods to not provide the proper level of 40 food
components required in a dog's diet. If a diet is too low in fat
it can trigger skin problems. In some cases a dog that is put on a
low-fat diet to control an internal disease or to control weight
results in dull, dry, flaky coat and skin. The condition will improve
when the diet is restored or if a supplement recommended by the
veterinarian is used.
- Low environmental humidity
parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, coccidia,
heartworms, mites. These parasites keep the necessary
nutrients from getting to the skin cells.
- External parasites such as fleas, and Cheyletiella mites
- Bacterial or yeast skin infection
- A bathing routine which is drying the skin (do not bathe
your dog more than 2x per week)
skin allergy such as flea allergy, food
allergy and atopy
(seasonal or environmental dog allergies), can cause dog dry
skin, skin itch and flakes. If your dog is not on a flea preventative,
try this approach to see if it helps. If the itching continues to
worsen, or if your dog is losing hair or red skin spots appear, see
- Systemic Diseases:
- Liver disease
Dry Skin (seborrhea seca) and flaking caused by Diabetes Mellitus
Source: Washington State University
In puppies in particular, if the pup is not on a heartworm medication,
or intestinal parasite preventative, parasites could cause dry skin and
flaking. To cure the dog dry skin problem, these causes will need to be
If the seborrhea or dry skin condition is mild, consider
this three step home treatment recommendation to cure dog dry skin.
Veterinarian's have several tests available that can help to
determine the cause of a skin problem. The tests will also rule out
possible causes. Tests include:
- blood counts
- biochemistry profiles
- skin scrapings
- skin biopsy
- skin allergy testing
- parasite skin tests
Step Treatment to Cure Dry Skin On Dogs
1. Examine Your
Dog's Bathing Routine
First, check your dog's bathing routine and your choice of
shampoo. Avoid shampoos that are not formulated specifically for dogs
since they are not properly pH-balanced. Also avoid any dog
shampoo formulated for fleas, or that contains alcohol as these can dry
and irritate canine skin and do not work. You are better off
using a flea preventative recommended by your veterinarian.
The ideal shampoo for dogs is one that contains colloidal oatmeal such
. The shampoos may also contain an antihistamine such
as pramoxine (an antihistamine) or hydrocortisone (a steroid),
which is a steroid that improves the effectiveness of the oatmeal.
Colloidal oatmeal helps to reduce dog itchiness and skin
inflammation, helping your dog to feel more comfortable. Oatmeal also
helps with any canine seborrhea since it reduces flaking dog dandruff
As an alternative, you can also use a dog shampoo that contains coal
tar such as Synergy
Labs Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo
, or the human shampoo Neutrogena
® once every week for 2-4
weeks,. Allow the shampoo to lather and work into the skin for 5
minutes. Be sure to avoid any contact with the dog's eyes, and rinse
thoroughly. With coal tar shampoo, be sure to also apply a
leave-on moisturizer, such as Virbac’s
® to avoid further
drying of the skin.
Your dog should be bathed 1x or 2x per week. Be sure to
lather the shampoo into your dog's coat and skin, leaving on the skin
for several minutes before rinsing. The benefits of the dog shampoo can
be extended if followed with the use of a moisturizing conditioner or
a spot-on dog moisturizer such as Dermoscent
A moisturizing conditioner can be applied after shampooing or even
between baths to extend the benefits of a moisturizing shampoo.
For cases of acquired or secondary seborrhea, bathing can stop once the
condition ends. Bathing will be needed as an on-going treatment method
for genetic or primary seborrhea.
2. Improve Your Dog's
Dog dry skin problems could be the result of poor nutrition.
Make sure your dog food is AAFCO certified, the industry certification
used for foods that meet the standard for balanced nutrition, which
means that it contains the correct amounts of proteins, fats,
carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Most major brands are certified.
brands that are not certified may not be nutritionally balanced and
will not provide the nutrition support needed to cure dog dry skin.
Home made diets, while well intentioned, should be prepared by
a veterinary nutritionist who can suggest a combination of the required
40 food components and supplements found in the ideal canine diet.
3. Consider adding one or
more of these dry dog skin supplements to your
It is now well accepted in human and canine health that fish
oil naturally contains fatty acids can be a helpful part of any program
to cure dog dry skin. The best fish oil is found in natural
salmon (e.g; Only
Natural). When reviewing different fish oil brands look for
ingredients Eicosapaentanoic acid (EPA) and Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)
which are omega fatty acids that can help to replace the moisture in
your dogs skin.In dogs, zinc can help to improve the
regulation of the immune system,
which in turn affects dog allergies that may contribute to dog dry
skin. Provide the fish oil or Omega-3 supplement daily per
the manufacturers recommendation.
Vitamin A and E supplements can also sometimes be
used to improve dog skin health.Check with your veterinarian
to determine if these would be effective and helpful for your dog.
Zinc Methionine in products such as Zinpro
is another supplement that is known to help
skin cellular function, including the shedding of older skin cells
while new dog skin cells are created.
Last, a homeopathic product that strengthens the body's
natural ability to maintain a healthy skin and coat can also be of
value such as the popular product PetAlive
Skin and Coat Tonic for Dogs. It contains horsetail,
dandelion and Spirulina, all elements known for their positive impact
Discuss these options with your veterinarian who can review
your specific approach to cure dog dry skin as well as track any
progress from the use of these or other supplements.
When to See a Veterinarian
If your dog's skin symptoms consist of just mild flaking or itching,
then the home treatment described above to cure dog dry skin is
the condition is worsening over time, or if you see symptoms such as
redness, hair loss (alopecia), or if there are oozing lesions, these
are signals that it is time to visit a veterinarian who can prescribe
medications that can reduce skin inflammation (steroids), treat dog
skin infection (antibiotics), or to help with itch.
addition to the physical examination, the veterinarian will take a
thorough history in order to narrow down possible causes.
- does the dog dry skin condition occur
- are there any other symptoms such as:
- weight loss or gain
- increased thirst and/or urination
- changes in behavior
- other signs that you are concerned about
The Vet will take a skin sample and
take an ear swab to check for a bacterial
skin infection or yeast
infection. Stool and blood samples are used to check for
or intestinal parasites. If the initial round of tests indicates a
bigger problem, then an additional blood panel will be recommended to
check for canine
hypothyroidism, endocrine problems or other conditions
which are affecting your dogs entire body (systemic problems).
and the Resulting Papules. Cause of
Condition in the picture is idiopathic or unknown.
Source: Mueller, Dermatology for the
To cure dry skin on your dog, ask your veterinarian about switching to
shampoo formulated for
canine seborrhea, a condition that is also referred to as dog dandruff,
since it resembles the human condition. Canine seborrhea
symptoms include (in addition to flaky dry skin) itch, thinning hair in
patches, scabs, bumps and pimples. The treatment for canine dandruff or
seborrhea is bathing with a medicated shampoo every other day for 10
days. Decrease the frequency to twice a week then once a week as you
see improvement. There are two types of medicated shampoos for
dandruff. Be sure to get the type for dry skin which contains the
ingredients sulfur or salicylic acid such as Vet
Solution Universal Medicated Shampoo. Dog shampoos with
peroxide or selenium sulfide are primarily for greasy skin, not dry
skin. Shampoos with coal tar can dissolve skin crusts (see step 3
Only bathe your dog in warm water. Consider using an after
bath spray with the ingredients glycerin, colloidal oatmeal, fatty
acids, or urea such as DermAllay
The Vet can also suggest ways to prevent future cases and how to cure
dog dry skin,
which may include following the home treatment approach outlined above.
Mueller, Dr. Habil Ralf S.
Skin and Coat Health Care in Puppies and Kittens