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dry skin on dogs

Dry Skin on Dogs: 11 Symptoms To Watch Out For!

Everyone knows that a healthy dog is a happy dog. Yet, have you ever taken the time to inspect your dog’s coat? Dry skin on dogs can become a cause for concern if neglected but easily treated if detected early.

Dogs do not have the proper tools to be able to prevent their skin from being dry. That is where responsible dog owners come in. You should always want the best for your dog, and keeping their skin and coat fresh is part of those responsibilities.

Dogs provide people with unconditional love, and we want to make sure you have the resources to understand your dog’s skin and, thus, return the favor! Read on about the causes and symptoms of dry skin dogs, how to prevent it, and natural remedies you can make from home.


Is Dry Skin on Dogs Common?

It is not uncommon for dogs to develop dry skin for various reasons. Unfortunately, not all dog owners notice it at first or might brush it off to the side. Just like people are easily prone to dry skin, so are dogs.

Proper dog grooming requires brushing your dog’s coat at least once a week. Cases of dry skin on dogs often result from owners forgetting to groom their dog’s fur and inspect their skin and coat. If you pay for a grooming service, there is a small chance that the dog groomer might miss one of the dry skin symptoms.

Dogs come in different sizes, body shapes, and coats. Dry skin might be more common in short coat dog breeds and hairless dogs than dogs with large coats. Regardless of breeds, there are different causes for dry skin on dogs. Let’s get topical!

terrier reaching up for treat

What Causes Dry Skin on Dogs?

There are several reasons why dogs may develop dry skin. Most people do what they can to avoid dry skin, but dogs do not have that luxury. If you ever notice dry skin on your dog, it might have been caused by any of the following:


Before you owned a dog, you were probably already aware that they are susceptible to fleas and ticks. Those are just some of the parasites that can cause dry, flaky skin on your dog. They live on your dog’s coat and feed off your dog at their own expense.

Here are some parasitic creatures that you may find latched to your dog:


  • Mites: These microscopic parasites feed off your dog’s skin and may cause them to develop dandruff, scabies, or mange if not addressed properly.
  • Fleas: Not only will they make you feel uncomfortable, fleas also have the potential to latch onto humans and bite them, leaving small red bumps. Fleas make dogs scratch themselves like crazy and can quickly spread throughout their coat and skin.
  • Ticks: Ticks are pesky little bugs that, besides causing skin irritation, may also carry dangerous diseases that can cause problems for your dog.
  • Lice: Although they are only about an inch big, fleas also feed off your dog’s skin and may cause hair loss, itching, or infections.

These tiny parasitic scoundrels can leave your dogs with an uncontrollable urge to scratch or attempt to bite or lick the areas affected. Because of their small sizes, they might not be noticeable during a coat brushing session.

Nutrition and Hydration Deficiency

People tend to do better when they eat healthy food— dogs are the same way. Vitamins, healthy fatty acids, and probiotics are essential nutrients your dog needs to avoid health problems like dry skin.

Malnutrition in dogs can lead to other serious health issues besides dry skin. A lack of water may also contribute to a dog’s dry skin.


Bacterial and fungal infections are annoying to deal with for both people and dogs. Certain infections cause different skin conditions that may harm your pooch. Here are fungal infections to watch out for:

  • Ringworm: This fungal skin condition causes other symptoms besides dry skin. It appears as red circular patches on a dog that can cause itching and swelling.  See a veterinarian because ringworm can be transferred to dog owners.
  • Yeast Infection: Commonly found around the body, especially a dog’s ears and paws. Yeast infections make the affected area discolored and cause skin problems besides dry skin.


Hormone or Metabolic Disorders

Sometimes even if you take care of your dog’s skin and coat, they might have certain diseases from the dog’s internal systems instead of external. Cushing’s disease and hyperthyroidism both can cause hair loss and dry skin to develop in dogs.

Some auto-immune disorders and tumors can irritate the dog’s skin, making it dry, itchy, and red. All of these causes should be taken seriously and addressed with a veterinarian.


If you deal with allergies, then you know how frustrating it is to deal with the symptoms. Dogs can also deal with allergies, and dry skin is a common symptom.

Dog allergies can be triggered by changes in seasons, mold, dust, pollen, and other factors. It is common for dogs to experience redness in the areas which they can then attempt to scratch. Besides becoming dry, the skin can become itchy and flaky as well.

Changes in Weather

Certain locations have low humidity, which some dogs might have trouble adjusting to. In addition, it can cause their skin to become irritated and dry.

Their bodies produce healthy chemicals and body oil to keep their coats pristine. However, during colder weather, some dogs might have trouble keeping their fur in good shape, causing irritated and dry skin.

Some people might make the simple mistake of bathing their dogs too much or use regular human shampoo to clean their dogs. Often this excessive grooming can leave a dog’s skin dry.


Symptoms of Dry Skin on Dogs

Dry skin can appear in different ways for all dog breeds. Symptoms can range from mild to severe quickly, so make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Here are the symptoms of dry skin in dogs:

  • Redness: Dry Skin can become red if it is constantly scratched upon by a dog. Redness can also indicate the area around the skin is swelling.
  • Flaking: Some flaking is normal since it indicates dead skin cells are falling off. Excessive crusting of the skin could mean your dog is experiencing serious skin problems or some bacterial infection.
  • Pimples: Pimples tend to appear on puppies experiencing dry, flaky skin. It appears as sores or blisters on the dog’s abdomen, which can remain hairless if left untreated. It is a common symptom of Impetigo.
  • Loss of Hair: It is normal for dogs to shed, but excessive hair loss could imply your dog has bacterial or fungal infections such as folliculitis. It is usually easier to spot on short-haired breeds than long-haired dog breeds.
  • Swelling: Swelling is a sign that your body reacts to injury or, in this case, bacterial or fungal infections. When it involves dry skin as a symptom, it could mean your dog’s skin is being fed upon by tiny bug parasites or fungi.
  • Stinky Odor: If the area around your dog’s dry skin has a foul smell, it could be a yeast infection or another kind of infection. Smelly skin should be addressed with a vet immediately.
  • Oiliness: It is normal for dogs to produce body oils. It helps keep the coat in good shape. Using human shampoo could cause your dog to have increased oiliness on its furs.
  • Scabs: A scab can appear on your dog if it constantly scratches dry skin caused by an allergy, sore, or healing cut on the skin. It is usually itchy.
  • Itchiness: If your dog is scratching itself to relieve an itch on its body, it can cause the skin to dry. Parasites like fleas are a major contributor to itchiness in dogs.
  • Dandruff: There are many reasons why your dog might develop dandruff. Irritated skin can become dry if excessive dead skin cells remain on a dog.
  • Scaling: A dog’s dry skin can become crusty, leading their skin to begin and starting to scaling. Scaling could be a sign of a skin condition or systemic disorder.

sad dog looking out window

Home Remedies for Dry Skin on Dogs

Healthy skin is ideal for both people and dogs. One of the ways to address a dog’s dry skin is by using home remedies. Before you consult with a vet, be sure to try any of the following:


Plenty of pet stores offer topicals and shampoos to keep help your dog’s coat and skin free of parasites. It is a popular treatment to help remove dead skin cells as well. It can also help relieve your dog from constantly scratching itself.

Improved Diet

Make sure your dog is being fed with all-natural dog food rich in vitamins and nutrients. Some pet food brands also sell specialized dog food to provide nutrients that maintain a healthy coat.

CBD for Dogs

Cannabidiol (CBD) oils and treats are a popular alternative to help your dog maintain a healthy coat. It CBD works by reacting to receptors in a dog’s Endocannabinoid System located in the body. One of the benefits of using CBD for dogs is it may provide alleviation to their irritated skin.


How to Prevent Dry Skin on Dogs

It is not that difficult to prevent dry skin. With a little tender love and care, you can give your feline friend a scratch without worry. Here are some ways you may potentially avoid dry skin in dogs:

Attentive Grooming

Next time you brush your dog’s hair, keep an eye out for a flea wandering around. Feel free to pull them out using a magnifying glass to help you locate any tiny parasites if needed.

A dog owner should check every part of their dog’s body for symptoms associated with dry skin. Be sure to remove any dirt and debris. It is also a great idea to sanitize your dog’s hairbrush.

Veterinary Check-ups

Periodic appointments with your dog’s veterinarian can potentially help identify any problems causing dry skin on your dogs. They can also recommend veterinary medicine or supplements to help your dog maintain healthy skin.

CBD Products

CBD oils can be included in your pet’s food, or you can give it some CBD-infused dog treats. It is well-tolerated and non-toxic for dogs. It soothes skin swelling and irritation for dogs.


When to Go to the Vet for Dry Skin on Dogs

There are times when home remedies do not work, and you should seek treatment from a professional vet. A neglected infection may cause life-threatening symptoms that may become life-threatening and that ultimately will require immediate attention from a veterinarian. Better to keep the tail wagging before it’s too late! 

Once a vet takes samples of the affected area and conducts a proper diagnosis, they will prescribe antibacterial topicals or oral medicine to help treat the issue. If the area around the dry skin does not improve after a few weeks, it might be best to follow up with a veterinarian again.


Final Thoughts – Dry Skin on Dogs

Most people seek healthy skin, and one way they do that is by avoiding dry skin. Dry skin on dogs is just as easy to address and take care of properly.

When home remedies do not help treat dry skin, then consulting a vet is the next best choice. However, if you are interested in CBD products for your dog’s skin, check out the Healthy Petables CBD for Dogs selection!