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Can Dogs Get Dry Skin?


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You know how it feels to have dry skin. It happens often in winter, when the air is dry and cold. There are also many other underlying causes for dry skin in humans. These causes can range from weather, environment, and allergies, to more persistent conditions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis. In humans, dry skin can cause pain, and in some cases, can become infected.

Can Dogs Get Dry Skin?


Your dog most certainly can get dry skin. Like humans, there are many different conditions with high to low severity levels. Symptoms of dry skin can include itching, rolling, scratching, scabs, insect bites, hair loss, and inflammation. One sign that is not as obvious with this condition is that your dog might seem down, or depressed. Some pet owners might not think that dry skin is a condition that needs attention, but not only can it make your pet uncomfortable, it can become more serious if untreated.

Does My Dog Have Dry Skin?

There are numerous causes of dry skin in dogs. Some of the environmental causes are allergies, shampoo reaction, over or under bathing, over or under brushing, fleas or ticks, and fungal infections, just to name a few. Skin conditions that can cause dry skin in dogs are metabolic diseases, Cushing’s disease , atopic dermatitis, and hypothyroidism .

The diagnosis of dry skin is much like many other conditions. You should try to get your dog to a veterinarian before your dog’s condition becomes serious. Your vet can do several different tests to see if the symptoms are caused by environmental issues, or if your pet has an underlying condition.

If your dog suffers from scaly skin, or dandruff, read more at Scaly Skin in Dogs and, if your dog is experiencing hair loss, here is an article to check out: Hair Loss in Dogs.

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Dry Skin?

There are many different ways to treat your dog’s dry skin, and of course, it all depends on the diagnosis. Infections caused by fungal issues or parasites will need medication for relief. If it is an allergy, finding and removing the allergen is the best treatment. You might need to change your pet’s diet, or change the shampoo you use to bathe your pet. Grooming your dog regularly does not only help sooth your dog’s itchiness, but it can also be a great way to check your dog’s skin for redness or bites. If the dry skin is caused by a disease, you will need to get a prescription medicine from your veterinarian.

The most important factor in your dog’s recovery is being mindful of your dog’s condition. Make sure you check your dog’s skin, and pay attention to how much they itch, scratch or roll. If your dog is prescribed medication, be vigilant in administering it. If you change your dog’s diet, make sure that they new food is working, and if you have multiple pets or feed multiple foods, make sure your dog does not have access to the allergen.

Here is a great article that goes more in-depth into the dry skin treatment options: Dry Skin in Dogs.

How is Dry Skin Similar in Dogs and Humans?

Most of the symptoms of dry skin are similar in both humans and dogs. Dry, cold weather can also cause dry skin in both humans and canines. It is an uncomfortable condition for everyone involved, and includes itching and scratching (although most humans don’t roll around on the floor when they are itchy). The causes of dry skin can also be similar in humans and dogs, such as an environmental issues or underlying disease.

How is Dry Skin Different in Dogs and Humans?

The biggest difference between dry skin in dogs and humans is that dogs are unable to bathe and groom themselves. If your dog has long hair, or is elderly, it can be really hard for them to become clean and stay clean on their own. The fact that your dog has a coat is also another large difference. While most of the time, your dog’s coat can protect his or her skin, it can also hide red skin and insect bites from your view.

Case Study

In this case, the dog came into the clinic with itchy, dry skin. The dog exhibited duress and was unable to go very long without scratching.

In this case, it was an allergen in the pet’s food, that was diagnosed by the case veterinarian by administering allergy tests. The allergen proved to be processed corn, an ingredient in the dog’s food. The veterinarian prescribed a low starch diet, with Omega-3 and fatty acids. The dog recovered from this condition as soon as this allergen left the dog’s system.

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