Believe it or not- humans are not alone when it comes to suffering at the hands (or paws) of dry skin. Dogs can also suffer from dry, itchy skin, and many other issues involving the skin. Diagnosing skin conditions in dogs can be challenging as there are many potential causes. In this article, everything from nose to tail that could potentially cause your dog to experience dry/ irritated skin will be discussed!

What Causes Dogs To Have Dry Skin?

Dry skin may seem more of an annoyance than a health concern. However, dry skin is typically a result of an underlying health problem and when noticed, should not be overlooked.

Changes in Weather

Similar to humans, dogs can experience dry and irritated skin due to weather changes. Cold weather, dry air, and even changes to indoor environments can affect your dog’s skin. Ways to combat the unforgiving low humidity of winter are to make sure your dog is getting plenty of fatty acids and is receiving a nutritionally balanced diet year-round and for indoor environments, adding an air humidifier can help! 

Food & Diet

Deficiencies in vitamins, proteins, or essential fatty acids can contribute to dry, itchy, and/or flaky skin. Dogs can also have food allergies that if ingested, can irritate the skin. The best way to ensure your dog is getting all of the necessary nutrients is to do research on the benefits of different dog foods and add a daily supplement to your dog’s diet!

Dog Allergies

Dogs can have allergic responses to allergens just like humans do! Everything from food, environmental, and seasonal allergens can trigger an allergic response in dogs. A very common cause of allergic reactions in dogs is flea saliva. If not properly treated, these allergies can result in a skin condition known as atopic dermatitis which causes dry, itchy, red, and inflamed skin. 

Excessive Bathing

Bathing your dog too often can be detrimental to your dog as it can irritate the skin, damage hair follicles, and increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infections. Unless discussed otherwise with your veterinarian, dogs should not be bathed more than once a week. Dogs groom themselves to help facilitate the growth of hair follicles and to support skin health!


Bacterial and fungal infections can result in many different skin related problems in dogs that may appear to be just dry or flakey skin. A veterinarian will typically take a skin scrape to properly diagnose and determine what specific problem your canine friend is suffering from in order to properly treat it. 

Symptoms of Dry Skin in Dogs

Every dog is unique and may not show all of the symptoms listed below. It is important to observe your dog’s symptoms to ensure the cause of the skin condition is diagnosed and treated correctly.

  • Excessive itchiness

  • Dandruff

  • Odor

  • Pimples

  • Scaling

  • Hair loss

  • Flaking

  • Inflammation

  • Oily skin/ coat

  • Scabs

Treatment For Dogs With Dry Skin

Just as there are many causes for dry skin in dogs, there are also many different treatment methods depending on what condition your dog is afflicted by. If your dog’s dry skin is a symptom of a health condition, a veterinarian should be consulted to properly diagnose and treat the condition along with the dry skin.

For dry skin caused by allergies, there are a few different treatment methods that veterinarians often times use in conjunction to ease your pet’s allergy symptoms. Dry/ irritated skin caused by environmental allergies may be treated by avoiding the allergen as best as possible, controlling the symptoms (dry/ itchy skin), and in some cases, allergy shots.

Food allergies that cause dry skin in dogs may be treated by an elimination diet to single out the food your dog has an intolerance to. Common food allergies for dogs include; beef, soy, corn, wheat, dairy, chicken, and eggs. 

Dry skin caused by bathing too frequently, dry air, or poor nutrition is relatively easy to manage! By bathing your dog less frequently, the dry skin problem may resolve in a matter of time. Purchasing a humidifier is a fantastic way to control indoor air quality and treat your dog’s dry skin issue if it is caused by a lack of moisture in the air. If your dog has dry skin caused by poor nutrition or malnutrition, it may be beneficial to include things like vitamins, proteins, essential fatty acids, and probiotics in your dog’s diet as a proactive way to stop troublesome dry and/or irritated skin from hindering your dog. 

Preventing Dry Skin in Dogs

While it may not be possible to foresee and prevent all skin conditions in dogs, there are some proactive ways to lessen the chances of your dog developing a skin issue! 

Make Diet Changes

Nutrition comes from within and shows inside and out! Ensuring your dog is receiving a nutritionally balanced diet will help to support healthy skin from within! This can be done by providing your dog with high-quality foods and by adding a supplement to your dog’s daily diet.


While frequent bathing can contribute to dry and irritated skin, brushing your dog every day can help to prevent broken and loose hair from falling later! It also prepares the coat for healthy growth which reduces the chance of developing mats and future skin issues.

It is imperative to use gentle and effective dog bathing products such as Furbliss Pet Shampoo & Conditioner to nourish the skin and coat. After shampooing, it is important to condition your pet’s fur. Conditioners help detangle fur, moisturize dry skin, and provide a relaxing treatment for all pets! Furbliss Conditioner contains shea butter– a well-known moisturizer, safflower oil– which improves circulation, and aloe vera– which repairs skin cells and gives the fur a beautiful shine!