| Pet Care Advice By Veterinarians |

What Can You Use For a Dog With Dry Skin



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Does your furry friend suffer from dry, itchy skin?

There’s no need to worry as there are numerous remedies available to combat this common issue.

From dietary changes to topical treatments, there are many ways to help alleviate your dog’s discomfort and promote healthier skin.

Read on to discover effective solutions for treating your dog’s dry skin.

Key Takeaway

  • For a dog with dry skin, you can use moisturizing shampoos or conditioners specifically formulated for dogs to help alleviate dryness and promote healthy skin.
  • Dogs can get dry skin due to various factors such as environmental conditions, excessive bathing, harsh soaps, poor nutrition, allergies, infections, parasites, and metabolic disorders.
  • You can tell if your itchy dog has dry skin by observing symptoms such as flakiness, dull coat, excessive scratching, redness, and irritation.

Why Do Dogs Get Dry Skin?

Why Do Dogs Get Dry Skin

Dogs can experience dry skin due to various factors including environmental changes, parasites, allergies, certain medical conditions, and aging, all of which can lead to symptoms such as dryness, flakiness, and discomfort.

Dogs can get dry skin due to a variety of factors. One of the common reasons is environmental changes. During colder months or in areas with low humidity, the air can become dry and cause your dog’s skin to lose its natural moisture. This can lead to dryness, flakiness, and discomfort.

Parasites are another major cause of dry skin in dogs. Fleas, ticks, mites, and certain types of worms can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to dry and scaly skin. It’s important to regularly check your dog for any signs of parasites and use appropriate treatments to keep them at bay.

Allergies can also lead to dry skin in dogs. Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to a variety of substances, ranging from certain foods to environmental allergens like dust mites or pollen. These allergies can cause a range of symptoms, including itchy, dry skin.

What Can You Use For a Dog With Dry Skin

To address a dog’s dry skin, several strategies can be used such as using a humidifier, adding Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to their diet, providing oatmeal baths, applying soothing agents like Aloe Vera and apple cider vinegar, using chamomile or green tea rinses, moisturizing with natural oils, or pursuing vet-approved treatments.


A humidifier can help add moisture to the air in your home, which may benefit dogs with dry skin, especially in colder months or low-humidity environments.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

These essential fatty acids are known for their skin-nourishing properties. They can be added to your dog’s diet to help maintain healthy skin and coat.

Oatmeal Bath

An oatmeal bath can provide immediate relief for itchy, dry skin. It’s a natural, gentle option that many dogs tolerate well.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. It can be applied topically to your dog’s dry skin for relief.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an effective humectant, meaning it helps preserve moisture in the skin. Dilute it with water before applying it to your dog’s skin.

Chamomile or Green Tea

Chamomile and green tea have anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe dry, irritated skin. You can steep these teas and use them as a rinse after your dog’s bath.

Natural Oils

Coconut oil, olive oil, and vitamin E oil can be used to moisturize dry patches of skin on your dog. Always remember to use small amounts to avoid over-saturating your dog’s skin and coat.

Vet-Approved Treatments

For severe cases of dry skin, your vet may recommend specific shampoos, mousses, or medications that contain ingredients like chlorhexidine to combat irritation and dryness. Always consult with your vet before starting any new treatment for your dog’s dry skin.

How Can I Tell If My Itchy Dog Is Due To Dry Skin?

Identifying the cause of your dog’s itchiness can sometimes be challenging as it could be due to a variety of reasons, including dry skin. Here are a few signs that might indicate your dog’s itchiness is due to dry skin:

Observing Physical Changes: Dry skin often manifests physically on your dog’s coat and skin. You might notice flaking similar to dandruff, or areas of skin that are rough and tough to touch. The skin may also appear red and inflamed in certain areas.

Changes in Behavior: Dogs with dry skin often exhibit changes in behavior due to discomfort. They might scratch, lick, or chew at their skin excessively. This is especially true if the dry skin is causing them to feel itchy.

Location of Itching: Dry skin can occur all over the body, but there are certain areas where it’s more common, such as along the back, particularly near the base of the tail. If your dog is frequently itching these areas, it might be due to dry skin.

Seasonal Changes: Dry skin can often become more of a problem in colder months when humidity levels drop. If you notice your dog starts to itch more during these times, it could be a sign that dry skin is the culprit.

What Causes My Dog To Have Dry Skin?

The most common causes of dry skin in dogs are:

Environmental Factors

Dry air, especially during winter months or in arid climates, can cause your dog’s skin to lose moisture and become dry. Likewise, overexposure to sun can also lead to skin dryness.

Poor Diet

A lack of essential nutrients, particularly fatty acids, can affect your dog’s skin health. A well-balanced diet is crucial for maintaining a healthy coat and skin.


Allergies to food, dust mites, pollen, or certain materials can result in skin irritation and dryness. If your dog is scratching excessively in addition to having dry skin, they might be suffering from allergies.


Parasites like fleas, mites, or lice can cause skin dryness and irritation. Regular checks for parasites and timely treatment are essential.

Metabolic Diseases

Certain metabolic diseases, such as Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism, can cause dry skin among other symptoms.

Frequent Bathing

While bathing keeps your dog clean, doing it too frequently can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness.

Use of Harsh Products

Using human shampoos or other harsh products on your dog can disrupt the pH balance of their skin, causing dryness and irritation.

If your dog’s dry skin persists or is causing them discomfort, it is best to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

What Are Some Home Remedies For Dry Skin On Dogs?

Here are some home remedies for dry skin on dogs:

Oatmeal Bath

An oatmeal bath can soothe and moisturize your dog’s dry skin. Simply blend some oatmeal into a fine powder, mix it with warm water, and let your dog soak in it for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly afterward to avoid any residual itchiness.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is known for its healing and moisturizing properties. You can apply pure aloe vera gel directly to the dry patches on your dog’s skin. However, ensure your dog doesn’t ingest it as it can cause stomach upset.

Coconut or Olive Oil

Both coconut and olive oil can serve as natural moisturizers. You can gently rub a small amount onto your dog’s skin or add a bit to their diet. However, moderation is key as too much oil can lead to weight gain or diarrhea.

Chamomile or Green Tea Soaks

Chamomile and green tea have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. Prepare a weak tea, let it cool, and then use it to rinse your dog’s skin.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Supplements

While not a “home remedy” in the traditional sense, adding omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to your dog’s diet can improve skin health. These can be found in fish oil supplements.


Using a humidifier in your home can help maintain moisture in the air and prevent your dog’s skin from drying out.

Always remember to consult with a veterinarian before trying new home remedies to ensure they’re safe and suitable for your dog’s specific needs.

What Are Some Tips For Preventing Dry Skin On Dogs?

Tips for preventing dry skin on dogs include:

Regular Grooming

Regular grooming is essential for maintaining your dog’s skin health. Brushing their fur helps remove dead skin cells and stimulates the production of natural oils, which keep the skin moisturized.

However, avoid over-bathing your dog as it can strip away these oils and dry out the skin.

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet rich in essential fatty acids is crucial for your dog’s skin health. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fish oil and flaxseed, can help nourish their skin and keep it hydrated.

If needed, consider a dietary supplement after consulting with your vet.

Adequate Hydration

Ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. Proper hydration is vital for maintaining skin elasticity and preventing dryness.

Use of Humidifiers

If you live in a dry climate or use heaters during winter, consider using a humidifier. This can help maintain the moisture levels in your home, preventing your dog’s skin from drying out.

Vet-Approved Skin Products

Use only vet-approved shampoos and conditioners designed for dogs. These products are typically gentler and contain moisturizing ingredients that can help prevent dry skin.

Regular Check-ups

Regular vet check-ups can help detect any underlying conditions that may be causing dry skin. Your vet can also provide personalized advice on how to better care for your dog’s skin.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Treat Your Dog’s Dry Skin?

Neglecting your dog’s dry skin can lead to several issues, including:

Persistent Discomfort: Dry skin is typically itchy and irritating. If it’s not treated, your dog may constantly feel uncomfortable, which could lead to behavioral changes and agitation.

Infection Risk: Continuous scratching or licking due to dry skin can damage the skin, making it more prone to bacterial and fungal infections. These infections can be severe and may require additional medical intervention.

Skin Damage and Hair Loss: Frequent scratching can result in wounds, scarring, and hair loss. Over time, this can cause patches of raw or bare skin, which can be painful and increase the likelihood of secondary infections.

Severe Skin Conditions: If dry skin is left untreated, it can evolve into more serious skin conditions. The skin may thicken or change color, a condition known as hyperpigmentation.

Decreased Quality of Life: Persistent itchiness and discomfort can significantly lower your dog’s quality of life. It can affect their mood, energy levels, and overall happiness.

It’s crucial to treat your dog’s dry skin promptly to alleviate their discomfort and prevent these complications. Seek advice from a veterinarian for suitable treatments.


Q: What can you use for a dog with dry skin?

A: There are several remedies that can help treat dry skin in dogs. Some popular options include using coconut oil, specialized dog shampoos for dry skin, and adding supplements to their diet for better skin and coat health.

Q: What are the causes of dry skin in dogs?

A: Dry skin in dogs can be caused by various factors, such as environmental conditions (like dry air), allergies, certain skin conditions, or even improper grooming. It is essential to identify the underlying cause to provide an effective treatment.

Q: What are the symptoms of dry skin in dogs?

A: Dogs with dry skin may exhibit symptoms like itching, flaky skin, redness, irritation, or skin infections. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to address them promptly for your dog’s comfort and well-being.

Q: What can I put on my dog’s dry skin?

A: Coconut oil is often used topically to moisturize a dog’s dry skin. It can be applied directly to the affected areas. However, it’s always recommended to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your specific dog.

Q: Is coconut oil safe for dogs?

A: Yes, coconut oil is generally safe for dogs. However, it is important to introduce it gradually and monitor your dog for any adverse reactions. If your dog is prone to allergies or has any existing health conditions, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian first.

Q: Can I use human shampoo on my dog with dry skin?

A: It is not recommended to use human shampoo on dogs, especially those with dry skin. Human shampoos may contain ingredients that can be too harsh or irritating for a dog’s sensitive skin. It’s best to use a dog-specific shampoo formulated for dry skin.

Q: How can I help my dog with dry skin naturally?

A: Along with using coconut oil and appropriate dog shampoos, you can help your dog with dry skin by providing a balanced diet, ensuring they stay hydrated, and avoiding hot baths that can further dry out their skin. Additionally, using natural remedies like oatmeal baths or apple cider vinegar rinses may also provide relief.

Q: Can CBD products help dogs with dry skin?

A: While there is limited scientific research on the use of CBD products specifically for dry skin in dogs, some pet owners claim that CBD oil or treats have helped improve their dog’s skin conditions. However, it’s always advisable to consult with a veterinarian before introducing any new supplements or treatments.

Q: How can I improve my dog’s dry skin and coat?

A: Apart from using appropriate products and remedies, you can improve your dog’s dry skin and coat by providing them with a well-balanced diet rich in essential fatty acids, offering regular grooming sessions, and keeping their environment adequately humidified.

Q: What is the Natural Dog Company?

A: The Natural Dog Company is a company that specializes in creating natural and organic products for dogs, including those designed to improve skin and coat health. Their products are formulated to be safe and effective for dogs with dry skin and other skin issues.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, addressing your dog’s dry skin issues is not just about immediate relief but also about ensuring long-term health and comfort for your beloved pet.

With a range of options from dietary adjustments, and topical treatments to vet-approved medications, you can confidently tackle your dog’s dry skin problem.

Remember, every dog is unique, so it may take some time and experimentation to find the perfect solution. Always consult with your vet to ensure the best care for your furry friend.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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