Dog dry skin is a more common problem than most people realize. Unfortunately, it can also have many potential causes, which can make finding the right treatment somewhat tricky. But if you've ever noticed your dog constantly chewing at his skin or rubbing against various surfaces to get relief, then you know just how irritating this particular problem can be.
The problem with treating a dog's dry skin is figuring out exactly what's causing it. For dogs, the cause can range from allergies or a reaction to seasonal changes in temperature to parasites or even serious underlying conditions. This is why determining a precise cause is so very important. If there is a serious underlying condition, it is imperative that your dog receives the proper treatment as soon as possible.
Regardless of the cause, dog dry skin can manifest with a range of symptoms including itchiness, dandruff, flaking, pimples, scaling, hair loss, inflammation, odor, increased oiliness and scabs. Not every dog will have all of these symptoms but if your dog is experiencing any of them then you should get him to the vet for a full examination and diagnosis. Once the vet has determined the cause of the dry skin, he'll be able to recommend treatment.
Often, dry skin in dogs will be caused by allergies. Just like their human counterparts, dogs can be sensitive to any number of allergens, including pollen, dust, dander, grass, feathers and flea saliva. Exposure to these allergens can result in a host of symptoms, including dry skin. In fact, flea allergy dermatitis is the most common skin disorder seen in dogs. If allergies are the cause of your dog's problems, identifying and avoiding the allergen is the best way to relieve symptoms.
Dogs / stock.adobe.com
Dogs can be exposed to things both indoors and outdoors that you may not be aware of that could trigger a dog skin allergy.
Of course, the easiest way to avoid dog dry skin specifically caused by flea allergy dermatitis is to do everything you can to keep your home free of fleas. You can use flea products such as powders, sprays, and collars to keep fleas off your dog and keeping your home clean will help to avoid flea infestation and the consequent problems it can cause.
Keep in mind that not all of these products will be safe for Australian Shepherds. Aussies can be particularly sensitive to chemicals and drugs that can result in severe reactions which can be fatal. Just because a dog of another breed, or even another Aussie, tolerated a particular drug or chemical does not mean your Aussie will. This is due to an MDR1 gene mutation for which tests are available. Learn more about the MDR1 Gene Mutation that causes a dangerous sensitivity to drugs in Australian Shepherds here.
In some cases, dry skin can be caused by parasites or skin infections such as ringworm, some of which can be transmitted to humans. In these cases, it is particularly important to identify and eliminate the cause before it can spread. Dry skin can also be a sign of a more serious disease such as Cushing's disease or hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is the most common autoimmune disease in Australian Shepherds, so any case of dry skin in Aussies should always be taken very seriously.
Your vet will be able to recommend treatment for both the dry skin itself and whatever the underlying cause may be. Sometimes, the solution for dry skin may be as simple as changing shampoos, bathing your dog less often, or making sure the air in your home is properly humidified. These are simple steps that can go a long way toward controlling dog dry skin.
While dry skin may just seem like a nuisance, if your dog is itching a lot you should take it seriously as it can be a sign of something more. Have your vet check to find out if the dry skin is actually a symptom of another condition. It may seem like an over-reaction, but an ounce of prevention now can help you and your best friend avoid a lot of heartache down the road.
Have Dog Training Questions?