My Dog Has Dry Flaky Skin And Scabs
Have you ever begun to pet your beloved pup, only to discover something you have not noticed before?
You soon see a trail of flakes and scabs as you search their skin, causing you to wonder what could possibly be drying out their skin to this extent.
Not only is it not normal for your dog’s skin to flake to this extent, but it can point to the presence of an underlying skin condition.
So what causes dry flaky skin in dogs, and how can you care for your pup’s skin going forward?
In this article we will introduce the most common causes of dry flaky skin and scabs in dogs, and discuss some of the most effective ways to bring them relief.
Is Dry Skin Normal In Dogs?
Just like you and I, our dogs can experience dry skin from time to time.
Though occasional dry and itchy skin may not be unusual, it should not be severe enough to cause their skin to flake and scab.
These are signs of either significant dehydration of the skin, or the potential for an underlying skin condition.
If your dog’s skin is dry enough to cause a trail of dandruff flakes throughout their fur, it is time to address the situation.
Signs Of Dry Skin In Dogs
Many assume that the most common sign of dry skin in dogs is dandruff, but this is only one of the many symptoms our pups can experience.
To help you catch as dry skin in your pup as it develops, let’s list some of the most common signs to be on the lookout for.
- Frequent scratching and biting at the skin
- Redness of the skin
- Dandruff in their fur, on their bedding, or on our clothing after petting them
- Increased shedding
- Patches of hair loss
- Red welts or lesions on the skin, potentially with pus
- Scabbing on the skin where they typically scratch or bite
- Odor of the skin
- Pimples on the skin
- Oozing or damp lesions
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your canine friend, they may be experiencing a case of dry skin.
If this is the case for your pup, we suggest reaching out to your vet for further guidance.
Are Some Breeds Prone To Dry Flaky Skin?
Any furry friend can suffer from dry skin and irritation, but there are certain breeds that are more prone to this issue than others.
The breeds listed below will not necessarily suffer from any skin complications throughout their life, but it’s always best to be on the lookout.
Some of the breeds that are known to develop dry skin and other skin complications include:
- Basset Hounds
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- Great Danes
- Chow Chows
- German Shepherds
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Cocker Spaniels
- Doberman Pinschers
Why Does My Dog Have Dry Flaky Skin And Scabs?
Once you notice the presence of flakes and scabs on your dog’s skin, you may be wondering the potential cause behind your dog’s sudden skin irritation.
Ranging from crawling critters to systemic illness, many underlying complications can be to blame.
Your Dog Has Canine Allergies
Our canine companions can develop allergies to virtually anything in the world around them.
Dogs can suffer from allergies in multiple forms, separated into categories that include:
- Environmental allergies
- Contact allergies
- Food allergies
Each potential allergen can cause significant skin irritation for the dog affected, often leading to dry and flaky skin.
To help you better understand which types of allergens our dogs are exposed to each day, let’s list some of the most common triggers below.
The most common contact allergies seen in dogs include different types of shampoo, laundry detergents, flea and tick collars, essential oils, flea and tick sprays, carpet fresheners.
The most common environmental allergies seen in dogs include dust, plant material, pollen, fragrances, essential oils, smoke, dander, and mold.
The most common food allergies seen in dogs include beef, lamb, chicken, soy, and eggs.
A small percentage of dogs are allergic to some grains, but the most common food allergies are from protein sources.
One of the main ways that allergies impact our canine companion’s is irritation to the skin.
Their skin may become dry and rough, even forming painful scabs if they mutilate their skin through scratching.
In addition to itchy and dry skin, canine allergies can also cause sneezing, watery eyes, fur loss, nasal discharge, eye discharge, and even GI upset.
If you think allergies may be the cause of your dog’s dehydrated skin, we suggest reaching out to your vet for guidance.
Your Dog Has Fleas
Fleas can impact a dog’s skin in multiple ways.
Though many of us assume fleas will only lead to itchy skin in our furry friends, their presence can cause a significant decline in overall skin and coat health.
Constant scratching and biting can lead to a disturbance in the natural oils present on the skin, causing it to become dry and irritated in many cases.
As the dog continues to bite and scratch in search of relief, the skin will become more and more damaged.
Not only can the presence of fleas lead to significant itching, but they can also initiate an allergic response known as flea allergy dermatitis.
This occurs when a dog develops an allergic reaction to the flea bite itself, sending them into a cycle of unbearable itching and pain.
Not only will these pups itch and itch every chance they get, but their skin may begin to flake and scab.
If you think fleas are the cause of your dog’s dry skin, we suggest speaking with your vet about the best treatment and preventative options for your pup.
Not only will you need to treat your dog for these crawling critters, but you will need to ensure that you have a flea-free environment as well.
Your Dog Has Mange
Mange is a term used to describe a microscopic ectoparasite that lives on the surface of a dog’s skin.
Demodectic mange and sarcoptic mange are the most common forms seen on our furry friend skin, but both are responsible for causing significant skin irritation.
These tiny mites will burrow into a dog’s hair follicles and traumatize the surrounding tissue, causing a slew of complicated symptoms to follow.
Dogs with mange are known to develop dry and flaky skin in many cases, even developing scabs as they are unable to resist the urge to scratch.
If you think your dog may be suffering from some form of mange, it’s essential to seek veterinary care.
These mites require prescription strength treatment to banish them for good, as well as antibiotics to treat any secondary infections that have developed on the skin.
Your Dog Has Fungal And Bacterial Infections
Fungal and bacterial infections are a common factor behind dry and scabby skin in dogs.
Bacteria and fungus live everywhere in the world around our pups, offering them plenty of opportunities to set up shop on their skin.
Once these agents settle onto the skin and burrow into the hair follicles, a decline of skin and coat health is imminent.
Dogs with fungal or bacterial skin infections can experience dry skin, dandruff, skin redness, fur loss, open sores, scabs, and even odor.
These types of infections require the use of prescription strength treatment, as every type of condition will have its own recommended treatment plan.
If you think your dog is suffering with any form of bacterial or fungal agent, we suggest seeking veterinary guidance.
You Are Excessive Bathing Your Dog
Unlike you and I, our dogs do not need to be bathed frequently.
Dogs have a layer of natural oils that cover the surface of their skin, helping to keep their skin hydrated and their coat smooth.
Bathing a dog too frequently can strip the skin of this natural oil, ridding them of the ability to keep their skin nice and smooth.
Because of this possibility, a dog should be bathed no more than once every 4-6 weeks.
If your dog does not get themselves into smelly situations often, they can go even longer than this as well.
Your Dog Has Inadequate Nutrition
Poor nutrition can cause a waterfall of devastating health conditions in our beloved pups.
Our dogs rely on many essential nutrients to carry out vital functions, but they also need these nutrients to maintain skin and coat health.
If a dog is receiving inadequate nutrition for any reason, they can begin to experience dry skin and fur loss.
Some other signs of a dog receiving inadequate nutrition include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and weakness.
If your dog is experiencing any of the symptoms we just mentioned, we suggest reaching out to your veterinarian for guidance.
Your Dog Has A Chronic Or Systemic Illness
There are an array of different types of chronic and systemic illness that can cause dry and flaky skin in dogs.
Whether it is a chronic condition of the skin or one that causes an overall decline of health, it can lead to a shift in the natural oils present on the skin.
In many cases, these pups will suffer from dry skin, a dull coat, brittle fur, and even chronic skin infections.
Some of the most common medical conditions that lead to the presence of poor skin and coat health include autoimmune conditions of the skin, hypothyroidism, diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and other hormonal disorders.
These conditions will need to be managed by a veterinarian.
My Dog Has Dry Skin And Is Losing Hair
Some dogs with dry skin will not only develop dandruff and scabs on their skin, but they may even begin to lose hair.
As a dog’s skin gets more and more dehydrated, their fur may become dry and brittle.
This makes it easier for their fur to not only shed more than usual, but it may cause the delicate fur to break off as well.
When this happens, dogs may experience patches of hair loss.
Not only can their fur begin to break off, but some skin conditions can cause damage to the hair follicles themselves.
Whether it is a fungus that attacks the follicle or an autoimmune condition that damages the tissue, bald patches and scabs can quickly develop.
No matter the exact cause of your dog’s fur loss, this is a sign that a dog needs veterinary attention.
Not only will a dog need specialized care to stop their hair loss in its tracks, but to relieve the skin irritation they are likely experiencing.
Why Does My Dog Have Scabs On Their Skin?
In most cases of scabby skin in dogs, this occurs as a result of the dog’s constant scratching.
Their nails and teeth mutilate their already fragile skin with each scratch, causing small scrapes and sores to develop as a result.
As these injuries attempt to heal and crust over, scabs will form in their place.
If your dog has developed scabs as a result of their itchy dry skin, this is often a sign that they need something more than at home care.
These pups are uncomfortable enough to resort to constant scratching and biting, proving just how severe their skin irritation has become.
If you feel crusty scabs as you move across your dog’s skin, it’s best to have your pup seen by your veterinarian.
Dry And Flaky Skin Home Remedies For Dogs
If your canine companion is suffering from dry and scabbed skin, you may be searching for any tips on how to offer them relief at home.
While we always suggest reaching out to your veterinarian to make sure you are not missing any underlying conditions, there are some home remedies that can promote skin and coat health going forward.
To help you soothe your pup’s skin alongside your veterinarian, let’s list some of our favorite tips below.
- Brush your dog’s fur daily to promote natural oil production
- Supplementing your dog’s diet with daily fish oil or omegas (as long as your vet approves)
- Bathe your dog once weekly with an approved soothing shampoo that is designed for dry skin
- Make sure your pup is protected with an approved flea and tick prevention
- Ensuring that your pup is consuming a diet that fits their nutritional needs
Every case of dry and scabbed skin will vary in our canine friends, as there are a list of potential factors to blame for their symptoms.
If your pup’s irritated skin does not improve with any of the simple tips we listed above, we highly suggest reaching out to your vet for support.
There is nothing worse than watching our pups struggle with a case of dry and itchy skin.
Though dandruff and scabs may not seem like a major medical concern, they can be a sign of serious underlying skin conditions in our pups.
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 10 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! Read more about us here.