How to cure dry flaky skin in dogs

Written by moira clune
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Dry, flaky skin is a common problem in many dogs. If your dog has itchy, scaly patches of skin, a poor quality coat and dandruff, she needs a skincare upgrade. Most canine skin problems can be improved with the addition of supplements, minor grooming or a food change.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Brush your dog. Start with a thorough brushing to remove loose hair and dead skin. Use a rubber-tipped brush to stimulate circulation to the skin.

  2. 2

    Bathe your dog once a month. This is a guideline only; some dogs--and you know who they are--love to roll in stinky things at every opportunity. These dogs need more frequent baths. Use a dog-specific shampoo, preferably one formulated for dry skin. Never use liquid dish soap.

  3. 3

    Feed a high-quality diet. Many skin problems are food allergies in disguise. Choose a dog food that contains a named meat as the first ingredient and avoid those that contain corn, wheat or soy. Look for foods preserved with vitamin E, vitamin C or citric acid.

  4. 4

    Supplement with fatty acids. Omega-3 and the omega-6 fatty acid supplements will enhance a dog's skin and coat. As an added benefit, omega-3s protect against inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

  5. 5

    Hydrate your dog. Always provide fresh, clean water in unlimited quantity. Adding water to dry kibble helps to increase water intake.

Tips and warnings

  • If your house is excessively dry in winter, consider humidifying the air. You'll both benefit from the increased humidity.
  • If your dog's skin is bleeding, weeping or showing signs of infection, contact your veterinarian.

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