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How to cure dry flaky skin in dogs

Updated July 19, 2017

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.

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

  6. Tip

    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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