What is Causing My Dog to Have Dry Skin in White Bear Lake, MN?

Does your dog have dry, flaky skin? Does she seem to be itchy all the time because of this problem? Do you want to figure out what’s causing your dog’s dry skin and whether there’s anything you can do about it?

Below, you’ll find information about the six most common causes of dry skin in dogs. Additionally, you’ll find advice about how to help your dog recover from these underlying causes and get her on the road to healthier, happier skin in no time. Read through this information to learn more about your dog’s dry skin problem.

dry skin on dogs in white bear lake, mn

Seasonal Changes

Seasonal changes in the weather, climate, and temperature can all affect your dog’s skin dryness. Just like humans, dogs are more likely to have dry skin during the winter months when the air is dry outside, and the heat is running indoors most of the time.

If your dog’s dry skin changes based on the seasons, you may not need to do anything about it. However, if your dog seems to be very uncomfortable or unhappy from this problem, you should talk to your veterinarian for options.

Frequent Baths or Swimming

Dogs who are given too many baths or are bathed with harsh soaps not intended for pet use, may be more likely to suffer from dry skin than those who are only bathed an appropriate number of times. Additionally, going swimming too often can also cause your dog’s skin to dry out and can contribute to a risk of bacterial or fungal infections of the skin as well.

After a bath or a swim, make sure you dry your dog quickly and thoroughly. Use a cool or low setting on your blow drier to prevent further drying of your dog’s skin and to prevent the risk of burns, too.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are the most common cause of dry, flaky skin in dogs. It is not uncommon for dogs to deal with food allergies to a variety of ingredients, and if you suspect your dog could have a food allergy, you should take your time trying to narrow down what might be causing it.

After talking with your veterinarian, try your dog on different types of main protein to see if that helps clear up the problem. If changing the protein doesn’t help, then the issue could be a binder or filler ingredient in the food you’re giving her. Try switching to a different brand completely and see if that makes a difference.


Fleas and other skin parasites can cause dry, flaky skin in dogs. If your dog is scratching a lot, whether you see signs of flakiness or not, look closely for any signs of fleas. There is always a chance your dog could be dealing with a flea infestation, especially if she is not on a monthly flea preventative medication.

Fleas will appear as small but visible black specks moving on your dog’s skin. You will likely need to part the hair to see any fleas on your dog, unless she has very short hair already.

Lack of Grooming

A lack of proper grooming can seriously affect your dog’s skin and coat health alike. Dogs who are not groomed enough—including bathing, drying, trimming, and brushing—may suffer from flaky, dry skin more often than those who have the proper amount of grooming for their coat types.

Make sure you brush your dog at least once a week, even if she has short hair. Additionally, give your dog a bath about once a month, or more often if she gets dirty more frequently. Keep her well-trimmed if she has long hair, and work with a professional groomer if you need assistance.

Skin Infection

Although less common than the other issues on this list, skin infections can sometimes be associated with dry skin, too. If your dog has a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection of the skin, she may have dry skin and flakiness as a symptom.

Most of the time, this type of infection can be easily cleared up with a trip to the veterinarian and a round of medication. However, in some rare instances, dry skin from a skin infection can be a sign of an autoimmune disorder in your pet.

Talk with Your Birch Lake Animal Hospital Veterinarian about Dry Skin on Dogs

Most of the underlying causes of dry skin are nothing serious, but they can be very uncomfortable for your dog. It’s important to take your time considering all the factors involved in your dog’s dry skin issue to determine what could be contributing to the problem.

If you are stumped or aren’t sure where to turn next, take your dog to the vet. Although dry skin is never a cause for a trip to the emergency vet, it may require some help from your dog’s regular vet to figure out the issue and find the right solution, too. Call (651) 426-2246 or use the online form to book an appointment at Birch Lake Animal Hospital!