What causes flaky skin in dogs?

Health and Wellbeing

An allergy to something in the environment or to their diet is a possible trigger for skin problems in dogs. Pollen, fleabites and certain foods are all capable of turning that skin itchy and scaly. Grains and certain protein sources such as beef, chicken, wheat, corn, milk and eggs have all been known to create an allergic reaction in dogs.

It’s common for dry skin to appear in the winter months when homes are artificially heated and humidity is low. Air conditioning can also dehydrate the skin.

Beauty isn’t just skin deep and your dog’s skin needs nourishment from within. Essential oils like omega-3 and omega-6 are key to healthy skin and coat so if they’re not getting enough from their diet, this can cause skin problems.

Frequent shampooing can strip the skin of its natural oils so over-zealous bathing of your dog can actually do more harm than good. Too little attention to their hygiene can also be bad for their skin so achieving a balance is key.

Certain conditions like diabetes, Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism can all lead to dry, flaky skin so it’s important to rule these out as possible causes.

Dr Andrew Miller BVSc MRCVS

Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS

Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.