Just like humans, dogs can have dry skin, too. This includes shih tzus who may scratch their skin frequently when it is dry because of the irritation. For the most part, dry skin is a nuisance, but it is not a big danger to your shih tzu. You just have to know how to treat it, so your dog can go back to being comfortable.
Signs of Dry Skin
There are several symptoms that may be associated with dry skin. Some of the symptoms will include the following.
- Excessive scratching
- Excessive flaking of the skin
- Lackluster coat
- Redness, inflammation, and crusting
The latter symptoms may point to something more serious, so you should check with your vet. This is particularly true if there is an unusual odor.
Now that you have seen the signs, the first step is identifying the cause of the dry skin. This will help you determine the right treatment.
Dry Skin Causes
There are several factors that can cause the skin of your shih tzu to become dry. Some of these factors include the following.
- Change in temperature
- Poor nutrition
- Too many baths
Most of them are environmental, such as a change in the temperature and humidity levels. The cold weather of winter can dry out the skin of a shih tzu just like a human. Plus, the hot sun may also evaporate away enough moisture to dry out the skin as well.
Poor nutrition may rob your shih tzu of the much-needed nutrients to help keep their skin supple. Plus, taking too many baths may dry out their skin as well due to the soap that is used. Of course, reducing the number of baths may please your shih tzu as well. And, allergies may also play a role in drying out their skin.
In some cases, dry skin may be the sign of something more serious with your shih tzu. Although relatively rare, it may be that the dry skin is an indication of one or more of the following conditions.
- Endocrine Diseases
- Serious Allergic Reactions of the Skin
- Infections & Infestations
- Cancer or Genetic Diseases
If you cannot identify the source of the dry skin or you suspect something more serious, then you should schedule a visit with your vet.
Treating Dry Skin
The most common treatment for dry skin is a moisturizer. You should add one to your dog’s bath or choose a shampoo that is low in soap content and includes a moisturizer as well. This will help keep the skin moist and supple.
In addition, do not blow dry the coat. Instead, use a towel to blot the coat so that it becomes dry on the surface. Do not rub as this might irritate the skin. If the cause is dietary in nature, consider adding some fish oil and probiotics which will help moisturize the skin. Of course, supplying more fresh water will certainly help.
If you are still noticing dry skin on your shih tzu, then check with your vet.