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Dry flaking itching skin on my dog

by Cindy
(MIddlesex, NC USA)

My dog has been chewing the bottoms of her feet and scooting her butt for years. She has a very itchy bottom of her chin, now has dry flakes on her dandruff.

She itches all over constantly, no lesions or hair falling out. Eats Taste of the Wild with Salmon dry but also has chicken, beef or liver mixed in with her food (cooked). We give her flaxseed oil, we have tried using a dandruff shampoo, also tea tree oil shampoo. All to no avail. Do not see any flea or ticks.

What else can we do to alleviate her distress?

Comments for Dry flaking itching skin on my dog

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Apr 14, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dry flaking itching skin on my dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Cindy,
From your description of your dog chewing on the bottoms of her feet, scooting on her rear, and itching the bottom of her chin, this suggests that she may have an allergy to something she is laying on (contact allergy).

It may take some detective work and trial and error to figure out what it might be since it can be anything outside or inside the house.

To narrow things down inside the house, cover her bed and anywhere else she spends the most time with a 100% cotton sheet. Wash this sheet weekly with a hypoallergenic laundry detergent. If you have wall to wall synthetic carpet, you may need to lay down a plastic carpet runner over her most frequently traveled pathways in the house.

Outside the house, limit her access to grass, only for 'bathroom' breaks, and see if you can keep her mostly on concrete surfaces.

After 4-6 weeks or sooner, if she is improving then you can start a 'trial' experiment to give her more access to grass for a few days. If that does NOT trigger more itching or scooting, then remove the carpet runners in the house so she can walk on the synthetic carpet. And so on. Each time allowing more access to other surfaces.

Her diet should have MORE moisture. The Taste of the Wild with Salmon is a good diet, but it is DRY. See if it is available in a canned version. Better yet, if you are able to gradually switch her to an all RAW diet, that would be the best for her skin! See our page on Raw Dog Food Diets.

I would not add any organ meat to an already balanced diet. But it is ok to continue adding small amounts of chicken, turkey or beef to her food RAW.

Instead of the flaxseed oil, try Fish oil. Since dogs are carnivores, they seem to obtain the Omega 3 fatty acids from animal sources such as fish more efficiently than they do from vegetable sources. If she weighs 50 Lbs she would need at least 1,000 mg of fish oil added to her food daily.

The dandruff shampoo and tea tree oils are TOO drying for her already dry, flaking skin. You will need to massage coconut oil into her skin weekly, and let it soak in for 1-2 hours. (Or longer if possible. With really dry skin, some dogs are not even greasy after their skin has soaked up all of the coconut oil!)


Apr 14, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dry flaking itching skin on my dog PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Cindy,
Here is the rest of my response.

If she is a little oily, then give her a shampoo with DAWN DISH detergent, and rinse it well. Follow with a second shampoo using OATMEAL shampoo. This is a very good remedy to relieve itching. She can even have 2 oatmeal shampoos per week if needed for the next 4-6 weeks to give her relief.

ALSO, do not give her any vaccinations this year! Her immune system is already overstressed with the allergic dermatitis. Remind your veterinarian that in order to give a vaccination, the animal must be healthy! With her chronic itching, dry and flaking skin, she is NOT healthy.

Or better yet, seek the help of a holistic veterinarian! Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Skin Conditions,
- Dog Itchy Skin,
- Dog Skin Rash,
- Dog Skin Allergies,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Skin Rashes, Marks, Spots, Lesions & Patches (including itchy skin and mange) Section,

Apr 17, 2012
Dog with flaking, itchy skin
by: Antoinette, Sydney

I fully agree with the fish oil advice. Our old border collie crossbreed suffered from scaly, flaking skin quite badly along her spine and above the tail. We initially gave her fish oil and noticed an immediate improvement. We now give her half a tin of sardines once or twice weekly and the skin is back to normal. Also the epi-soothe and oatmeal washes were good.

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