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Shih Tzu Skin Problems - Dry Skin

Dry skin on your Shih Tzu can be uncomfortable and irritating. Although it’s fairly common, it’s important to understand the causes and prevention of dry skin, as well as how to best treat it if it occurs.


This article will explore the causes, preventive measures that can be taken to reduce its occurrence, and home remedies and treatments that can be used when needed.

Article Contents

Causes Of Dry Skin On Your Shih Tzu

Allergies & Diet

Dry skin is a common problem among dogs, and it can be caused by a variety of factors such as environmental changes, poor nutrition, and allergies.


Allergies are one of the most common causes of dry skin in dogs and can manifest themselves as irritation or even redness on their skin. Itching due to allergies can cause a dog to scratch excessively, which further exacerbates the irritation.


You should look for signs that could indicate an allergy such as excessive itching, licking or chewing of the paws, or flaky skin. If these symptoms are present for an extended period of time then it may be necessary to consult with a veterinarian in order to determine what type of allergen is causing the reaction.


In some cases, changing your Shih Tzu’s diet or providing supplements to add essential fatty acids to their current diet may be enough to alleviate symptoms.


For more information about allergies you might like to read some of our other articles:


Best Food For A Shih Tzu With Allergies.

Best Shampoo For A Shih Tzu With Allergies.


Dry skin on dogs can be a difficult condition for pet owners to manage. However, what many don’t know is that genetics plays an important role in the development of this skin disorder.


Some breeds are more prone to dry skin because their genetic makeup leaves them more vulnerable to climate changes and other environmental factors.


For example, some double-coated breeds such as Shih Tzus are especially susceptible due to their thick coats of fur which can easily become matted and trap moisture from evaporating from their skin.


In addition, short-nosed dog breeds find it harder to regulate their temperature which can also lead to dryness of the skin.

shih tzu


Dry skin on your Shih Tzu can be caused by a variety of factors, but the climate is one that often gets overlooked.


A common cause of dry skin in dogs is low humidity levels. In areas with drier climates, such as deserts or other dry parts of the country, there is less water vapor present in the air which can lead to dryness and itching for your dog.


In addition to this, exposure to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can also contribute to skin irritation since they can strip away natural oils from the fur and reduce skin elasticity.



Often, when dogs suffer from dry skin, the cause is an infestation of parasites.


Parasites are small organisms that live on or inside of their host animal and feed off the host in order to survive. They can cause a variety of symptoms in dogs, including dry skin.


The most common parasite found on dogs with dry skin is fleas. Fleas are tiny wingless insects that feed on blood and live in fur coats, bedding, carpets, and other areas that your Shih Tzu may frequent.


Flea infestations can cause intense itching for your Shih Tzu which leads to excessive scratching resulting in further irritation and eventually dry skin.


Additionally, fleas can also transmit disease and should be treated as soon as possible if discovered.


If you suspect your Shih Tzu has fleas then you should consult your vet immediately.

Medical Conditions

There are several medical conditions that can contribute to your Shih Tzu having dry skin, such as allergies, parasites, endocrine diseases, or metabolic issues.


Allergies may be caused by food sensitivities or contact with certain substances that are known irritants for your dog’s skin. Parasites like mites and fleas will cause irritation that can further lead to dryness and inflammation of the skin.


Endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease disrupt hormone levels in the body which can result in excessive shedding and poor fur quality leading to dry skin.


If your Shih Tzu has any underlying medical conditions then you should speak with your vet to determine if this might be the cause of their dry skin.

Age-Related Changes

Dogs, like all animals, can experience age-related changes that can cause dry skin on their bodies.


As your Shih Tzu ages, its coat and skin may become dryer due to a decrease in the production of natural oils that keep its fur healthy and hydrated. This lack of oil production can lead to flaking, itching, and other uncomfortable symptoms for your pup.


Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help treat and prevent dry skin on your dog as they get older. Regular brushing helps ensure that dead hair is removed from the coat while distributing natural oils throughout the fur.


In addition, providing regular baths with lukewarm water can help soothe irritated skin while removing excess dirt or dander.

Additionally, feeding an appropriate diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps promote healthy skin and coat development over time.

Prevention Of Dry Skin On Your Shih Tzu

Dry skin is a common problem in dogs, especially during the colder months when the air is drier.


Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent your Shih Tzu from getting dry skin and to keep their coat healthy and shiny.

For an in-depth look at the best types of natural and healthy shampoo’s for your Shih Tzu please read our article: The Best Shampoo For A Shih Tzu.

There are many types of brushes for grooming your dog and you can learn about what ones you’ll need and why in our article – The Best Brush For A Shih Tzu.

To learn everything you need to know about providing your Shih Tzu a balanced and healthy diet please read our article – Shih Tzu Food List – What They Should And Shouldn’t Eat.

shih tzu dry skin infographic

Home Remedies For Dry Skin

Apple Cider Vinegar


Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for a variety of skin conditions in dogs, including dry skin. Here’s what you need to know about using apple cider vinegar to treat dry skin on dogs:

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Dry Skin in Dogs:

While apple cider vinegar can be a helpful home remedy for dry skin for your Shih Tzu, it’s important to use it properly and in moderation.


Always dilute the vinegar before applying it to your dog’s skin and monitor them for any signs of irritation or allergic reaction.


Consult with your veterinarian before trying any home remedies for your Shih Tzu’s dry skin, especially if your dog has any underlying medical conditions or is taking medication.

Coconut Oil


Coconut oil is a natural remedy that can be used to help treat dry skin in dogs.


Here’s what you need to know about using coconut oil to relieve dry skin on your furry friend:

Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dry Skin in Dogs:

While coconut oil can be a helpful home remedy for dry skin in dogs, it’s important to use it properly and in moderation.


Consult with your veterinarian before trying any home remedies for your Shih Tzu’s dry skin.

Veterinary Care For Your Shih Tzu's Dry Skin

If your Shih Tzu is suffering from dry skin, there are several types of veterinary care that can help diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the condition.


Here are some of the different types of veterinary care that may be recommended for a dog with dry skin:

In addition to these types of veterinary care, your vet may also recommend home remedies, such as coconut oil or apple cider vinegar, to help relieve your Shih Tzu’s dry skin.


It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations and monitor your dog’s skin for any signs of improvement or worsening.

Further Reading

If you would like to dig deeper into all areas of caring for your Shih Tzu we recommend you check out the book below.

shih tzu complete guide book cover

Using interviews with 17 top Shih Tzu breeders, author and experienced Shih Tzu owner Molly Weinfurter has created an in-depth look at what it takes to successfully live with, raise, and train a Shih Tzu.


This book has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon with over 220 reviews.


In conclusion, dry skin can be a serious issue for your Shih Tzu if not handled properly.


It is important to recognize the causes of dry skin, such as environmental factors, or food allergies, and take appropriate preventative measures such as proper nutrition and grooming.


There are many home remedies that can be used to help ease symptoms associated with dry skin, but it is always best to consult with a veterinarian when it comes to treating the issue.

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