Dry Skin on a Shih Tzu Dog

by Jane Meggitt, Demand Media Google
    Your best friend could suffer from dry skin.

    Your best friend could suffer from dry skin.

    If your adorable Shih Tzu best friend suffers from dry skin, take heart. There are ways to treat this condition, common in the breed, to relieve the scratching and hair loss. Take your dog to the vet for diagnosis and treatment if he exhibits more than minimal dry skin issues.

    Grooming

    Shih Tzus are high-maintenance regarding grooming and bathing. While regular brushing remains a must, learn to brush your dog correctly to avoid dry skin. Always mist the coat lightly with a conditioner suitable for dogs before brushing, rather than brushing a dry coat. Don't bathe your dog too often as shampoos will clean his coat, but wash out the natural oils that prevent over drying of the skin.

    Allergies

    Allergies may cause your Shih Tzu's dry skin conditions. A flea allergy is relatively easy to treat with a topical anti-flea medication. Ask your vet for the best product for your dog. Other allergies can be tougher to diagnose and treat. Your vet can test your dog for allergies and determine appropriate therapy. Common allergens include those in food or the environment, or contact allergies when the dog's skin reacts to direct contact with a particular substance, such as a wool blanket. While allergies can't be cured, treatment alleviates symptoms. Suspect an allergy if your dog scratches constantly and lesions appear on the skin. However, these dry skin situations mimic other canine dermal issues.

    Pyoderma

    This bacterial skin disease produces pimple-like yellow bumps, along with scaly, dry, crusted skin areas and hair loss. The pustules are prevalent on the face, feet, genitals and skin folds. Take your dog to the vet if he develops these symptoms or anything resembling acne. Treatment consists of bathing with antibacterial shampoos and antibiotics. Depending on the level of recovery, treatments may be short or long-term. This skin disease often recurs after initial treatment.

    Prevention

    Since preventing your Shih Tzu's dry skin condition in the first place is easier than treating it later, feed him a high-quality dog food. Ask your vet about supplements, such as flax seed and others with beneficial fatty acids, that help keep skin and coats in good condition. Since your Shih Tzu probably sits on your lap quite a bit, use the opportunity to inspect his skin to nip problems in the bud.

    About the Author

    Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, her work has appeared in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

    Photo Credits

    • Mature woman and her dog image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com