How to deal with German Shepherd Dry Itchy Skin

photo by barkingroyalty

A german shepherd with a Dry Itchy Skin can be one of the most difficult health conditions to manage. It is actually one of the reasons why GSDs are euthanized early in life because their owners do not understand how serious it can become if ignored or unaddressed properly.

There are many reasons that your German Shepherd could have developed dry itchy skin. The first thing you need to consider is your dog’s environment.

Environmental allergic reactions are the most common cause of dry itchy skin for GSDs, so you need to consider what could be bothering your dog. If possible, take your German Shepherd to the same field where he always gets irritated and see how he reacts. There are many environmental allergies that can affect dogs.

Introduction To German Shepherd Skin

German Shepherds have double coats. Their outer coat tends to be thick and straight while their inner coat can be wiry and soft. Originally, they were bred as working dogs that can withstand harsh weather. Thus, having a double coat. But having a double coat is the reason why they are considered as “great shedders”. And as shedders, GSDs tend to have more sensitive skin than other dog breeds.

Possible Reasons why GSDs tend to have Dry Itchy Skin

As mentioned above, GSDs have more sensitive skin than most dog breeds. There are many underlying reasons for their dry itchy skin.

Food Intolerance

One of the reasons for German Shepherd red itchy skin is food allergies. Processed foods are more common and more convenient but they may contain ingredients that may cause dermatitis or eczema.


Things as trivial as carpets, paints, laundry detergents and even dog shampoo may cause German Shepherd puppy dry skin. Your GSD puppy’s immune system is not yet developed. Thus, they are more predisposed to different allergy triggers.

Topical Reactions

Skin infections such as hot spots may also lead to German Shepherd red itchy skin. These are usually caused by bacterial and yeast infections. If these bacteria and yeast accumulate under the dog’s hair, your GSD will start scratching and chewing that part of his skin. This skin irritation results in wounds and reddening of the skin. Aside from this, some dog breeds are known to be carriers of Demodex Mange. This type of mange may not show symptoms but it can still cause redness on your GSD’s skin.

Old Age

As German Shepherds grow old, they tend to lose some of their hair thus exposing a part of their skin. This makes them more prone to dry skin and other skin problems which causes redness of the skin.

See also  German Shepherd with No Neck

Flea Infestation

German Shepherd dry skin and hair loss are due to a flea infestation. These parasites can drive your GSD at its wit’s end due to an unending itch. An untreated flea infestation may lead to skin infection due to excessive scratching resulting in infected open wounds. It may also cause anemia, neurogenic dermatitis, and tapeworms.

Excessive Bathing

Too much of a good thing is bad. If you see dry flaky skin on German Shepherds, that means their skin has been stripped of their natural oils.

Yeast Overgrowth and Skin Infections

Hot and humid places can encourage yeast growth in GSDs and so does bacterial infections. They are more seen in skin folds. Yeast overgrowth encourages excess oil production. The oil build-up in the skin may result in severe itchiness that will eventually lead to a skin infection.

Untreated open wounds usually result in skin infections that are caused by bacteria. Their skin may appear to be red, moist, and sometimes with pus. Depending on your GSD’s immune system, it may worsen over time.

Change of Season

As seasons change, so does the GSD’s coat. They will grow more coats in winter to warm themselves up. German Shepherd dry skin in winter is more common. Indoor heaters can make their skin too dry and uncomfortable.

Hormonal Disorders

GSDs are more vulnerable to hormonal disorders attributed to their genetics. It is believed that one or both parents may carry the faulty gene. Listed below are some of the common hormonal diseases.

  • Pituitary Dwarfism is a growth disorder characterized by retention of puppy coat longer than usual but will eventually shed off resulting in baldness. They usually have shortened legs and scally, hyperpigmented skin due to very poor immune systems.
  • Cushing’s Disease is the overproduction of cortisol. It mostly affects middle-aged and older GSDs. Some symptoms are, panting, hair loss, weight gain, drinking more water than usual, and urinating more often.

How To Treat German Shepherd Dry Itchy Skin

It is best for you to bring your GSD puppy or dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice that there are changes on its skin, particularly reddening of the skin. Skin allergies are not always caused by food intolerance so you better have your GSD checked.

If it is an allergy, your veterinarian will prescribe corticosteroids, antihistamines, and even antibiotics if necessary. These medications will address your GSD’s immediate problem with its red itchy skin.

There are also other options in treating the skin problems of your GSD. You can use herbal remedies or homeopathic remedies to help your pet get rid of its health problem.

See also  When Should You Spay or Neuter a German Shepherd?

If the cause is due to old age, you should also take note that it may be time for your German Shepherd to retire from being a working dog.

Lastly, if there are no other underlying causes of your GSD’s dry itchy skin, you may bath them regularly. Use dog shampoo that is free from any chemicals or perfumes. Make sure to check the ingredient so there are no allergens included.

Research and modern medicine have helped us to discover proper treatments for different kinds of skin issues our GSDs are currently suffering. There are different approaches to healing certain skin irritations. Some may be resolved quickly, though some may need long-term observation and oral medications.

Food Elimination

Identifying which foods cause your GSD allergies is the first step. Feed your GSD one food at a time. This way, you can monitor if it will develop an intolerance. Don’t forget to keep a diary of what you feed your GSD. This can help determine the exact allergen that’s causing your GSD to have itchy skin.

Diet Change

Changing your dog’s diet can help alleviate scratching and itching. Wet foods might make dogs more allergic, so opt for the finest dry food with all of the essential nutrients to help your dog grow and maintain his or her gut health.

Visit your veterinarian for advice on which diet is best for your dog.


Giving correct vitamins and mineral supplements is a good German Shepherd dry skin remedy. A vet-recommended dose of Omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial for your GSD’s skin and coat. It will also help strengthen your GSD’s immune system making wounds to heal faster and fight off skin allergies.

Coconut Oil

Using German Shepherd dry skin coconut oil orally or topically can help improve their skin conditions. Packed with lauric acid, it helps stimulate healthy skin and coat, normalizes thyroid functions, and encourages better digestion. When applied topically, It can soothe dry, itchy skin, disinfects open wounds, and moisturizes. Since coconut oil is a known deodorizer, expect your GSD to smell better.

Medicated Shampoos and Topical Creams

If your German Shepherd has very dry itchy skin, you will need to shampoo their coat frequently until the symptoms subside. Afterward, apply topical remedies for them to heal quickly.

Looking for the correct German Shepherd itchy skin cure may look like finding a needle in a haystack. You’ve got to identify your GSDs symptoms to match what they need.

You can purchase anti-flea shampoos formulated for GSD’s sensitive skin to end flea infestation. Using topical antibiotics created for particular German Shepherd skin conditions is a must, especially for infected wounds.

Oral Prophylaxis

Some German Shepherd skin problems are caused by hormonal disorders and may require oral medicine for a longer period, if not for a lifetime. Your vet will give the proper dosage to your GSD and it needs to be followed religiously to prevent recurrence or worsening.

Proper Grooming

GSDs are known to shed for life. Bathing them every day will induce excessive dry skin. The best way is to use a special brush, comb, or glove for grooming. Deshedding gloves are far easier to use. It helps clear debris and dirt, removes dead hair, and stimulates oil production for healthy coat and hair.

Dander Removal

Regular grooming can help keep your GSD’s coat healthy. The more it grooms, the less dander and dirt will stick around.

Grooming should involve a thorough brushing to get rid of dead skin cells that might be irritating your dog’s skin. It is also important to check your GSD’s skin regularly for any changes that might indicate a problem.

It is essential to keep the hair around the anal area trimmed at all times. The hair there can trap moisture and feces, which can lead to irritation of the skin in that area, especially if she has diarrhea or other bowel issues.

German Shepherd Dry Skin Prevention

It is often believed that prevention is better than cure. So, how do we avoid German Shepherd skin problems?

  • Never give your dog low-quality food.
  • Always clean your GSDs surroundings.
  • Treat wounds.
  • Use natural oils to combat dry skin.
  • Have regular visits to the vet.
  • Regular grooming.
  • Avoid feeding food that your GSD can’t tolerate.
  • Religiously finish oral medications to prevent or worsen other diseases.


GSDs may not be able to convey to you how they feel. But seeing them scratch and itch constantly is a sign that they may be suffering from various skin problems. There are many available products for GSDs’ skin conditions in the market. Just patiently check their symptoms to see which product matches your beloved GSD. Remember that a GSD with healthy skin is a sign of a loving owner.

The products featured on this page were last updated on 2024-07-14 /. Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Previous Article
wolf and german shepherd

German Shepherd vs. Wolf

Next Article
photo by Unsplash

Pannus and other German Shepherd Eye Problems

Related Posts