If you’re wondering why your adult or puppy Doberman has dry flaky skin, you certainly aren’t alone… Dry skin is a well-known issue that Doberman owners often deal with. This article will explain why your Dobi has dry skin and what you can do about it!
Most common reasons why Dobermans get dry skin:
- Color Dilution Alopecia
- Zinc Deficiency
All of these will be explained in further detail, along with common solutions, below.
Dobermans Are Prone To Skin Problems
Unfortunately, Dobermans are prone to numerous skin issues and it’s something owners will have to face throughout their Dobi’s life.
Dry skin is kind of like the tip of the iceberg. It’s something that encompasses many potential problems, as it can be both a symptom of an underlying health issue but also the cause of other problems too…
It also doesn’t discriminate with age, and Doberman puppies are just as prone to dry skin, if not more, as adults are.
7 Causes of Dry Skin In Dobermans
Let’s run through the most common causes of dry skin seen in Dobermans
One of the main causes of dry skin can be due to allergies, either a food allergy or an environmental-born allergy. Both of which are common.
Environmental allergens such as pollen, dust, molds, grasses, and even parasites like fleas and mites can all cause irritation and dry skin. Irritation usually makes matters worse by causing scratching, which then leads to inflammation and infections.
Food allergens, although not obvious, can also cause dry skin. If your Dobi is allergic to certain ingredients, it can cause inflammation of the skin, dermatitis, the formation of crusts, and itchiness.
One of the most common likely hereditary conditions found in Dobermans is Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone.
Aside from primarily affecting the metabolism, this condition can affect all different areas of the body, and the skin is one of them. In fact, dry skin and hair loss are two of the first signs that indicate thyroid issues.
Your local veterinarian can check for thyroid issues mostly typically via a blood test. Fortunately, this condition can be managed with straightforward medication.
The dream of every owner is to have their Doberman shinier than the other Doberman they saw at the local dog park. Yep, I’ve been there too.
In an attempt to do this, many owners over bathe their Doberman as they think it will improve their coat… This is far from what actually happens! Overbathing, especially with the wrong type of shampoo, will strip the coat of its natural oils. Remember, shampoo is technically a degreaser.
The result of overbathing is not only a duller coat but one that’s extremely dry and itchy. Severe dandruff will almost always be the effect of overbathing.
4. Canine Acne
Acne isn’t just for us, it can affect a number of breeds, and Dobermans certainly are on the list. Canine acne is a hereditary issue that is usually passed down from the parents.
Canine Acne usually starts in the early months (around 5-6 months of age) with the possibility of improving and phasing out on its own at about 1 year of age. For the unlucky Dobies, it might turn into chronic acne which can last for many years.
Dobermans with canine acne will usually have dry skin, scabbing, blackheads, pimples, and spots around their muzzle, under the chin, and even on their lips.
Although the pimples and spots do not cause much irritation themselves, they can do if they rupture. This opens up the possibility of secondary infections (which Dobermans are also prone to: CGD) and this will certainly require veterinary assistance.
5. Color Dilution Alopecia
If you have a fawn or blue Doberman, there’s an extremely high chance (around a 75-90% chance, respectively) that he or she will have this inherited condition.
Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA) is caused by a recessive gene and nearly always leads to hair loss at around 2-3 years of age, dry scaly skin, hair loss in patches, redness, and general skin irritation.
This condition, also nicknamed “Blue Doberman Syndrome” unfortunately isn’t curable, but it is manageable, and with the help of your veterinarian you will likely find a way to reduce the symptoms. Additionally, this disease does not affect your Dobies ability to live a long and happy life!
Yep, good old dehydration! Staying properly hydrated is so important for countless amounts of bodily functions, and it certainly has an impact on the health of your Dobi’s skin and coat.
Unfortunately, dogs don’t know how much they should drink, and most of the time they aren’t drinking as much as they should be.
This is where we come in… You don’t have to measure how much your Dobi is drinking, but it’s a very good idea to make conscious efforts that will encourage him to drink more. I’ll get into that in the following sections.
7. Zinc Deficiency
Zinc Deficiency (zinc-responsive dermatosis) affects many dogs across many breeds, primarily the larger breeds, and Dobermans are a part of this list.
ZRD happens through either maldigestion or malabsorption of zinc. So this doesn’t necessarily mean your Doberman isn’t already consuming sufficient amounts. It means there’s an issue with it actually getting into his system.
So what does ZRD do? Well, zinc is actually the second most important trace mineral in your Dobies body, so when there isn’t enough of it, many quite serious health implications can arise. Dry skin, being one of the main symptoms you might witness yet not one of the serious ones. ZRD affects the digestive system, immune system, and general functioning of vital organs.
Popular read: How to stop your Doberman from digging up you yard!
When To See a Veterinarian
When it comes to actually resolving the dry skin issue, the first thing to do is think about whether or not you need to see your local veterinarian. Spoiler alert: most of the time, you will need to.
As dry skin can be caused by so many things and underlying health issues, it’s best to make your veterinarian at least aware of it and for them to perform some basic tests.
Unless you are super confident that the dry skin has been caused by something external and non-serious (like overbathing) then it’s best to schedule an appointment.
7 Ways To Fix Doberman Dry Skin Issues
Although visiting your veterinarian should be a priority, here are some of the most well-known solutions to combat dry skin.
1. Avoid Overbathing
Perhaps one of the easiest solutions to dry skin (if it’s the cause) is to reduce the frequency of bathing. One bath every 3-5 months is ideal.
Dobermans have short coats that can be kept surprisingly clean with just brushing and baby wipes. Sure, this doesn’t replace proper bathing, but it certainly prolongs the amount of time in between each bath.
And be sure to only use a natural ingredient shampoo! Reduce the harsh chemicals to preserve the natural oils.
2. Elimination Diet
If your veterinarian suspects a food allergy, then an elimination diet of well-known culprit ingredients will be the likely solution.
Slowly removing common allergens could see a significant improvement in your Doberman’s overall health, digestion, and skin and coat. The most well-known allergens are chicken, beef, lamb, pork, grain, dairy, wheat, egg, soy.
3. Keeping His Environment Clean
Environmental allergens like dust, pollen, and molds can be kept to a minimum with frequent cleaning, vacuuming, and even air purifiers if you live in an area nearby fields with a lot of pollen, for example.
Carpets, rugs, and your Doberman’s bed are classic areas where dust and other allergens collect so be sure to keep them extra clean.
Remember, Dobies are a sensitive breed and allergies are common. Efforts like vacuuming and keeping his bed clean could very well impact the health of the skin. Despite not being so obvious.
4. Consider Adding a Fish Oil Supplement
Although it’s best to consult your veterinarian first, a simple fish oil supplement is generally considered a safe addition to any canine-diet.
Fish oils contain Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and these are known to increase overall skin and coat health, as well as having many additional health benefits. This is a common recommendation by many veterinarians.
Our favorite fish oil supplement is Zesty Paws: Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil
5. Increased Exercise
In many situations, an increase in daily exercise improves many bodily functions. Exercise does a lot more than just increasing stamina… The increased blood flow and improved function of many of the vital organs have rippling beneficial effects across the entire body.
Of course, whether or not you can do this depends on your Doberman’s current exercise routine. If he’s already receiving a solid 2 hours per day, then it’s best to keep it at that. If he’s only receiving 1 hour, try upping it for a few weeks and observe the changes to his overall behavior, attitude, and health.
6. Encourage Hydration
Believe it or not, dogs don’t like their water filled with their own saliva and random dirt. Don’t worry, we’ve all been guilty of leaving our dog’s water a little too long at some point. Including me.
Time for that to stop… Try to replace your Doberman’s water as much as possible (even if he hasn’t finished it) with cold, clean, and fresh water. This alone will encourage him to drink more.
If you know he’s one to avoid drinking, you can even add a tiny amount of unsalted meat broth to the water, or even pop a few ice cubes in it (which makes it a game). The result is a higher water intake and this will without a doubt improve his overall health.
7. Receive Help From Your Veterinarian
Yep, I thought I would add this in here once again. Although it’s extremely helpful to do your own research and learn as much as you can about your Dobi’s condition, nothing beats visiting your local veterinarian for an examination.
Your vet will be able to perform tests, take samples and give solid advice and even medication if needed.
And due to the fact that dry skin could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, it’s absolutely necessary to rule them out.
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Be sure to check out our other Doberman articles here on The Puppy Mag