9 Suprising Causes Of Dry Skin On Huskies & What To Do

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This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Dilber Hussain, DVM, to ensure we're providing the most up-to-date guidance. READ MORE

Is your husky scratching or licking constantly? Do you notice that the skin underneath their impressive coat is dry or flaky? Dry skin is uncomfortable for dogs, just as it is for us.

The good news is that, in most cases, you can help heal your husky’s dry skin. Most causes of dry skin aren’t very serious, including allergies and frequent bathing. However, it can be a sign of a serious disorder, including hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.

In this article we’ll take a look at the reasons why your husky has dry skin, and what you can do to help.

9 Main Causes Of Dry Skin On Huskies (With Solutions)

Dry skin is a common problem for huskies. Narrowing down the reason for their dry skin can take a little investigative work. Some causes need to be diagnosed and treated by a vet, but other causes can be treated at home.

Common causes of dry skin in huskies include: 

  1. Allergies
  2. Parasites
  3. Infection
  4. Zinc Deficiency
  5. Hypothyroidism
  6. Cushing’s Disease
  7. Poor Nutrition
  8. Frequent Bathing/Using Wrong Products 
  9. Winter Weather

1. Allergies

Allergies are a common issue for all dog breeds, including huskies. Allergies can be caused by substances in the environment, flea bites, or food ingredients.

Contact dermatitis is one type of allergy that can cause dry skin in huskies. This occurs when your husky comes into contact with something and has an allergic reaction.

Grass and other types of ground cover are the most common contact allergens for huskies. Fleas are another common allergen for dogs. Huskies that suffer from flea allergies are allergic to the saliva from flea bites.

Food allergies can also cause skin issues for huskies, and this is why you should be careful when considering what to feed your husky. Common food allergies include dairy, beef, chicken, eggs, soy, or wheat.

Symptoms And Treatment

The symptoms of allergies in huskies include itchy skin, hives or a skin rash, hair loss, and skin lesions.

Food allergies can trigger vomiting, diarrhea, and gas, as well as skin issues.

Allergy treatment will depend on the allergen. You’ll need to work with your vet to determine the allergen and treatment.

If they have a food allergy, you’ll need to feed them a diet without the allergen. If a flea allergy is a cause, flea treatment is the solution.

Environmental or contact allergies can’t always be avoided. They may need a shirt to keep allergens away from their skin or allergy medication.

2. Parasites

Parasites can also cause dry itchy skin for huskies. Other than fleas, the most common causes are demodex mites, scabies, and walking dandruff. Lice can also be the culprit.

Symptoms And Treatment

Parasites can cause intense itching and skin irritation, which causes your husky to scratch, lick, or bite. Hair loss, dandruff, and red skin are also symptoms.

You may see small black dots or dandruff flakes in their fur or on their skin as well.

Some parasites can be treated at home. Many flea and tick products can also kill walking dandruff. Lice and demode mites can be treated with over-the-counter medication as well.

However, if the condition continues, you’ll need to visit the vet.

3. Skin Infection

Skin infections can also cause dry skin in huskies. Infections are typically fungal or bacterial.

Symptoms And Treatment

Symptoms of a skin infection include redness, itching, flaky or scaly skin, and hyperpigmentation. You may also notice a foul or musty odor.

Skin infections must be diagnosed and treated by your vet. However, skin-soothing home remedies can also help.

4. Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency is technically known as zinc-responsive dermatosis. It’s common in Northern breeds, including huskies.

It’s caused by a genetic inability to absorb zinc from their food adequately. It can be triggered by heat, stress, or severe stomach problems.

Zinc deficiency can also be caused by diets that are rich in calcium, as calcium binds with zinc and prevents its absorption.

Symptoms And Treatment

Zinc deficiency typically causes scaling, itching, or dry skin in certain areas, including the mouth, eyes, and genital area. They may also have a dull coat.

Zinc deficiency requires diagnosis and treatment from the vet. Your vet may recommend dietary changes or supplements to increase their zinc levels.

5. Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is responsible for hormone production and metabolism in huskies. Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid is underactive. This causes their metabolism to be abnormally slow.

Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include a dull coat, hair loss, and dry skin. It can also cause lethargy, unexplained weight gain, and sensitivity to the cold.

The disease must be diagnosed by your vet and treated with medication.

6. Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease causes your husky’s body to produce too much cortisol. It’s common in dogs who are seniors, according to the FDA. It’s typically caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland or adrenal glands.

Symptoms And Treatment

Cushing’s disease can cause skin infections, easy tearing or bruising of the skin, dry skin, and hair loss. Other symptoms include increased thirst and urination, lethargy, and excessive panting.

Cushing’s disease requires veterinary treatment, with medication or tumor removal.

7. Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition can also cause dry skin for huskies. Huskies need a diet higher in fat and protein than most breeds because they adapted to survive in arctic conditions.

Like polar bears, they evolved to eat high-fat meals, without negative effects on their heart or waistline.

Most commercial dog foods are low in protein and fats, and higher in carbohydrates. It’s best to choose a food designed for high-energy dogs, or one that is high in protein.

Symptoms And Treatment

Poor nutrition can cause a dull coat, hair loss, and dry skin. They may also have an odor, bad breath, or lethargy.

To treat poor nutrition, you’ll need to improve your husky’s diet. One way to do this is to change their dog food.

You can also add a supplement designed to support skin and coat health, or a supplement high in Omega 3 fatty acids.

8. Frequent Bathing/Using Wrong Products

Huskies are excellent self-groomers. Their skin doesn’t produce a high amount of oil, so they don’t require baths very often. In fact, you should bathe them once every 3 to 4 months.

You can bathe them more often if they get really dirty, but you shouldn’t bathe them often on a regular basis.

Bathing removes natural oils from the skin and coat, which can cause dry skin.

A black and white husky running next to a stream

Using the wrong products when bathing can also trigger dry skin. Avoid using products that aren’t designed for dogs. Human shampoos have a different ph than those designed for canines.

Treating Overbathing

Of course, if overbathing is the problem, you’ll simply need to reduce the frequency of the baths. You should also use a dog shampoo formulated for sensitive skin.

9. Winter Time

Wintertime can also cause dry skin in huskies. This isn’t due to the cold air itself. Instead, it’s because the air becomes very dry due to the cold.

Indoor air also becomes dry, because the air loses moisture as it is heated.

Treating Winter Dryness

You can treat winter dryness by using a humidifier in the winter months. You should also be sure that your husky is drinking enough water, and getting enough fat in their diet.

Dry Skin Home Remedies

No matter the cause of your husky’s dry skin, home remedies can help. These remedies aren’t a substitute for treating the cause of dry skin. However, they can provide temporary relief.

Natural Moisturizers

Natural moisturizers can help relieve your husky’s dry skin. You should be sure to use an oil that is safe for your pooch to ingest. Whatever you rub on their skin is likely to end up in their mouth because they will lick it.

Coconut oil is an excellent dog-friendly moisturizer. It’s also anti-bacterial and antifungal.

Vitamin E and olive oil are also good choices for your pooch’s dry skin.

Oatmeal Bath

Baths are not typically recommended for dry skin, but there are a few baths that can provide relief.

Oatmeal baths are great for your husky’s skin and coat. Oatmeal has moisturizing, healing, and anti-inflammatory properties.

The easiest way to give your pooch an oatmeal bath is to use baby oatmeal cereal. It dissolves into the water for easy cleanup.

You can also use whole oats. Place them in an old stocking, and allow them to soak in the water. Then, apply the oatmeal stocking to your dog’s skin, and rinse with the water from the bath.

When To Contact A Veterinarian

You’ve already noticed that many causes of dry skin need to be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian. If you notice skin lesions, dull coat, hair loss, or spot parasites on your husky, these are signs you should make a trip to the vet.

If they have symptoms of an illness, including lethargy, weight gain, or appetite changes, along with dry skin, they should be evaluated by the vet as well.

How To Prevent Dry Skin On Huskies

There are a few things you can do to prevent your husky from developing dry skin.

Groom them regularly, and be on the lookout for problems with their skin and coat. If you notice any issues, quick treatment can limit the severity of the problem.

In the wintertime, consider using a humidifier in the rooms where your husky spends the most time.

Avoid overbathing, and only use products designed for dogs. Rather than bathing them in dog shampoo, consider giving them an oatmeal bath if they are prone to dry skin.

Be sure to feed them a healthy diet. If their coat begins to look dull or thin, a fish oil supplement is a good idea.

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About The Author

Hi, I’m Carrie! I’ve always had a special connection with nature, and animals of all shapes and sizes in particular. I’ve been a writer for nearly a decade and recently joined the Malamute Mom team. I love providing information to other dog lovers.

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