Ask Dr Claire

Would you be able to help with why my German shepherds skin is flaky? Could he have a skin infection? He scratches but I know he has no fleas or ticks. I use a good shampoo as well from the vet

Itchy or flaky skin is really just a symptom and can be the result of many underlying causes. In this case, we really need to find the cause of the itchy skin so that we can treat your dog’s problem (not just the symptom). This will help us reach the best treatment plan too.

GSDs are a breed particularly predisposed to skin allergies.

Some of the underlying causes of itchy skin might be:

  • Allergies– environmental pollens, food, fleas. We know that when humans have allergies to pollens etc they react by sneezing or getting watery eyes. In dogs, the common reaction to an allergen is that their skin gets itchy. Allergies causing itchy skin include food, fleas and environmental pollens- either breathed in or physically touched.
  • Mites– demodex or sarcoptes. Your local vet needs to do some simple tests to diagnose these, a few skin scrapes are performed (no anaesthetic needed) and then they look under the microscope, searching for the mites.
  • Direct irritant- such as a topical cream, weed, wash or insect bite.

A cool bath to remove any allergens and wash in soothing dog oatmeal shampoo would be helpful, and well as a dog leave on conditioner. But, if the itch is escalating he may need some medication to help.

Read more from the blog on why your dog could be itchy (here), and how to manage itchy skin (here).

If you’d like to chat in person, you can get a vet on a live video call or start a chat to discuss in more detail now.

We’re here to help!

Chat soon,

Dr Claire