Dry skin around your dog's eyes could be an allergy, a simple skin irritation or it could be an indication of a more serious medical condition. Diseases such as ringworm and mange present with dry, patchy skin and require veterinary attention to ensure the condition doesn't spread.
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Ringworm is a fungal infection that can appear anywhere on your dog's body, though it's often more noticeable on the face because the hair is shorter. Ringworm will look like raised red welts with a red ring and a crusty, pale center. There may be noticeable hair loss around the lesions, and the skin can look dry or scaly. Your dog may paw at his face in an effort to itch the welts, which can result in spreading the infection to his forelimbs and feet. Your vet will treat your dog with an anti-fungal medication and will sometimes prescribe antibiotics or cortisone creams to stop itching and infection. If you suspect ringworm, don't handle your dog without gloves and protective clothing, and keep him away from other pets until he's treated. Ringworm is zoonotic and easily can be transferred to humans and other animals.
Demodectic mange is a parasitic skin infection most often seen in young or malnourished dogs with immune system disorders. Caused by mites, demodectic mange results in patchy hair loss, particularly on the face and around the eyes, and may give the skin a dry appearance. Your vet will culture skin cells from the area to make a definitive diagnosis and treat your dog with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo. Demodectic mange is not contagious to humans or other household pets. As with other skin irritations and conditions, a secondary infection called red mange can occur if the skin becomes infected. This may require an antibiotic treatment as well.
A skin yeast infection may be responsible for the dry skin around your dog's eyes. You may notice a greasy look to the skin and a noticeable musty, yeasty odor. Yeast infections are most commonly found in folds and creases in the skin, so your dog's eyelids may be most affected. Yeast infections can't be transferred to humans but still require veterinary intervention. Your vet likely will use an anti-fungal medication or a shampoo or wash comprised of benzoyl peroxide and sulfur/salicylate to alleviate the condition.
Dogs with sensitivities to various indoor and outdoor allergens can develop atopic dermatitis, an allergic irritation of the skin. Skin can appear red, inflamed and dry. If the problem persists on the face and around the eyes and ears, dogs may scratch and paw to stop the itching that accompanies the condition. This can lead to scratches and abrasions that are prone to a secondary infection. Your vet can help narrow the cause of the problem and may treat your dog with prescription allergy medications, antihistamines or anti-itch creams.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.