Dry Skin in Pet Pigs -don’t flake on your pig’s skin routine

Written by: Bria Osborne, OVC 2026

Edited by: Dr. Paisley Canning

Most potbellied pigs will have some degree of dry skin in their life. Dry skin can range from mild dryness to thick flakey plates of skin (figures 1 and 2).

Photo Credit: Mini Pig info

Figure 1: Above is an example of dry, flaking skin on a dark coloured pig.

Potbellied Pig Veterinary Medicine by Kristie Mozzachio 

Figure 2: Above is an example of pig who is experiencing more severe skin dryness and flaking.

Why does my pig have dry skin? 

  • One of the most common reasons for dry skin in pet pigs in an unbalanced diet.
    • Your pig may be missing certain amino acids and vitamins that keep your pig’s skin healthy and smooth. Having a nutrition consultation with Dr. Canning can ensure that your pig’s diet is complete and balanced.  
  • Being overweight
    • Overweight pigs tend to have more severe issues with hair loss and dry skin 
  • Lack of access to wallowing environment 
  • Stress  
  • External parasites that damage skin and cause itching
    • Example: lice, mange and ringworm  
  • Genetics  
  • Skin disease
    • Example: erysipelas  
  • Seasonality
    • In the warm months, pigs may “blow their coat” meaning they loose all or most of their hair. Dry and flakey skin may be apparent during this time.

How to reduce dry skin 

Soaking a towel in warm water and placing it on your pig is a good way to help loosen up the dry skin. The goal is to hydrate the top layers of dry skin, so that they will slough off and allow now healthy skin to grow underneath and replace them.  Pigs have many layers of dry, dead skin. Once the skin is soaked you can exfoliate your pig’s skin using a towel or a bristle brush (figure 3). This process may have to be repeated over a couple of weeks.   Most skin issues are chronic in nature, and it will take at least 6 months to 1.5 years to get the skin in better condition  

You can moisturize your pigs using coconut oil to help soften the skin. If you like to bath your pig, be mindful as to not over bathe them as they can have their natural moisturizing oils stripped off of their skin.  

Our clinic also carries a product called “douxo” spray. It can provide cleansing and moisturization to your pig’s dry skin and can be a beneficial addition to their skin care routine.  

Photo Credit: Best friends animal society  

Figure 3: Using a bristle brush can help exfoliate your pig’s many layers of dry skin.  

Having routine vet visits can allow your vet to monitor your pigs skin condition and check to ensure that the dry skin is not due to a parasite infestation. Sarcoptic mange produces dry and flakey looking skin, so having Dr.Canning look at your pig and provide antiparasitic medication if needed can provide some relief to your pig.  

 If you are concerned about your pig’s dry skin, want a nutrition consultation, or a physical exam of your pig’s skin, please reach out to Dr. Canning. 


American Mini Pig Association

Potbellied Pig Veterinary Medicine by Kristie Mozzachio 

Last updated on August 8th, 2023.