Ask any vet about what brings dog owners in most often, and skin problems will likely top the list. As rough and tough as our pups can be, the unfortunate reality is that their largest organ is prone to a range of issues. Moreover, it’s not always easy to prevent them, as skin conditions can be caused by a number of factors. These include:
- Ticks, fleas, and infections
- Cold and dry weather
- Improper grooming and bathing
- Exposure to sunlight, chlorine, sand, and saltwater
While we can’t always prevent skin problems, the most common ones are usually treatable. This is especially true when you manage to detect them at an early stage. If you notice any dryness, itching, rashes, lumps, redness, or hair loss, then you may be seeing symptoms of an underlying condition. Here’s what that might be.
A sudden onset of itching can indicate that your dog has come in contact with a source of irritation. Environmental allergies among dogs are known as ‘atopy’ and are similar to hay fever in humans. Performing a blood test can help to reveal what exactly your pooch is allergic to. Grass, pollen, and dust mites are the main suspects.
Treatment usually involves shampoos and tablets or injections in more severe cases. Environmental dermatitis is another potential issue to consider here, which is characterised by a ‘hot spot’ that your dog will frequently lick.
Inflamed hair follicles point to folliculitis and usually result from another skin problem such as allergies or mange. The underlying skin condition causes the hair follicles to become infected, leading to inflammation that appears on the body as bumps, scabs, and sores. Your vet can prescribe shampoos and antibacterial ointments to eliminate the infection.
If your dog is itching around their face, feet, or ears, then they might have a food allergy. It’s often caused by proteins such as beef, chicken, and eggs, but can also come from wheat, grains, dairy, and even vegetables. Checking back on any recent diet changes or going through an elimination process might be necessary to determine the culprit.
Remember that what your dog eats serves as the foundation for their overall skin health and is key to preventing common issues like dryness and the itching that accompanies it. Raw diets made from natural ingredients make for the best food for dogs with dry skin, as it’s free from the ingredients that cause inflammation.
You may want to consider this food for dogs with dry skin from Bella and Duke, a local company that supplies raw dog food based on your pup’s individual needs. You can buy it all online and have it shipped to your door for free.
Speaking of pups, younger dogs are particularly prone to impetigo, which appears as blisters on their stomach. Over time, the lesions can burst and scab over. This is one skin condition that’s best treated by an expert as soon as you suspect that your dog has it. Antibiotics and washes are available to get rid of impetigo.
These are most prevalent in warm areas of your dog’s body that are difficult to reach, including their ear canal, perineum (under the tail), and between their toes. Yeast infections cause the skin to thicken, making it itchy and causing your dog to bite it.
Unpleasant smells and discoloured skin are the main symptoms. Fortunately, there are a range of effective treatments for yeast infections, including topical creams, washes, and tablets.
Contrary to its name, ringworm is actually a fungus that appears in crusty, circular bald patches on a dog’s paws, ears, and head. It can also appear on the front legs. This highly contagious infection causes inflammation and redness when inevitably scratched.
Like any skin problem, you should consult your vet as soon as you notice these symptoms. They will be able to prescribe an appropriate treatment, which typically comes in the form of a topical ointment or cream.
Certain species of mites are responsible for causing this skin condition on dogs’ skin and fur. There are two types of mange. One called demodectic mange tends to affect younger dogs and is indicative of an underlying condition. Senior dogs are also more susceptible to it.
The other type is known as sarcoptic mange, which is caused by mites of the same name. It’s an intensely itchy condition that usually starts on the ears. Aside from itching, you can notice it by hair loss and redness. Preventing contact with other animals and washing your dog’s bed sheets is a good first step before consulting a vet for further treatment.
Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so be sure to provide your dog a healthy diet and treat them with regular grooming and bathing. Routine visits to the vet can help to detect issues at an earlier stage.