Dog Skin Problems are the most noticeable (and the most common) health problems in dogs. Not only is it unsightly, it is also an important indicator of your dog’s health. Dog skin problems may range from the acute, self-limiting ones to chronic ones that require life-long treatment
Types of Dog Skin Problems
SKIN PARASITES: These include mites, mange, lice, ticks, and fleas. These parasites cause inflammation, skin lesions, itchiness, and hair loss. Pets with flea allergies are specifically allergic to flea saliva.
SKIN and FOOD ALLERGIES: Some breeds are predisposed to developing allergies more than others. When exposed to allergens, your dog’s immune system produces antibodies which then cause inflammation and itchiness. Dogs are typically allergic to protein such as beef, dairy, chicken, and egg. They will itch on the face, feet, ears and around the anus. Some dogs may even have increased vomiting and several bowel movements.
RINGWORM: A ringworm, despite its name, is caused by a fungal infection. This is highly contagious and can spread to other pets and even humans. Ringworm lesions are circular and appear in bald crusty patches.
DANDRUFF: Just like people, dogs can get dandruff. Dandruff is caused by skin irritation or dry skin. As the coat is being shed and replaced, skin will require protein.
AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS: If your dog’s skin problems just won’t heal, the cause is likely an immune disorder. This happens when your dog’s immune system attacks its own cells. An example of this disorder is canine lupus, manifested in skin lesions with severe ulcerations and crusting.
How is it treated?
SKIN PARASITES: Skin parasites are treated with flea prevention products as well as by treating the surrounding environment (keeping the pet bedding clean or changing it altogether).
SKIN or FOOD ALLERGIES: Dog skin allergies are a complication because your dog can suffer from several types. To treat this, your vet will have to pinpoint the type of skin infection and treat accordingly. For food allergies, your dog will need to be exclusively fed a special diet for eight to twelve weeks. This is called a food elimination trial. Your veterinarian may recommend a hydrolyzed diet or proteins that your dog is not allergic to.
RINGWORM: Depending on the severity of the infection, ringworm is treated both by medicated shampoo and oral medications.
DANDRUFF: As your dog’s coat is being shed and replaced, skin will require protein. Your dog will have to be fed a diet that contains the proper types of protein essential to a healthy skin and coat. Your vet will most likely require a diet high in omega 3 and 6, as well as fatty acids, B group vitamins, and minerals.
AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS: Autoimmune disorders will require specific treatment. Your veterinarian will be able to dispense treatment only after a proper diagnosis.
Healthy dogs seldom develop skin problems. Soon as you spot anything amiss with your pet’s coat, visit a veterinarian immediately. Only a veterinarian can make the proper medicinal and nutritional recommendation for dog skin problems.