Have you noticed your dog scratching himself incessantly, rubbing his snout or licking his paws all the time? These signs might be caused by skin problems beyond just an irritation. In fact many dogs suffer from a multitude of skin problems, and skin conditions are one of the most common reasons for visits to the veterinarian. Luckily there are many effective treatments available to help soothe our pets.
As soon as a dog starts scratching himself excessively, dry skin may be involved. When it comes to dry skin, you may notice flaky skin patches and a dry haircoat in addition to the itchiness. The cause of dry skin in pets may not always be easy to diagnose, but a few common ailments are often responsible.
Start by evaluating whether your pet’s diet is balanced and adequate to meet his needs. Changing your pet’s diet to a skin-healthy formula may help improve your pet’s dry skin issues.
The frequency of bathing may also cause your pet’s skin to dry out. Bathing too often (or not often enough), or using bath products that are not formulated for pets may also further lead to dry skin. Try using an oatmeal-based shampoo and conditioner whenever possible.
The indoor air quality in your home also plays in role in your pet’s dry skin. A warm environment with little air circulation during the winter, or air conditioning during the summer, will tend to dry out the air inside a house. Try modifying the indoor temperature slightly for a few days and see if that leads to any improvement.
Like people, dogs can develop yeast infections of the skin. These infections are generally localized at the ears or paws, but may also develop in skin folds. Essentially, yeast infections are more common in areas where the skin may remain humid and moist.
Yeast infections are typically associated with pets that have a weakened immune system or those suffering from environmental allergies. These infections can be treated using localized applications of anti-fungal products and baths with special shampoos.
Usually associated with other symptoms like sneezing, or runny nose and eyes, environmental allergies will also affect your pet’s skin, most commonly as ear infections and bacterial skin infections. The most common culprits in environmental allergies in dogs are pollen, food ingredients, fleas, and contact allergies.
Flea allergy usually leads to itchiness and discomfort at the neck, along the back, and at the base of the tail. Brushing your dog on top of a piece of white paper can help you find evidence of a flea infestation, and therefore indicate the need for treatment.
Environmental allergies, often caused by pollen, dust, and molds, are very common and an allergy test can be performed to determine the specific allergen at fault. An allergy is not an illness that can be completely cured, but symptoms can be relieved with the help of medicated baths and other treatments.
A pet with food allergy will require a special diet available from your veterinarian. Improvement will usually be apparent within a few weeks.
Regardless of the reason for your pet’s itchy skin, your veterinarian is best suited to help you manage your pet’s skin condition, and recommend the best course of action to provide relief.