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Scratching is Serious! Your complete guide to skin problems in dogs

by | Oct 9, 2016 | Pet Nutrition

Is your dawgie shedding excessively?

Do you often see your dawgie scratching or licking his coat?

Does your dawgie get dandruff, rashes, cuts, and abrasions on his skin?

Has your dawgie been infested with ticks, fleas or other parasites?

If you’re a pet parent, you have experienced at least one of these at some point. Itching, scratching, or licking are the most common indications of a skin disorder and has possibly troubled every dog once or more times in his or her lifetime. On an estimate, 3 out of 5 cases arriving at a vet clinic are related to a skin disorder, including but not limited to sores, redness, dandruff, parasites, rashes, lumps, bumps or bald spots. If you’re one of those pet parents whose baby was recently down with one of these, you know the agonizing experience it puts your furry friend through.

The most painful part about skin disorders is that they’re prone to relapse soon after the treatment and often get chronic in nature. This is because most people try to treat the itch instead of treating the cause. Scratching is merely a symptom, not the problem. It would be like repainting a surface without fixing the underlying leakage. So first let’s understand what causes skin problems in your dawgies.

Causes of skin problems

Here are the top 5 causes of skin issues in dogs:

  1. Microbial and Parasitic Infectious: Fungal conditions like ringworm and yeast infections or bacterial infections are probably the most common kind of skin problems in dogs. Ticks, fleas, lice, mites and other parasitic organisms can infest your baby’s coat and cause irritation. Tick bites can cause tick fever. Sarcoptes scabiei mite can cause mange in dawgies.
  1. Nutritional: A vast majority of skin issues occur because of something your furry baby did or did not eat. Given the right nourishment, a dog’s skin and coat can heal itself of most skin conditions. It’s only a lapse of immunity due to a deficiency or an allergy due to something in his diet that causes the issue to surface.

ALSO SEE: Everything you need to know about Gluten and why your dawgie must stay clear of it

  1. Behavioral: Stress, boredom or anxiety can lead some dogs to obsessively lick their skin. Excessive licking may turn their fur to a rust-red color caused by their saliva. This change in color is a key indicator that there is a skin condition. A hormone disorder or fluctuation can often trigger this kind of behavior.
  1. Seasonal: Like hoomans, dawgies can be sensitive to changes in weather. Check for flaky, dry skin in winters, allergic reactions in spring and fall, and moist eczema when it’s rainy or wet (or when your dog spends a lot of time in the water).
  1. Environmental: Your dog may be sensitive to the cleaning agents you use in your home or even products used for grooming, shampoos, etc.
Analyzing the cause of the skin problem

When you see your dog itching, ask yourself the following 5 questions:

  1. When did the itching begin? (Age? Time of year?)
  2. Does it occur all the time or just seasonally? If so, which season? (Spring/summer or fall/winter?)
  3. Is it linked to a particular environment or event? (i.e. indoors/outdoors only, every time you mop the floor, spray air-fresheners, etc.)
  4. Have you tried any treatments so far and if so, were they responsive? (i.e. medicated shampoos, solutions from pet store, medication from your vet, etc.)
  5. How bad is it? Mildly irritating or is it driving your dog nuts?

Why is it important to find out the exact nature of the skin issue? Because the treatment in each case could be different. It would be pointless to treat an itch or a rash topically if it’s caused by an allergen in his food. The relief would be rather temporary and the issue would resurface within weeks or even days. Once the true cause is isolated, it can be treated adequately.

Most sustainable treatments, however, will comprise of a two-fold approach: locally treating the skin condition, and changing the nutritional composition of the dawgie to include or exclude certain food items. When choosing products for local application, I suggest picking products that are herbal and mild in nature. We don’t want to irritate our poor baby’s skin any more than it already is. And we certainly don’t want to take a risk of side-effects and reactions. The best bet is to choose home remedies. There are tonnes of useful things lying in our households that can treat our furry’s itching. For example, did you know that neem, coconut oil and turmeric can cure most skin issues?

When making dietary corrections, make sure natural is the buzzword you follow. Steer clear of misleading synthetic supplements and the so-called anallergenic or hypoallergenic diets available in the market and feed fresh and real food to your dawgies. What needs to go in the diet is dependent on the type of skin issue that your baby has developed. Ask your vet or post it in the comments below. If you’re looking for a more personalized advice, please contact us at the number or email given at the footer of this page.

How to avoid skin problems?

Here are 2 simple ways to prevent your dog from most skin issues:

  1. Regular Grooming: You don’t have to pamper your baby to expensive spas every week, but maintaining basic hygiene is an absolute must – especially for dawgies with a longer coat. Bathe your dog regularly, but make sure he’s nice and dry all the time, especially if he loves playing in water. Brush his coat regularly to remove the lose hair and undercoat. Run fingers through his coat often and stay vigilant for any signs of dandruff, lumps, rashes, parasites, etc.
  1. Proper Nutrition: 9 out of 10 skin conditions can be treated just by feeding your dog right. Ensure a healthy mix of macro as well as micronutrients (Vitamins & Minerals) in your dog’s diet. Fat is an important component of your baby’s diet. Dawgies with dry skin or a dull coat often improve with diets or supplements containing optimized levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The amount of fat intake is decided by the breed (type/quality of coat) and the age of the dog. ALSO SEE: How to Calculate your Dawgie’s Age?

Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in reducing inflammation. Omega-6 fatty acids play a key role in maintaining the integrity of your dog’s skin as a barrier, reducing water loss and bolstering the strength of the skin cells. Linoleic is an essential omega-6 fatty acid which dawgies must obtain from food sources as they cannot synthesize it on their own.

DawgieBowl offers 100% natural, custom diets that are rich in Vitamins, Minerals and essential fatty acids for a healthy and shiny coat, and an itch-free skin. Our unique herbal formula gives our food antiparasitic, antimicrobial, anthelminthic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anticarcinogenic, antianemic, and antianxiety properties.

Is your dawgie troubled with itchy skin? We can help.

 

Photo Credits: barkpost.com

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