Just like us, dogs aren’t exempt from developing annoying, itchy skin problems. Here’s your lowdown on the most common, and how to treat them.
Whether it’s a loving tummy tickle or hitting that perfect spot just behind the ear, dogs love a good scratch. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about.
However, persistent itching could be a sign of something more serious that may require treatment. Take a look at our list of the five most common skin issues your pooch could be experiencing and what you can do to help them.
Just like people, dogs can be allergic to things like shampoo, medicine, pollen, bug bites and food. Allergies can cause dry, irritated and inflamed skin and for many dogs, removing the allergen will resolve the problem.
A sudden onset of itching on their stomach, paws and chest could be signs of an environmental allergy, whereas food allergies can irritate the face, paws and anus. One of the most common skin conditions in dogs is Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) which is the result of an allergic reaction to fleas. Symptoms include a red, bumpy, inflamed area.
If you notice your dog’s skin is irritated, look at recent changes in activity to see what could have caused it — have you started using a new shampoo, visited somewhere new or given them different food?
By identifying the irritant and removing it from your pooch’s routine, their skin should return to normal. For FAD, the condition cannot be cured but removing fleas completely and keeping up with anti-flea treatments or washes is an effective prevention method.
If you notice circular, crusty bald patches on your dog, they may have ringworm. Despite the name, it is not actually caused by worms; it’s a fungal infection. Typically it’s found on your dog’s head, ears, paws or hind legs, but it can also spread to the rest of the body. The skin often becomes red and inflamed from all the irritation and resulting scratching it can cause.
The condition is highly contagious to other animals and people too, so it’s important to get your dog treated as soon as possible by your vet. Treatments can range from medical shampoos to oral medicines depending on the severity of the condition.
Dandruff is a common symptom of a variety of skin issues and likely causes include a dry or cold climate, grooming habits and diet. The tell-tale signs of dandruff are dry and flaky or oily and flaky skin, scratching, hair loss and balding in certain areas.
The quality of a dog’s diet can be seen in their coat. To keep their skin healthy, they require a protein-rich diet that provides plenty of omega 3 and fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals. Dandruff can also be a sign of something more serious, such as parasites or a hormonal imbalance. In cases of severe dandruff, seek veterinary advice.
Yeast organisms thrive in dark, warm and moist conditions, so infections are commonly found around the ears and toes — meaning floppy-eared dogs are most at risk. Symptoms include itchy skin, redness, hair loss, discolouration and thickening of the skin as well as an unpleasant smell.
Treatments include shampoos and creams, oral medication or a combination of these depending on the severity of the infection.
Mange is a skin issue that causes bald, scaly patches on your dog and typically affects areas around the ears, belly and chest, although it can appear anywhere. It occurs when an excess of mites is present, or your dog encounters an invasive species of mite.
There are two types of mange; demodectic, which occurs when your dog’s immune system can’t keep the mites under control, and sarcoptic, which is caused by burrowing mites that lay eggs in the skin — ouch!
If you suspect your pooch has mange, take them to the vet where they’ll confirm it with a physical exam. Treatments include antiparasitic medications as well as creams or shampoos to ease itching, inflammation and secondary skin conditions.
Keep your canine family members in tip-top shape
If you’re ever unsure about your pups health condition, always consult a vet.
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