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It’s a Skin Thing
Is your pet’s skin starting to show signs of problems? Spring can signal the beginning of the warmer weather that can add additional stress to skin health. Pet Insurance Australia catches up with Dr. Linda Vogelnest BVSc, MACVSc, FACVSc, Specialist Veterinary Dermatologist, to get the rundown on skin health and some simple steps pet owners can take to help with common skin complaints.
For those pet owners, who have dogs or cats that suffer from allergies or skin problems, keeping on top of the health of your pet’s skin is vital. It’s very easy to become complacent during the cooler months when problematic skin tends to settle down.
As the daffodils and tulips signal the beginning of the warmer weather, it’s a good plan to start looking at the health of your pet’s skin and get their body ready for the onslaught of summer. Some pets may start to show signs of flakiness or dryness during the spring, for these pets it’s a good idea to consider, alongside your vet, a possible omega oil, or evening primrose oil additive.
Meet Dr. Linda Vogelnest, a Specialist Veterinary Dermatologist. She’s super passionate about skin health in our pets and advising pet owners the best way to help their pets, particularly during this time of year…and it’s all about management.
“Balanced diet – is always important,” she says. “With good levels of Omega-6 fatty acids that are important to skin health. If your pet is on a weight-reduction diet, or you buy large bags of dry food that are stored for lengthy periods, the fatty acid levels can be very low.
Adding evening primrose oil (~100mg/kg body weight) or other sources of Omega-6 can be helpful.”
Dr.Vogelnest is also quick to remind readers of the importance of gentle regular shampooing for those pets suffering from skin allergies and to avoid overly drying shampoos. For pets who do not have skin allergies, avoid over-washing as this can lead to problems with the coat and skin.
“Humid hot weather increases the risk of secondary bacterial and yeast infections on the skin and/or in the ear canals, that commonly complicate allergies,” she says. “More regular bathing, and ear cleaning, if advised by your vets, can reduce the risk of secondary infections. Gentle shampoos that do not dry the skin are ideal, followed by a conditioner or moisturizer. Swimming regularly in salt water can also be very effective at cleansing the skin, and reducing infection risks.”
Clinical studies have proven that these amazing fatty acids can be a huge benefit for skin health in our pets. Always chat with your veterinarian about supplementing your dog or cat’s diet. Utilizing Omega Oils takes around six-weeks to notice any improvement. By adding this into your pet’s diet, it will help them cope with their yearly atopic inflammatory dermatitis or skin allergy problems. Omega oils have also been shown to help with inflammation, skin problems, cognitive function, heart disease, and arthritis.
Supporting Good Skin Health in Pets?
What else can help with promoting healthy skin in dogs and cats?
- Grooming – brushing and grooming your pet can be very beneficial for the coat and skin. It helps with the dispersing important oils and removing dead skin.
- A good diet is paramount in skin health.
- Omega Oil supplementation
- Ensure your pet is regularly treated for fleas. Flea allergy can cause massive problems to pet owners, and it only takes one small bite to set off a massive reaction. As the weather warms – so does the risk of fleas so treatment is advisable throughout the year.
- Saltwater swimming is very helpful for maintaining a clean and healthy coat. It is recommended to rinse your dog with fresh water after swimming to help with possible itching caused by sand and salt.
“If your pet does have a chronic or recurring skin and/or ear problem, seeing a veterinary dermatologist is an option,” Dr.Vogelnest recommends. “They manage chronic and difficult skin problems all the time, and can get effective treatment plans underway when initial treatment form your local vets isn’t working well.”