What Are The Main Skin Conditions of Dogs?
Does your dog have a case of itchy or irritated skin? Pet Insurance Australia investigates the top skin conditions that affect dogs and what pet owners can do to help their pets if they suffer from a skin infection or skin allergy.
Dog skin conditions are prevalent. In fact, dog skin allergies and skin infections are the top commonly claimed conditions for many pet insurance companies across the globe. As a result, it is common to hear of many pet owners becoming frustrated with their dog’s skin conditions, particularly over the spring and summer. So, what can you do to help alleviate the problem, and when should you seek veterinary advice regarding your dog’s itchy skin?
Common Infections that Affect Dogs’ Skin
When it comes to our four-legged friends, allergies are by far the most prevalent problem affecting dogs. Many pet owners can attest to the constant scratching and biting many furry friends experience during the warmer seasons. The great news is that you can drastically reduce your dog’s itchy skin woes with some understanding and preparation.
Symptoms of Skin Allergies in Dogs
- Scratching and biting
- Biting feet
- Biting tails
- Flaky skin
- Irritated spots and bumps
- Rash under arms
- Scratching ears and flapping head
- Smelly coat
Canine companions who suffer from dog skin allergies can become very uncomfortable — causing them to flap and scratch at every opportunity. If the skin allergy is not controlled, it can lead to dog skin infection, causing irritated hot spots that can quickly become infected. This can leave you with a very uncomfortable and frustrated pet. Yeast infections are not uncommon with dogs who suffer from allergies. This can leave your pet with a foul-smelling, sickly-sweet odour. Yeast infections will need specialised treatment from your veterinarian.
The Different Types of Allergies that Affect Dogs’ Skin
Finding the cause of your dog’s skin allergy can be difficult. For many dogs, seasonal changes and pollens/grasses can be the cause. For other pets, food can also be the culprit. The best option is to keep a diary of your pets’ allergies and notice what environmental influences could be to blame. This could include if your dog has recently had a diet change or something additional added to their diet, or if the sudden onset of spring has sent your beloved canine companion into a scratching frenzy.
Contact allergies are also widespread. Many plants can irritate your dog’s skin. Researching and removing toxic plants is highly recommended for all pet owners. And remember those pesky pests! Flea allergies are another common reason for a dog’s itchy skin condition. Ensuring your dog is up-to-date with their flea treatments is recommended for preventing flea allergies from occurring.
The Connection Between Diet and Dog Skin Health
A good diet full of Omega is hugely beneficial for any pet suffering from dog skin allergies. However, it is important to remember that if you supplement your pet with omega oils to help treat your dog’s itchy skin, it is essential to keep this up throughout the entire year and not just during the times when your pet is suffering from dog skin allergies. This is because the oils in Omega act as a barrier to prevent allergens from affecting the skin, so supplementing can take anywhere from four to six weeks to see any improvement in the skin condition.
Ensuring you start supplementing early, particularly for pets who have seasonal allergies, is vital to allow their skin to be protected as best as possible before the allergens are present.
If your dog suffers from skin allergies connected to diet, it is vital to seek veterinary advice. Some dogs will need specially designed food to help with their allergy problems.
Dog Skin Allergy Treatments
If your dog is suffering from any allergy, it is highly recommended to seek professional advice from a registered veterinarian to examine the exact cause and remove the allergen as best you can from your pet’s environment. Atopic Dermatitis in dogs can be very prevalent around spring and summer time.
Referral to a specialised Veterinary Dermatologist may also be needed to help your dog’s itchy skin issues. These highly trained specialists can offer a vast range of options to reduce your dog’s discomfort and itchy skin. This can include specially formulated dog antihistamines, oral medications, long-acting injections, cortisol creams, and even an immunotherapy program.
Other treatments for dog skin allergy include:
- Specially formulated dog food for skin allergies
- Supplementation with Omega
- Specialised dog allergy shampoo
- Regular flea control
- Swimming in saltwater
- Lots of outdoor exposure during puppyhood
- Bath only using specially formulated dog shampoos that are natural and gentle
- Allergy testing
- Desensitisation programs
If your pet suffers from an infection caused by a dog skin allergy, additional treatments may be necessary to treat and clear up the dog skin infection.
Limiting your dog’s exposure to allergens may also be necessary, particularly around typical flare-up times. This could be preventing your dog from running in long grass during spring and summertime. Those dogs suffering from flea allergies also need to be regularly treated with flea treatments to prevent any problems from occurring. It only takes one small bite from a flea to cause massive issues with pets known to suffer from flea-related allergies.
Veterinary Dermatologists also recommend never washing your pet in human-grade shampoo. This is critical for those dogs suffering from dog skin allergies. The PH in specially formatted dog shampoo compared to human-grade shampoo can be radically different. In addition, human-grade shampoo can escalate dog skin allergies.
The Role of Grooming in Maintaining Healthy Dog Skin
Grooming is paramount to help maintain a healthy coat and skin for dogs. Grooming allows pet owners to notice issues quickly while also ensuring their pet’s coat is free from matting. Pet owners with a regular grooming regime tend to see issues quickly before infection or problems arise. This early detection can ensure your beloved dog is not in pain or discomfort.
Symptoms of coat and skin problems in dogs
- Dull, lifeless coat
- Flaky skin
- Hair loss
- Rashes and discoloration of the skin
- Open wounds or hot spots from licking/biting
- Red irritated skin
- Smelly/dirty ears
During grooming, check for any skin problems and seek advice if you are concerned.
The Importance of Regular Vet Check-ups for Skin Health
For any dog suffering from allergies, regular vet check-ups are critical. If the problem worsens or you have secondary infections caused by the dog’s skin allergy, your veterinarian can assist in your dog’s treatment.
Getting on top of a dog’s skin allergy can be difficult once the allergy is in full swing. Having professional advice early can prevent many additional problems while ensuring your pet is as comfortable as they can be during their allergy flare-up. With the right advice, dog skin conditions can be treated and prevented as best as possible. Allowing your allergic furry friend some relief from their itchy skin.
How Pet Insurance Can Help Cover the Cost of Treating Dog Skin Conditions
The great news is that dog pet insurance can help with the costs associated with dog skin conditions. First, it is essential to understand how pre-existing conditions work regarding your pet’s skin condition. Skin conditions, allergies, and skin infections are the most claimed condition with Pet Insurance Australia. With all dog pet insurance policies, it is important to read the Product Disclosure Statement to see if the policy is right for you and your beloved pet.
Photo by Atanas Teodosiev