Just like humans, dogs can suffer from a number of skin conditions that can cause them discomfort and even distress. From dandruff, to allergies, and the nasty little parasites, there are a number of reasons why your dog could be standing around scratching all of the time.
Nobody wants to see their dog suffer, so if you notice that something might be wrong, take a closer look at the symptoms so you can find out more about what's going on.
Here are some of the most common skin conditions that dogs can suffer from:
- Dry skin
- Skin Infection
- Hot Spots
Check The Symptoms
When you notice your dog scratching, over-grooming, or rubbing themselves you should first brush back their fur to take a look at their skin. Look for signs of things such as parasites, dandruff, red patches and sores, missing fur, rashes, and lumps and bumps. Take a note of anything you see. Then think a bit about when you noticed your dog start to scratch a lot. Try to judge how much the problem is irritating them. Is it only a mild itch, or a very severe condition? Could it be related to their environment or the season?
By observing your dog's behaviour, and examining their skin frequently, especially in areas where you see them itch, you might be able to make a diagnosis.
Diagnosis & Treatments
Dry Skin & Dandruff
Dry skin is very common for a dog so there is no need to panic. It is uncomfortable, but easy to solve with moisturizing shampoos, conditioners and creams, along with a proper feeding regime. The signs of dry skin include constant itching, and possibly smelly, greasy, or flaky skin, along with the absence of other more serious symptoms that we will mention later. We recommend our Dry Skin Repair Kit as a simple solution. It has a wet shampoo (Mineral Rich Mud Shampoo) made with Dead Sea mud that will exfoliate, treat dandruff, and moisturize. The kit also has a leave-in conditioner (Deep Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner) that acts as a skin moisturizer - much like what you use on your own skin - that will also hydrate their coat and it can be used to remove matts!
If your dog has dandruff then you may notice similar symptoms to more severe conditions, perhaps bumps or pimples, and maybe a bit of hair loss. Again, the solution is to treat your dog with gentle products that will give them healthy fur and skin. Our Mineral Rich Mud Shampoo is also great for treating animal acne and other chronic skin conditions. However, for treating bald spots we recommend our Hypoallergenic Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner because it encourages hair growth on bald spots. It also decreases shedding by up to 75% which might help your allergies too (fur can collect pollen, mold spores and other outdoor allergens!) On top of grooming, its also essential to feed your pup high quality food, to tackle the problem from both the outside and the in!
Fleas & Ticks
Fleas are small brown fiends that feed on your dog. You may notice them on your dog's skin, or even on your carpet, and you will need to use vet recommended products to rid your dog and your home of these critters.
Ticks on the other hand burrow themselves partially into your dog's skin, and need to be very carefully removed with a special tool, so as not to leave the head in there (gruesome, we know!). They can look a bit like little warts at first glance. If you live in the countryside this is something you should watch for after every trip into any tall grass or forested area.
If you notice or suspect ticks or fleas on your dog, you should seek the help of a vet immediately because they are highly contagious and can carry a host of diseases.
Your dog can be allergic to fleabites, inhaled allergens, some foods, and to some materials that they might come into contact with in their environment. All types of allergy cause itching and irritation, but the different types of allergies can have slightly different symptoms:
- Flea allergy: severe itching with inflamed skin, chewing at affected areas, belly and paw licking, itching rump and base of tail, increased itching in warm weather.
- Food allergy: Constant itching, face rubbing and paw licking and/or possible rash.
- Inhalant allergy: face rubbing, belly and paw licking, possible ear infections, chewing at affected areas, increased itching in warm weather.
- Contact allergy: inflammation of skin, red bumps, sudden onset of itching.
Treatment of the allergy involves isolating the cause of the problem, and removing it from the your dog's environment or food. Watch out for prolonged, increased or severe discomfort. Depending on the severity, allergic reactions can sometimes require a trip to the vets and blood tests. The vet may recommend diet changes and other medical solutions.
In some cases, a contact allergy can be caused by your dog's shampoo. It can be caused by an allergy to the ingredients in the shampoo, or a sensitivity to harsh chemicals if you are using a non-natural shampoo. Or, your dog might just have sensitive skin in general which is common for many breeds. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo instead can solve this. Our Hypoallergenic Shampoo is designed for dogs with contact allergies and for dogs with sensitive skin. It can even help mitigate the effects of environmental allergens. It provides immediate itch relief for and soothes irritation on contact. It is enriched with colloidal oatmeal, which, unlike regular oatmeal that dries out the skin overtime, colloidal oats are absorbed better and are therefore more effective and allow the skin to retain moisture.
Dogs can also suffer from bacterial and yeast infections.
- Excessive scratching due to other conditions such as an allergy can usually cause bacterial infections. This can be easily healed by bathing your dog with special shampoos, such as our Anti-Itch Shampoo, which contains Zinc & Tea Tree oil for relief and healing. Our Salt Soak is also a useful remedy, because it has antibacterial properties and is designed to combat yeast. If the problem persists seek the help of your vet for antibiotics
- Fungal/Yeast infections are common in warmer months, and are due to moisture. Dogs with big floppy ears tend to be more at risk. You'll know because it smells yeasty too. You can treat a yeast infection by bathing your dog with anti-fungal shampoos (such as our Anti-Itch Shampoo) and by combining this with bathing them in our Home Hydrotherapy Salt Soak or making a saline solution with our it to wipe around the infected area. If the problem persists seek the help of your vet for medicated ear drops.
- Itching can also cause your dog to injure their skin which aside from being painful, also runs the risk of infection. We recommend our Mineral Rich Rescue Cream to stop pain, speed healing of wounds and prevent infection because it is a natural antiseptic & natural antibiotic.
Usually your dog's skin condition will turn out to be nothing more than dry skin or dandruff, or a common problem that can be home treated with a quality grooming product. If in doubt, we recommend a visit to the vet in order to properly diagnose the problem.
Here at Soos Pets, we offer a number of shampoos, creams, conditioners, and more that can help keep your dog's fur and skin healthy. Check out our product range today!