Five Best Treatments For Dog Skin Problems
Dog skin problems, conditions and disorders are a common health issue addressed by veterinarians.

Your dog’s skin is their body’s largest organ and is reflective of your dog’s overall health, both mental and physical, and can be affected by inside as well as outside sources. Because of this it can be difficult to determine what the exact cause of the problem might be, however we’ll take a look at some common causes of dog skin problems and complaints.

Parasites
Aging dogs, dogs living in an unhealthy environment, or dogs with an inadequate diet tend to be the most attractive to parasites that can affect your dog’s skin. Problems caused by parasites range from mild to severe and each type of parasite can cause a different reaction in your dog.

Fleas

Most dog owners will have had to deal with fleas at some stage, and with correct treatment these can be reasonably well controlled. Fleas are an irritation at best and a major problem at worst - not just to our pets but to us as well. However, the health effects of fleas can be worse than just the associated itching. Dermatitis caused by fleas is responsible for more than half of all dog skin problems treated by vets.

Ticks

Ticks (Ixodes species) are brownish-white and can be initially mistaken for a wart, but on closer inspection the legs can be seen, while the head is buried in the epidermis. Having gorged on the dog's blood it grows to the size of a bean or pea. Normally a dog will tolerate one or two ticks without showing any signs of irritation and they will only be noticed during grooming, or examination. Ticks have been implemented in carrying dozens of diseases. The most common ones known to dog owners are Lyme's disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Canine Ehrliciosis.

Surgical spirit soaked onto the tick suffocates it, thus loosening its grip. It can then be removed with tweezers. Never attempt to pull the tick off without soaking it first, as the head will remain and cause infection. Treat the area with insecticide. A special dip/shampoo can be obtained from the vet if infestation is severe. Specially designed tick removers are available from your local pet store.

Lice

Lice are less common on dogs than ticks and fleas, but there are still many reported cases. They are tiny, white and difficult to find, with the most tell tale sign being their eggs which will be attached to the hair follicle of the dog.

Mange

The most common form of mange is caused by a tiny mite that lives in the hair follicles of the infested dog. There are a few other forms of mange which are discussed in detail in the dog mange article. Dog mange can be very serious and can cause your dog much distress and physical discomfort.

Ringworm

Ringworm can be serious and can also be spread to humans. It often starts as a red area, then it develops into a small ring that slowly grows. The affected area in dogs will usually be hairless, irritated and possibly have scabs. If your dog has widespread ringworm, it is probably an indication of overall poor health.

Symptoms of Dog Skin Problems and Disorders
Skin diseases can be very irritating for your dog, but they are often easy to detect although the cause may not be quite so apparent.
Always collect information and discuss it with your veterinarian in order to get an exact diagnosis.

Dog skin problems and dog skin disorders may show one or more of the following symptoms:

• Anal glad problems
• Brown, black or grey discoloration
• Chronic inflammation of the inner ear canal
• Foul odor to the skin
• Greasy coat
• Hair loss
• Itching- mild to severe, meaning blood is drawn
• Large brown flakes
• Pimples and blisters that may discharge blood or pus
• Redness and irritation
• Scabs or crusts
• Skin flaking, resembling dandruff
• Very dry skin
• Dog Warts

Common Causes of Dog Skin Problems
A dog’s physical or mental imbalance, together with unhealthy environmental factors can become apparent by manifesting as a skin condition, however there are some common causes.

Poor Quality Food
The single most important thing you can do to keep your pet healthy is to feed them a nutritious, balanced diet. Many skin disorders are related to poor quality diet and many commercial brands of dog food contain preservatives, colorings and additives which have been linked to kidney, bladder, skin, stomach and spleen cancers, leukemia, liver dysfunction, major organ failure, immune system collapse, severe allergic reactions, birth defects, blindness, chronic diarrhea, hair loss and behavior problems. Make sure that you thoroughly research what you are feeding your dog and only feed the best quality you can.

Toxic Environmental Pollutants
Dog’s can have a reaction to some of the sprays and products that we use around our homes and gardens. Do your research before using these around your home, and if you must use them, make sure that your dog is far enough away for a safe amount of time. Dogs may also be sensitive to certain pollutants in the air.

Vaccinations
Some dogs may have negative skin reactions to vaccinations. There is no way to tell whether or not your dog will react negatively to specific vaccinations, but if it does happen, go back to your veterinarian immediately and they will be able to help you. The necessity and health impact of vaccinations is heavily debated between the conventional and holistic veterinary communities.

Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is a skin allergy disease caused by hypersensitivity developed by your dog's immune system to several very common substances like molds and dust mites.
It is a common allergic condition affecting about 15% of dogs in which the dog has an inborn tendency to be allergic to various environmental allergens. Once this inborn allergy develops, dogs tend to have scratching spells for the rest of their lives. Most atopic dogs are allergic to fleas, food and dust mites.

If your dog scratches and licks himself very often (particularly licking and chewing the paws, abdomen and legs), and his/her ears are hot to the touch, he/she may be suffering from atopic dermatitis.

Check to see if your dog's saliva causes stains. A red to brown stain is another indicator that your dog is atopic. In persistent cases, the skin on the abdomen changes color from pink, to a bright red then to black.

Psychological Factors
Mental issues can show themselves as physical skin problems. Dogs who are very bored, angry or irritable or lack stimulation on a daily basis may show their problems through the skin.

Dog Food allergies
Dogs also exhibit allergies to the food they eat. And this is perhaps the most tedious to diagnose because food allergies can mimic any of the other allergies mentioned. Indications will be facial itching, limb chewing, belly itching, recurrent ear or skin infections.

Commercial dog foods contain many fillers, coloring agents, preservatives etc which give rise to a higher incidence of allergies than natural or raw diets., however some dogs may be allergic to
• Beef products
• Milk products
• Wheat
• Corn
• Soy
• Chicken
• Eggs


If you come across your dog itching after the provision of specific food materials, then a food allergy should be suspected.

There are many recorded incidences of allergies of dogs to corn or to wheat. However, the food allergies vary from dog to dog. Read the labels clearly before feeding your dogs with commercially prepared pet food.

Food allergies are often linked to hyperactive behavior noticed in some dogs. Added colors, preservatives, and high fat diet can cause these food allergies in your pet and so, you need to be careful in providing a new kind of diet to your dog. After any change of diet your dog should be closely monitored for any signs of allergy.

The first thing to do is to put your dog on an elimination diet by removing all possible allergy causing ingredients from your pet's diet. Your dog is allergic to only one or two of the many ingredients in their dog food diet, and a protein is usually to blame. In order to find the offensive food, you must eliminate all of them and start from scratch. You can do this by feeding a homemade meal of a protein and starch source your dog has not had before.

Once you have chosen your 12 week diet, feed your dog ONLY that specific diet for the full 12 weeks. NO treats of any sort - you have no idea what food source is causing your dog’s dog food allergy. Observe your dog closely. If your dog’s symptoms show a marked reduction or elimination after the 12 week trial, then attempt to feed your dog its original diet once again. If the symptoms return, then you know that your dog has an allergy to something in that specific food.

If your dog has particular areas where he is developing dog skin conditions, follow these few steps to clean and treat the area.

• Clip away excess hair covering the spot on the skin
• Bathe your dog, using a mild organic soap or shampoo focusing special attention on the area. After drying the hair and skin, clean the area with a black or green tea. This can be done often, and using these teas helps to dry up the moist areas of the skin, by supplying a tannic acid.
• Apply natural vitamin E oil or an Aloe Vera gel extracted from a living plant, which can be found at most health food stores.


To provide your dog with some instant relief, there are a few natural remedies that will soothe the inflamed skin and reduce some of the itching:

• Aloe Vera cream or gel - Aloe is natural healer that is used to treat various skin issues on humans and animals alike. You can apply the aloe to the irritated skin either directly from the plant or in a gel/lotion form sold in stores.
• Milk of Magnesia has been found to help itchy, irritated and dry skin. Pour onto a cotton ball and apply to the skin of your dog.
• Oatmeal Shampoo with Aloe is great for dogs prone to skin rashes. The oatmeal keeps their coat healthy while the aloe heals the skin as explained above.
• Mixing baking soda with water and applying it to the skin of your dog can be help give relief from itching.

Keep your dog from intense scratching, licking or biting of the skin spot, as prolonged scratching can cause bleeding and possibly infection.

 
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