Does your dog seem to be scratching and licking himself more than usual? If so, he may have a skin problem, such as an allergy or infection. It is important to see a vet if the problem persists. Ignoring it in hopes that it will go away on its own will only make the problem worse and force your dog to suffer even longer.
Types of dog skin problems
There are six main factors that cause dog skin problems.
- Environmental allergies – Allergies to grasses and weeds are common in dogs. Water on a dog’s skin can cause bacteria to develop and create what is known as a “hot spot.”
- Allergic reactions – Anything else that can trigger allergies, such as mites, dust, plants and mold, can cause allergic reactions in dogs. Allergies are such a broad topic that this category can encompass many things. Although allergies cannot be cured, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms.
- Nutritional deficiencies – Dogs need a meat-based diet. Simply buying the least expensive brand of dog food is not enough. Corn, sugar and other fillers rob dogs of nutrition. Proper food will make the dog’s skin and whole body feel much better.
- Parasites – There are many flea and tick preventatives available, so there is no excuse for a pet owner not to use them. They keep parasites from feasting on your dog and making him itch and scratch.
- Infections – Yeast, bacteria and fungus can all form infections on your dog’s skin, causing itching, inflammation and lesions. When the cause of a dog’s itchy skin is a yeast infection, usually something more serious is causing it, such as hypothyroidism.
- Behavior – In some cases, dog skin problems are caused by the dog’s own behavior. Out of boredom or anxiety, the dog may chew and lick an area until it becomes scarred and unable to heal. This can result in infections and permanent scarring.
WebMD has a slideshow that includes photos of common skin problems in dogs.
Symptoms of dog skin problems
The occurrence of any of these symptoms may point to a dog skin problem.
- Excessive itching, licking or biting in a specific area
- Swelling or redness
- Dry skin
- Discolored skin
- Hair loss
- Pus or blood coming from the skin
- Face rubbing
- A new brand of dog food
- Flea treatment, such as shampoo or dip
- Anti-itch creams
- Injections to decrease allergies
Proper dog skin care
There are several ways you can keep your dog’s coat looking healthy and shiny and feeling itch-free.
- Use all-natural shampoo and soap on your dog’s fur.
- Feed your dog a high-quality dog food that is free of artificial ingredients.
- Apply flea treatment to your dog every month.
- Reduce stress in your dog’s environment.
- Brush your dog’s fur at least weekly.
- Keep your dog’s area clean. If he stays in the house, vacuum at least weekly.
- Ask your vet about vitamins or other supplements if your dog is still experiencing skin problems.
Dog skin rash
Diagnosing dog skin rashes can be difficult, as they are caused by a variety of factors. It can also pop up at any time, sometimes within minutes. However, one thing is for certain – dog skin rashes are itchy and irritating. Here are some symptoms to look for and ways to treat them naturally.
Most cases of skin rash are caused by parasites, such as ticks and fleas, but allergies and bacteria can also be contributors. Allergies to the food and environment are common. In some cases, dog skin rash can be caused by injuries such as lacerations and scratches.
You may first notice a skin rash after seeing your dog itching and biting his skin frequently, especially in a specific area. The area may look red with some inflammation or hair loss. Typically, there are no other symptoms. In some cases, a dog may begin to have frequent bowel movements.
MedicineNet has a slideshow that shows photos of different types of dog skin rashes. If your dog’s rash resembles any of them, contact your vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Your vet will be able to provide you with medications to ease your dog’s itching and overall suffering. However, some medications come with unwanted side effects. Therefore, many dog owners choose to provide their dogs with only all-natural home remedies. Here are some to try.
- Aloe vera – This plant is effective for humans and dogs alike. The healing properties of aloe vera will quickly alleviate the pain caused by irritated skin. This often comes in cream and gel forms, but you can also apply the plant directly to the dog’s skin.
- Baking soda – This common kitchen staple can be mixed with water to create a paste that you can apply on the affected area to soothe the dog’s itching.
- Coconut oil – if your dog has itchy and dry skin, try soaking him in coconut oil once a week. Massage it into all the dog’s dry areas and let it soak in for at least four hours. Finally, wash off the oil with dish soap or baby shampoo.
- Apple cider vinegar – This is effective for treating bacterial or yeast infections in the folds of the dog’s skin. Apply it to the dog up to three times per week.
- Oatmeal shampoo – Help relieve your dog’s itchiness with oatmeal shampoo. It works great on skin rashes and dry skin. Bathe your dog’s entire body in it once a week.