Just as in humans, there could be a number of reasons as to why a dog experiences skin troubles – from allergies to parasites, or even nutritional deficiencies. Young puppies will be especially prone to a range of allergies and skin conditions, as their immune systems have yet to fully develop and stabilise in the early stages of their lives. Signs that your canine friend may have fallen prey to a skin problem or two include dry, inflamed, red and flaky skin; bald patches or shedding great amounts of fur; or scratching or licking itself excessively.
The first thing to do if you witness any of the aforementioned symptoms is to bring your furkid to a vet, who will analyse and diagnose the animal’s condition and determine the cause of its skin disorder before recommending an appropriate course of action. This may include making changes to your dog’s diet, grooming products, as well as its lifestyle or environment. Aside from using only products and methods as recommended by your vet, here are a few other ways you can help to alleviate and even possibly prevent symptoms of your pet’s sensitive skin:
Invest in Quality Pet Food
Many dogs develop negative reactions and food hyper-sensitivity/allergies towards additives and fillers that are often present in commercial kibble such as dairy, chicken, wheat, soy, and gluten in grain. Whether your pet has sensitive skin or not, a sound decision would be to only feed your dog high-quality formulas and treats containing all-natural and hypo-allergenic ingredients, or even freeze-dried foods that are free of additives and fillers. You may also consider dietary supplements that may reduce the effects of pre-existing skin conditions, but only after consulting and getting approval from a vet. Supplements like Kelp Help and PPP Pet Derm are rich in essential Omega fatty acids that greatly aid in maintaining healthy skin and coats in both cats and dogs.
Wash Your Dog Well
Sensitive skin requires special care, and this includes opting for hypo-allergenic formulas that are free of soaps, perfumes and dyes to minimise the reactions that your dog’s skin might have to its regular bath. Some brands of shampoo, like Earthbath and Vet’s Best, also contains aloe vera in their hypo-allergenic formulas to soothe your pet’s skin and ensure optimum comfort by only using gentle and all-natural ingredients. Oatmeal water is another natural remedy that is popular among pet owners to relieve their dogs’ itching and sensitive skin, which PPP Skin Care has introduced to its Dry Skin Shampoo with Natural Oatmeal.
Cleanliness is Key
If you notice your dog is often affected by rashes on the skin of its belly, this is likely a result of contact with its urine and/or faeces, and it may even lead to an infection. Hence, your pet’s sleeping area or crate and its surroundings should be kept clean at all times. Its toilet area should also be cleared frequently on a daily basis. As such, toilets with trays and absorbent pee pads make clearing up a breeze for owners.
The sources of allergic reactions do not only come from food: pollen, mites, dust and mould in your pet’s surrounding environment may also be the cause of skin inflammation, which in this case, is commonly recognised as allergic/atopic dermatitis. Dogs are more prone to this condition than their feline counterparts, so it is important to vacuum and clean the floors, carpets and rugs of your home frequently to avoid such situations. There are plenty of pet-safe cleaning solutions on the market that not only have disinfectant properties, but also serve to remove stains and deodorize.
Skin sensitivity and conditions are a common (and heartbreaking) problem that many dog owners have faced, or will have to face at some point of their journey as a pet parent, but don’t be disheartened if you are facing troublesome issues with canine skin sensitivities. It takes time, patience, devotion and effort in battling skin problems among dogs – but seeing your canine companion happy, healthy and itch-less will be absolutely worth it.