Dogs may have sensitive skin for a variety of reasons. They may have allergies, parasites, sores, or infections or endocrine conditions. Some dogs with conditions causing sensitive skin experience worse symptoms due to the presence of stress and anxiety. Allergies can be caused by environmental factors, detergents, and food.
If your dog has sensitive skin, not bathing him can allow oil, dead skin, and hair to build up and worsen the condition. Your dog requires regular grooming and bathing to address this, however, bathing in itself can worsen sensitive skin if detergents, stress, and water removing natural oils contribute to skin sensitivity. Bathing a dog with sensitive skin can result in a vicious cycle if appropriate products and techniques are not used to address skin conditions in your dog.
If you have a dog with sensitive skin, first take your dog to a veterinarian to address any underlying medical issues and identify allergies or parasites, which are the most common causes of skin irritation in dogs. It is also recommended to get expert advice for appropriate commercial shampoos and products to soothe sensitive skin. Oatmeal-based and hypoallergenic shampoos are commonly recommended for dogs with sensitive skin.
If your dog suffers from sensitive skin and skin irritation, he may have experienced outbreaks after bathing and associated these painful episodes with baths. Additionally, the process of bathing itself may be unpleasant, with water drying out the skin, hot or cold water being uncomfortable, and scrubbing causing further irritation to inflamed painful skin tissues. Your dog with sensitive skin may want to avoid bathing--efforts to make bathing more comfortable and creating positive associations with bathing may be required.
Get veterinary advice before bathing to ensure that medical conditions are identified.
Use appropriate products and medications to address health conditions.
Be gentle and patient to avoid stressing your dog, which can increase allergic reactions.
Do not use hot water or heat when drying your dog.
Be sure to rinse off all detergent and conditioner
Read instructions on all products used to ensure appropriate use.
Monitor your sensitive skinned dog for sores, and especially look in skin creases and sensitive areas to address conditions as soon as they appear.