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Is your dog scratching more than you think they should be? Dry and irritated skin is a far more common condition in dogs than most people suspect. While there are a number of treatments available to help cure the itchiness, shedding, and dry flaky skin, it is ideal to prevent this problem before it becomes severe.
As a pet owner, your main role is to ensure your dog remains happy and healthy throughout their life. While dry skin may not seem to be a serious problem, left untreated it can lead to a range of consequential conditions. Bear in mind that it is only natural for dogs to scratch themselves from time to time. When your dog starts to scratch incessantly, check their skin for signs of dryness or other problems such as parasites, allergies, or exposure to plants like nettles that leave behind a nasty, itchy rash.
Why Does my Dog Have Dry Skin?
There are a number of causes of dry skin on dogs, most of which can be easily prevented or addressed to ensure your dog does not have to suffer from constant itchiness. Bear in mind that persistent scratching can lead to broken skin and a high risk of both fungal and bacterial infections.
To ensure that your furry buddy has a balanced diet, purchase only high-quality dog food that has sufficient protein and fatty acids. If your dog has dry skin, you can also alternate wet food with their dry diet as a way to supplement the moisture intake.
Allergies, whether they be environmental, because of flea bites, or food-related, can cause skin issues including dryness. While you have your dog in consultation with the vet to determine the allergy cause, use an oatmeal bath to soothe itchiness.
There are times when your dog's dry skin may be an indication of a much bigger problem. The two most common metabolic diseases that are known to cause canine dry skin are Cushing's disease and hypothyroidism. With both of these conditions, the dry skin is frequently accompanied by dry brittle hair, a loss of hair, and possibly serious skin infections. Cancer and a variety of autoimmune diseases can also cause your dog to have dry skin.
There is nothing worse than the smell of a dirty dog, especially when they get wet. Your dog should be bathed from time to time to help keep the coat and skin clean. However, there is such a thing as bathing your dog too often, a situation that can lead to dry skin. If you are not sure how often you should be bathing your dog, talk to your veterinarian. They can also recommend a gentle dog-friendly shampoo.
There are several parasites that can set up home on your dog's skin and in their fur. If your canine pal is constantly itching and you cannot pinpoint a reason, take them to the vet to rule out parasites. These pesky critters (like mange, fleas, or scabies) can soon cause itchiness that can lead to secondary infection due to incessant scratching and digging.
Fungal and bacterial infections can cause the skin to be parched, causing discomfort. Sometimes, skin conditions will develop when there is too much moisture on the skin. For example, the folds of the skin on a Bulldog or Pug are breeding grounds for bacteria and fungus if the creases are not wiped and dried daily.
How Can I Prevent my Dog From Getting Dry Skin?
Prevention is worth every moment of effort. Taking steps to ensure that your furry buddy has soft and supple skin is easier than you may think. Consider the following points as you work toward keeping your dog healthy and free of skin problems.
- Regular check-ups at the vet are essential; your vet will examine your dog's skin and maybe notice things you do not see
- Feed your dog high-quality food and learn how to read the nutritional information on the dog food bag
- Do not over-bathe your dog; use vet-approved moisturizing wipes between baths
- Brush your dog weekly to remove dirt from the coat and skin
- Supplement the diet with fish oil as prescribed by the vet
- If you have a dog with skin folds on the body and face, wipe them dry daily
- In the winter, keep a humidifier running if the house is dry
- Remove plants like nettles from your yard
Using coconut oil on the skin or giving your dog an oatmeal bath can often soothe the itch after it has begun, but prevention is the preferable scenario.
More Than Just an Itch
If your dog is scratching incessantly, step in to find out why. Excessive itching often means there is an underlying reason. Have the vet rule out conditions like flea bite allergy, over-bathing, or a deficiency such as with Omega 3's. Solving the cause of the scratching will have your pup resting itch-free in no time.