Does your dog seem like he is scratching himself all over far more than you think he should be? Dry 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, your dog will appreciate it far more if you can prevent this problem before it becomes severe.
As a pet owner, your main role is to ensure your dog remains happy and healthy throughout his life. While dry skin might not seem to be a very serious problem, left untreated it can lead to a range of more serious conditions. Bear in mind that it is only natural for dogs to scratch themselves from time to time, it is only when the dog starts to scratch incessantly that you should check his skin for any signs of dryness or other problems such as parasites, allergies, or exposure to plants like nettles that leave behind a nasty, itchy rash.
Causes and Prevention of Dry Skin in Dogs
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 itching that is going to drive him crazy. Bear in mind that constant scratching can lead to broken skin and a high risk of both fungal and bacterial infections.
Allergies Can Lead to Dry Skin
You may not realize that dogs are just as prone to allergies as humans are. These include food environmental, food, and seasonal allergies. Even flea bites can lead to a condition known as atopic dermatitis, or dry skin. The best way to ensure your dog does not have to deal with this is to keep both him and your home completely free of fleas using over-the counter flea killers.
At the same time, you should take your dog in to see the vet and talk to him about your dog’s allergies and what treatments are available. The good news is that there are several treatments available for this type of allergy that offer long-term relief, which in turn will help to prevent this particular cause of dry skin.
Systemic Disorders Can Lead to Dry Skin
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.
Prevention of dry skin as a result of any of these conditions lies in ensuring you take your dog in to see his vet on a regular basis for a complete physical including blood work. While diseases like Cushing's and hypothyroidism are serious conditions, the earlier they are found by the vet, the better your dog's chances are of avoiding complications like dry skin and making a full recovery.
Your vet may be able to prescribe medications such as topical lotions or ointments that offer relief from dry skin and the incessant itching that frequently tends to accompany it. These are short-term solutions to what could become a long-term problem that must be dealt with properly if you want your dog to remain healthy.
Excessive Bathing Can Lead to 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 his 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, you should talk to your veterinarian. They should be able to give you a good idea how often you can safely bathe your dog without risking dry skin. Be sure you don't use shampoos you use for yourself, as they can lead to more serious conditions. Be sure you are using a vet-recommended shampoo for your dog.
Set a regular bathing schedule that includes brushing his coat to help remove dirt and debris as well as parasites that can also lead to dry skin. Not only will this help keep your dog's skin healthier, in the long run, it will help to keep him much happier and looking his best.
Importance of Preventing Dry Skin
While dry skin might not seem like it is that big of a deal, it is what dry skin can lead to or what is behind it that you should worry about. By doing things like bathing your dog on a regular basis with the right shampoos, using any supplements your vet recommends, and having your dog undergo a thorough and complete checkup on a regular basis you can reduce or eliminate many of the causes of dry skin.
The short-term effect is a much happier and healthier dog who is not going to spend his days (and nights) scratching himself silly. Having a happy dog around the house will help keep everyone in the house be much happier over the long-term.
Along with this, taking care of skin allergies and other causes now can help keep your vet bills down over the course of time as your dog's skin will be much healthier overall. This means less risk of infection, less risk of complications, and less reason to visit your vet.
This is truly a case of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be sure to keep your dog clean, which will help cut down on the amount of time you spend constantly washing your dog's bedding.
More than Just an Itch
When your dog starts scratching incessantly, you need to step in and find out why. It could be a flea or parasite infestation or it could be dry skin. Since dry skin can lead to a range of more serious conditions, some of which can be potentially serious, you need to take the appropriate steps to prevent dry skin or cure it before this can happen. If you are not sure why your dog has dry skin, be sure to take him to see the vet for a thorough examination and follow any instructions your vet gives you to ensure your dog can go on to live a long, happy, healthy life.