Jan 1, 2012

Neutralizing Dog Skin Problems

Does your dog’s routine seem to have changed? Is he no longer running up to greet you when you get home? Does he seem moody and listless and only pecking at his food? What is more, is he continuously scratching and licking himself? If your pet could talk he would tell you exactly what is bothering him. Your dog cannot talk, however, and it is up to you to understand your animal and his needs. Your dog may also have what is called hot spots, an inflamed area of skin called acute moist dermatitis which is constantly worsened by the dog licking and biting itself. A hot spot moves fast and can spread within a matter of hours as it causes the top layers of the skin to break down and pus becomes trapped in the hair. This increases discomfort and the dog becomes unhappy and mopes around the house.

Quick relief for an itchy dog

·                     Consult a vet immediately and follow his instructions.
·                     Clip the hair around the lesion before cleaning the wound. A dog licking himself is not unusual, but compulsive licking or biting a certain area might indicate that the dog has fleas or ticks, and has a skin problem.
·                     Keep the dog in the shade and out of the sand.
·                     If your dog has dermatitis have your spray for the open sores which have been started by flies packing around the wound. When the flies are gone, dab the dog’s ears with the ointment the vet has prescribed.
·                     Make sure your dog has lots of water. He may not want to eat at first, but by making sure his rashes are clean and he is taking his medication, you are taking the right steps.
·                     Ask your vet if your dog should be treated with steroid medications and antibiotics. Dogs with a thick undercoat are more likely to get a hot spot.
·                     Compulsive licking is not good for the dog as it keeps the wound going. It also interferes with activities such as eating, drinking, playing and interacting.
·                     Remember a happy dog is one with no skin problems and one who is loved. Your dog is a loyal animal and companion; be kind to it in return.

Common dog skin problems

Did you know that the most common problems for dogs are skin diseases which come about as deficiencies in the immune system? A recurrent skin infection is mange. Canine Atopic Dermatitis (CAD) is an allergic skin disease and usually starts when the dog is quite young. Dogs with CAD have itchiness around the eyes, ears and on the feet. Some of this is seasonal and usually starts in the spring from the pollen of trees, grasses and weeds. The dog starts to itch and develops scabs and allergies. We have a South African bred Boerboel with a head the size of a lion. As huge as he is he can be felled when he becomes afflicted. He becomes morose and lumbers around like an old man and gets into a real depressed mood. Fleas are another big concern as it leads to uncontrollable itching. Before you try to treat it on your own, consult a vet. The first sign of a flea problem would be the condition of the dog’s coat. It’s a dead giveaway that your dog needs attention.

Preventing dog skin problems

The onset of skin problems for dogs usually starts with dust in the house, molds, dust mites and pollens of trees, grasses and weeds. It therefore makes sense to keep a clean house and be particular about the corners in the house where dust can collect.

Things you can do to reduce the risk of allergies

·                     Have the windows open.
·                     Take out dog towels and mats to be washed and aired out.
·                     Dispose of old blankets and towels. Floor carpets and rags are particularly bad for a dog that has itching and fleas.
·                     Consult the vet about washing him as the water will dry out his skin.
·                     Take the dog to the vet to determine what is causing the itching. He may have Canine Atopic Dermatitis (CAD), an allergic skin disease which usually starts around the eyes, ears and on the feet. The vet will in all likelihood prescribe an ointment in addition to medication to treat infection.
·                     Keep an eye on the dog as dogs lick their rashes and spread the disease. Make sure the ointment doesn’t get licked off.
·                     If medication is in pill form, crush it and put it in his food. Diagnosis of dermatitis is usually by eliminating other causes of irritation such as fleas, scabies and other parasites.
·                     With the help of a vet, try a different diet for six weeks and see what happens. Avoid allergens if at all possible.
·                     If your driveway is paved, keep the dog there for a few weeks. Try everything before you resort to antihistamines and steroids. Don’t use shampoo on the dog unless prescribed by the vet.