With a pet dog, the most frequently reported problem is a skin or ear related health complication. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to various skin disorders which may develop due to allergies, parasites, infections, or as a referred symptom of other illnesses. As frequently said, the skin is the mirror of the dog's overall health. Whenever there are skin problems, the dog will respond with a change in behavior or by showing irritation symptoms.
It is usual for your pet dog to have dry, flaky, and itchy skin due to dry air and low humidity levels. Hence, during such cold winter climates, the pet may show signs of itchiness and discomfort. Such skin conditions need not be a cause for panic and can be combated with basic grooming guidelines. Besides dry skin, some of the common skin problems in dogs are discussed below.
Seasonal allergies refer to an allergic reaction of the dog's skin while coming in contact with environmental agents like pollen, weeds, molds, grasses, etc. Such problems are triggered only in particular months of the year, hence the name seasonal allergies.
Popular dog food ingredients such as meat, food coloring, fillers, and substitutes may trigger allergic skin reactions in dogs. Hence, purchase dog food from a good brand or try supplementing it with homemade food.
Among the several skin disorders, hot spots are one of the most commonly manifested problems, especially in pet dogs with a very thick undercoat. The noticeable symptom of hot spots is intense itching in localized areas of the skin, which worsens with frequent licking and scratching.
It is a chronic allergy causing itching symptoms in the ear, around the eyes, muzzle, and other specific areas. Being a hereditary skin problem, it has no cure, but avoiding allergens, antihistamines, and immunotherapy will help in combating the symptoms.
Fleas and mites are another major reason for causing skin problems. Some pet dogs are hypersensitive to flea saliva that triggers itching, scratching, and rashes. Spot treatments have shown effective results in treating irritations caused by fleas and mites.
Infection caused by bacteria, yeast, and fungi may cause intense itching and scratching symptoms. Ringworm, a fungal infection common in puppies, causes severe itching and scratching. Other infections are yeast infection of the ear, bacterial infection, pyoderma, and Malassezia dermatitis.
Change in the coat color, loss of hair, and other symptoms of skin disorders are also manifested due to changes in the metabolic processes or hormonal fluctuations. Skin problems caused by hormonal imbalances are difficult to diagnose and treat.
Symptoms and Treatment
For nearly all types of dog skin problems, there are some common symptoms which will be exhibited by the affected pet. Such signs and symptoms include licking, scratching, itching, inflammation, abnormal patches, and rashes. If left untreated for some period, the problem may worsen and cause loss of hair, bald spots, lump formation, etc. An infection-related skin disease causes drainage of blood, pus, or unusual secretions.
These problems may be mild to severe, based on the cause of the condition. Appropriate treatment methods are advocated to help relieve the pet from the irritating symptoms. The owner can try effectual remedies like feeding healthy food, brushing regularly, and using hypoallergenic soaps.
In case of no positive responses, seek advice from the veterinarian, who may recommend antihistamines, antibiotics, and corticosteroids as a treatment. Follow proper dog care tips and make your pet comfortable.