Dog skin problems can be caused by many different factors from parasites to cleaning products used on floors and carpets.
When your dog begins to itch and scratch constantly, you can suspect any one of a handful of imbalances that need attention.
You must begin an immediate process of elimination to find the source and bring the imbalance back into harmony.
Dry skin is the most common skin problem in otherwise healthy dogs and cats. Indoor heating that dries out the skin of both humans and pets can cause this condition.
Your dog’s diet can also be the cause of dry skin if it contains an insufficient amount of amino acids and oils that promote healthy skin cell replacement. Your dog may itch constantly, and examination of the skin shows dry flakes or redness.
- Adding a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) poured on his food 2 to 3 times a week can help provide the additional oil necessary for healthy skin.
- Shampooing your dog with a moisturizing shampoo can also help alleviate dryness and itching. Oatmeal shampoo can help calm severe itching.
- Adding some moisture to the indoor air with a humidifier will help reduce dry skin for both you and your dog.
Fleas are the most common cause of itching, scratching and skin bites in dogs. Your dog may scratch an area so intensely that it opens up and leads to secondary bacterial infections of the skin. Some animals can be highly allergic to fleabites, which create an additional dog skin problem that can make your pet quite ill.
You can protect your dog with regular application of commercial flea and tick repellents such as spot-on treatments, collars or flea-killer medications. But to avoid the poisons, holistic veterinarians recommend natural essential oils like cedar wood oil and peppermint oil for dogs.
Essential oils should not be used on cats, however. Search for the term “NEO” (no essential oils) in “cat flea sprays” to assure your feline avoids possible toxic overload.
For flea outbreaks, shampoo your dog with a flea-killing shampoo and vacuum your home’s flooring frequently.
Mites are microscopic members of the arachnid family of insects. They imbed themselves in hair follicles or in the dog’s skin causing itching, oozing, hair loss and scabbing. This dog skin problem is often referred to as “mange.”
Your veterinarian can help you determine whether mite infestation is the cause of your dog’s skin problems. He or she will prescribe anti-parasite medications to eliminate the mange. Or, here again, the natural remedy for mange is a high quality, natural cedar wood oil and peppermint oil dog flea spray.
Allergic dermatitis can cause severe and prolonged itching, biting and licking of the skin. Itching occurs when the animal comes into contact with an allergen. This contact triggers the release of a chemical compound in the body called “histamine.”
The reaction also causes a release of antigen/antibody protein complexes within the body tissues. Blood vessels can expand and constrict, breaking the cell structures and releasing toxic chemicals. These physical changes cause the skin to itch intensely, a condition referred to as “hot-spots.”
You and your veterinarian must determine the source of this allergic reaction.
- It may be some component in your dog’s diet.
- The source may be irritating compounds in household cleaning products.
- It could also be outdoor environmental factors such as pollen or molds.
Your veterinarian may have you reduce the dog’s diet to just a few non-allergenic components and gradually introduce other ingredients over time to determine which one is causing the allergic reaction. The vet may also offer anti-histamine medications, steroid drugs and topical creams to help soothe the dog’s skin. In time you will learn which factor causes your dog’s reaction, and you will be able to avoid the component or administer medication when the allergen is unavoidable.
Holistic veterinarians recommend an organic herbal remedy for flea-allergic dermatitis or “hot-spots” in dogs and cats. It contains Calendula flower and Burdock root extracts, Lauric acid, Tea Tree oil and Grapefruit Seed Extract. It’s called SoothAway™ and offers 100% natural herbal relief for dog itching, pain and inflammation.
Ringworm in dogs is a skin condition caused by a fungus called Microsporum canis. This condition generally affects puppies and young adult dogs. It takes its name from the familiar circular scaly patches created on the skin. The fungus spores can be spread on carpeting, bedding, toys and other objects in house and yard.
Ringworm infection may occur along with bacterial infection of the skin. Ringworm can easily spread to humans, with children being the most susceptible to the condition.
Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-fungal shampoos, creams and drugs to eliminate ringworm infection. Longhaired dogs may need to be shaved in order to provide effective treatment for the condition. The holistic natural remedy, here again, is the SoothAway™.
Staph infections are caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. These bacteria are commonly present in the environment but only cause problems when the skin is broken or the immune system of the host is compromised. Staph infections can occur in combination with other bacterial or fungal infections.
These infections can also occur at the site of a wound. Older dogs may be particularly susceptible to staph infections because their immune systems may be weakened. Puppies can also be susceptible because their immune systems are not fully developed.
Staph infections do not always respond to treatment using antibiotics because so many strains of staph bacteria have become resistant to conventional drugs. Your veterinarian will prescribe treatment with special antibiotic medications to bring the infection under control.
Holistic veterinarians recommend adding an immune modulator to treat the dog skin problem from the inside out. The herbal extract they prefer is called Primalix Immune.