Dry, dull coat…
Incessant scratching and chewing that keeps YOU up all night!
It may be hard to believe, but skin problems in our dogs (and cats too, which we will cover in a separate article) are often the most common presenting complaints in clinic!
So what are some of the most common pet skin problems, and what can owners do to keep a pet’s skin healthy?
1. Itchy Skin
Itchy skin (officially referred to as pruritus), when left untreated, can consume a pet’s life. In addition to feeling miserable, itchy pets can develop secondary skin lesions, infections, and hair loss from the trauma of teeth and nails on their skin. Itchy pets are not peaceful pets!
So what causes a dog’s itch? Allergies can be a major cause of itchiness, and can be attributed to fleas, environmental factors, and food. Dogs with a true flea allergy are hypersensitive to even one bite - but the good news is, once the flea infestation is under control (and it only takes one bite to cause itching!!!) the itchiness should subside.
A lot of us don’t take environmental or food allergies into consideration, but they can be major contributing factors. Environmental allergies (for obvious reasons) can be difficult to manage, but there are allergy shots or medications available to help keep them comfortable during allergy season. When it comes to food allergies, the only way to figure out what your pet is allergy to is by conducting a very strict elimination diet. Once we figure out what the allergen is, we can recommend a great dog food that doesn’t contain this ingredient.
3. Sores and Hot Spots
If you spot any red, sticky sores on your dog - this is likely a hot spot. Please get him or her evaluated before it worsens!
4. Hair Loss
Few things are sadder than the sight of a balding dog. In order to to accurately diagnose hair loss in dogs, a veterinary exam must be done, and oftentimes diagnostics (such as skin scraping to examine the skin cells under a microscope) will be performed in order to determine if the hair loss is occurring secondary to a systemic disorder.
5. Dull Coats and the Role of Fatty Acids
Dogs with dry skin or a dull coat will often improve with diets or supplements containing optimized levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, often sourced from fish oil, play an important role in reducing inflammation.
Successful management of any skin allergies, issues or diseases in the dog is a collaborative effort between you and your veterinarian.
With correct diagnosis and comprehensive management, many dogs with skin problems can eventually find their inner Fabio!
Come in today and get to know us.
For the month of May only, you’ll save 20% off on your Itchy Scratchy Exam.