Is your dog scratching, licking or biting his or her skin?
Skin problems are one of the top reasons humans take their dogs to the vet. (See this stat from the Veterinary Pet Insurance Company.)
Summer seems to make some problems worse. Here’s a rundown on three common conditions that may be getting under your dog’s skin this summer.
Several things can cause dry skin during the summer.
- Fleas, mites or mange (which is caused by a mite), and eczema (which can happen when a dog is in the water a lot)
- Contact dermatitis. This is a reaction to an allergen or irritant in a dog’s surroundings, including plants, mulch, pollen, fertilizers and parasitic infestations. Contact dermatitis often appears as a red rash and bumps on the belly, inner ears, muzzle or paws.
- Over-bathing. Too many baths and/or using the wrong shampoo strip important oils from a dog’s skin and coat and dries out skin.
What to do
- Encourage your dog to drink more water. (See this past post for tips.)
- Brush your canine’s coat regularly to remove loose fur and distribute the skin’s natural oils.
- Rinse with clean, clear water if your pooch has been swimming in a pool. Chlorine and other chemicals can dry skin.
- When you bathe your dog, use shampoo formulated for dogs. If you use groomers, ask that they don’t use a dryer.
- Ask your vet about dietary supplements like flax seed oil, lecithin, or spirulina.
- A dog can scratch or lick an itch so much that he/she irritates the skin and it becomes inflamed and infected. A wet scab can form, and the area may be red and oozing. The spots also itch, and a dog can double down on the problem by continuing to scratch and lick the hot spot. Hot, humid weather contribute to hot spots.
What to do
This comes from PetMD.com.
- Trim the area around the hot spot. If the area is too big, shave it. Exposing it to air will dry out the moisture and help speed healing.
- Clean the area with a mild water-based antiseptic spray or specialized shampoo, and pat dry.
- Apply hydrocortisone spray or hydrocortisone cream (with a veterinarian’s prescription) to stop the itching and help promote healing.
- Prevent your dog from biting, licking or scratching the hot spot affected area.
- Seborrhea is a condition that causes doggie dandruff. A dog’s coat becomes greasy from oil buildup on the skin, and the result is skin scales – or dandruff. The residue is often concentrated on the belly, elbows, hind end and lower legs. Dogs will scratch at the affected areas and cause blessing and open sores.
What to do
- Vets usually prescribe a special medicated shampoo specifically for this skin condition.
Your dog doesn’t need a thick skin to be comfortable this summer. Humans just need to follow a few summer safety tips for their canine’s comfort.