Almost half of our visits to the vet are because of dog skin problems. Skin problems are hard to diagnose in dogs so a visit to the vet is usually necessary. If you have an older dog, it’s important to have any lumps and bumps on your dog’s skin examined in case of tumors.
All dogs scratch, but if your dog scratches continuously there must be an underlying cause. It’s not enough to treat the itching alone because the problem will keep on recurring. Leaving skin problems untreated can lead to other problems such as agression, personality changes and may affect your dog’s overall health in the long term.
Skin diseases in dogs can be of two types, autoimmune or immune mediated. Autoimmune skin diseases are caused mainly by allergies whereas immune mediated are caused by a weak immune system. Symptoms of skin diseases are itching, inflammation, lumps, lesions and hair loss. In an attempt to relieve the aggravation, your dog will scratch, lick, roll on the ground or bite himself continuously.
To diagnose which skin disease is troubling your dog, your vet will examine the skin surface using a UV light and may take a skin scraping for greater accuracy. In some cases blood tests are used for difficult to diagnose cases.
The type of skin disease affecting your dog will dictate which treatment is used. Anti histamines are usually prescribed for allergic skin diseases. Fungal skin infections such as ringworm can be treated with an anti fungal shampoo. If the skin problem is bacterial, know as pyoderma, antibiotics will be the answer.
· Mix some colloidal oatmeal with water and wash your dog in it.
· Add some garlic to your dog’s food to deter fleas
· Rub some aloe vera gel into your dog’s skin after grooming
· Dissolve Epsom salts in some cool water to soothe itchy feet
· Baking soda works well for all over itchiness and insect bites
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. However if the problem doesn’t respond, don’t hesitate to consult your vet. Dog skin problems can become serious and an infection may develop if not treated promptly.