6 of the most common doggie skin conditions and how to treat them.
Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to a number of common skin conditions that can make daily life extremely uncomfortable for them or even put their lives at risk. While dog skin may not need structured, regular maintenance like human skin does, skin issues are common for pets, and they need to be dealt with in the appropriate manner.
As a pet parent, it can be really hard to tell if a skin issue needs emergency treatment or if it can be treated at home. Some issues, like mild allergic reactions, dry skin after grooming, or hot spots, are fairly common and can be treated with store-bought wipes or topical creams, but a lack of knowledge about potential skin problems can make these perfectly manageable issues very scary. More extreme issues can be overwhelming, and a veterinarian should be consulted right away. It is crucial for pet parents to be able to determine the severity of their pet's symptoms so that they may receive proper care.
When a pet comes home from daycare or grooming with itchiness or inflammation, it can be especially concerning, as you weren’t there to see what could have caused it. While our staff is trained to alert parents of any signs of illness or discomfort while they are in our care, having the ability to examine and understand when your pet needs medical care outside of our facility is crucial. At PPI, we believe that knowledge is power! The first thing parents should know are potential symptoms of skin conditions.
Common symptoms include:
- Dry/Flaky/Scaly Skin
- Sores/Scabs/Lesions on the skin
- Hair Loss/Bald Patches
- Hot Spots
Any of these symptoms can range from mild to severe, and require physical examination in most cases to fully understand the severity. In mild cases, these symptoms, and most of the conditions that cause them, are very treatable. Some treatment methods do require a prescription from a veterinarian, as home treatments do not replace the help of an expert! Should you notice bleeding, puss, extreme swelling, major discomfort, or large amounts of hair loss, your dog should see a veterinarian immediately.
Here are 6 of the most common skin conditions that affect dogs and how to treat them:
1. Topical Parasites
Fleas and Ticks are the most common form of parasites found on pets. They cause moderate to severe itchiness and irritation of the skin, and can even transfer other parasites to your pets like tapeworms or diseases such as Lyme Disease. Most flea and tick issues are easily controlled with a monthly topical flea treatment, regular washing of pet bedding, and flea and tick prevention used in or around the home.
2. Dry Skin/Dandruff
Dry skin can be caused by a number of things. Bathing too often or using certain shampoos can dry a dog’s skin out just like it would a human’s. Allergies and dehydration can also contribute to this issue. A simple solution is to make sure that your pet has consistent access to water and to use hypoallergenic or oatmeal moisturizing shampoo during their baths.
Allergies can cause a multitude of symptoms, with the source sometimes being difficult to determine. If you know the source of the reaction, best practice is to minimize your pet’s interactions with that substance. However, if the source is unknown, hypoallergenic food and shampoo can work wonders. Always consult with your veterinarian for allergy tests and solutions.
Dogs can be exposed to both viral and bacterial infections during everyday activities, no matter where they are. Yeast infections are the most common infection that afflicts a dog’s skin. Depending on the severity and type of symptoms, infections can be treated with medicated baths, ointments, or prescription medication such as antibiotics. A veterinarian should be consulted to determine the best course of action.
There are two different kinds of mange in dogs: sarcoptic and demodectic. Both are caused by an overabundance of mites on or in an animal’s skin.
Sarcoptic Mange: This type of mange is also known as scabies. Sarcoptic mange is very itchy and highly contagious to both pets and humans. However, it doesn’t typically live long on human hosts.
Demodectic Mange: Demodectic mange in dogs is not contagious; However, one form in cats can be contagious. This mite can cause hair loss and redness, among other symptoms.
Despite the misleading name, Ringworm is not a worm or a parasite -- it’s actually a fungus. The growth is highly contagious among dogs, cats, and people.In addition to the ring-shaped sore that appears, Ringworm may also cause scaly skin, bald patches, and inflammation around the rings. Like infections, Ringworm can be treated with medicated baths, ointments, or prescription medication such as antibiotics. A veterinarian should be consulted to determine the best course of action.
Please refer to the infographic provided by BANIXX for a short list of common skin issues, their symptoms, and their treatments. Remember to always consult a veterinarian should your pet show any of these symptoms.