Skin problems are common in dogs. However, with proper precautions and treatment, these skin conditions are not that lethal.
Here are six common skin problems in dogs and how you should deal with them.
#1 Allergic Skin Disease
In most dogs, skin allergies happen for three main reasons – fleas, environment, and food. Flea and food allergies are most common in dogs, while environmental allergies are seasonal.
Itchy skin and skin irritation are two common scenes when it comes to a dog’s allergies. These skin conditions can be long-term and short-term. In case of long-term allergies, consult a vet. Short-term ones will eventually die out within two or three days, like environmental allergies during certain times of the year.
Your vet might prescribe you medications like Apoquel for your dog. Apoquel helps get rid of the itchiness. It also helps soothe the skin and deals with the compounds causing skin disease. So, for long-term or intense allergies, consulting a vet is your best option.
#2 Food Allergies
When it comes to skin problems in dogs, food allergies are by far the most common culprit. Food allergies are caused by proteins in the diet and can manifest themselves as itching, redness, and irritation of the skin. In some cases, these symptoms may progress to more severe reactions such as vomiting or diarrhea.
For a dog to have a true food allergy reaction, it must be allergic to one or more specific proteins, like beef. However, that does not mean that all other kinds of meat are safe. Your dog might be allergic to chicken or even lamb. The only way to get to the bottom of it and treat the allergy is by consulting a vet.
#3 Environmental Allergies
The symptoms of environmental allergies are similar to those of food allergies. These include scratching, sneezing, and ear infections. If your dog has environmental allergies, it will usually develop them during specific seasons. That is because airborne allergens like pollen are released into the air during those times.
Environmental allergies can be difficult to diagnose since the symptoms can vary from dog to dog. For example, some dogs with seasonal allergies may develop dry skin or dandruff during certain times of the year. Others may have an itchy tail.
For dealing with environmental allergens, keep your windows closed when possible. Using air conditioning units instead of open windows during hot weather months is also a viable option. Clean up after your dog after each walk outdoors. It is to ensure that you do not bring any pollen inside with your dog. Another way to keep pollen away is by vacuuming the house regularly.
Pruritus is one of the most common skin conditions in dogs, particularly female dogs. It occurs when the skin becomes red, inflamed, and itchy. Pruritus is not caused by an infection or allergy. Rather it is linked to both those conditions.
The best way to treat pruritus is to treat any underlying cause as well. If your dog has an infection or allergy, take them to the vet for treatment of these issues. Focus on the pruritus only after the initial treatment of the allergy or infection.
Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection. It can be caused by Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria, which may be transmitted from your dog’s skin to you. Much like humans, dogs tend to get pyoderma when their immune systems are compromised for some reason, like when they are stressed out or have allergies.
A scratch can also cause this problem. It happens when your dog’s nails are too long and dig into the skin around them. That, in turn, pushes the bacteria deeper into the body and causes infection.
Consulting a vet is the ideal way out of this situation. To prevent such skin conditions, regularly trim your dog’s nails.
Folliculitis is an inflammation of a hair follicle. It can occur on the skin or on the surface of the eye.
There are three types of folliculitis – furuncular (with pustules), papular (with papules), and nodular (with nodules).
Furuncular folliculitis is the most common form of the disease. It results in painful red bumps with pus-filled centers that may ooze or drain onto surrounding skin or fur. If you do not treat it, the disease can become chronic.
Papular folliculitis produces flat-topped pustules that often contain hairs. It usually resolves on its own without treatment within 1–5 days if left alone. However, you can also treat it with topical antibacterial medications as prescribed by your vet. That will help treat the disease in just 24 hours.
Nodular folliculitis consists primarily of inflamed hair shafts surrounded by swollen, tender areas filled with pus. It is more common during shedding season. Your vet needs to take a good look at the condition before treating it further.
So, the next time your dog is facing any of these skin conditions, you will know what to do.