Unfortunately many dogs today suffer from dog skin conditions. In fact, it's the number one reason dogs are taken to the vets according to Nationwide Pet Insurance. Allergies is the most common diagnosis costing dog owners an average of $183 per visit. In 2016 and 2017 the average cost has increased mainly due to new testing procedures for allergies in dogs.
If your dog starts to itch as soon as the weather gets warmer, it's quite possibly allergies, but, did you know yeast infections are often misdiagnosed as allergies? They have similar symptoms and both occur more often in hot and humid climates. Luckily yeast is easily treated at home. See here for more information.
Is your dog constantly itching and scratching? Rubbing his face? Licking his paws?
If you answered yes, then chances are he is experiencing an issue with his skin.
In fact, nearly all dog skin problems have the symptom of itching so treating the symptoms alone usually results in multiple vet visits.
You can reduce the number of vet visits by understanding the cause and treating at home, where possible. Many dog skin conditions are easily treated at home, if you just know which condition to treat. Find out how you can determine the cause in 3 easy steps.
The most common canine skin disorders are as follows:
Even if you don't know why your dog is itching, many of these conditions can be prevented or treated by using a good quality dog shampoo on a regular basis. Also, did you know that just by adding a simple omega 3 supplement to your dog's food, you can improve the condition of your dog's skin and coat, regardless of the cause!
A good source of omega 3 is Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil which can help with nearly all skin-related disorders. It boosts your dog's immune system and, in time, can help your dog to heal its own skin-related condition from within. You can find out why and how here.
Many dogs that suffer from skin disorders actually have an immune system that is not functioning correctly or is otherwise compromised. Simply adding a fish oil, like salmon, will provide an abundant supply of omega oils to your dogs diet which will help to restore the immune system.
A good salmon oil to try is Pawsome Naturals Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil.
$21.99 (16 fl. oz.)
Many owners believe that they don't need a fish oil supplement as their dog food lists either fish oil, salmon oil, or omega 3 as an ingredient. Unfortunately, this is fairly misleading as any kibble or dog food that has omega 3, fish oil, or salmon oil added would provide little to no benefit to your dog.
Dog food manufacturers may add the supplement to the food before processing but by the time the food gets to your dog, the active ingredients added will almost certainly be destroyed. Omega oils are unstable to heat, oxygen, and light and cannot survive the high heat temperatures that processed kibble or canned food undergoes. Even if some oils survive the manufacturing process they would almost certainly be destroyed when being stored in opened bags that are not refrigerated.
First, we need to get past all that fur and take a look at the skin. Use your hand to part your dog's hair and look closely at the skin. Are you seeing any signs of sores, redness, dandruff, parasites, dog skin rashes, lumps, bumps or bald spots? If so, make a note of any findings.
Next, you will need to ask yourself the following, and again, make a note:
Remember we were taking notes of all this! You'll need this information in step 2 to help get to the cause of your dog's itching. Also, if you do make an appointment with your vet, answers to these questions helps your vet give you a speedy and accurate diagnosis. That way an effective treatment plan can be started early, eliminating the need for multiple vet visits.
All other skin issues are not as urgent but do require attention to get relief for your dog.
Nearly all dog skin conditions start with an itch. When your dog is trying to scratch that itch, he may scratch his ears, face, or body with his rear legs. He may also rub his face on the floor (or you) or use his front paws to rub his face.
Scratching isn't the only way he will try to relieve that itch. He may also continually lick at his tummy, paws or genitals.
If your dog is excessively licking, this could lead to hair loss in those areas and persistent licking of the belly may cause patchy dark pigments on the skin.
Light colored dogs that lick paws obsessively may turn the fur on their paws a rust color caused by their saliva. This change in color is a key indicator that there is a skin condition.
Unfortunately there are many dog skin disorders that cause our dogs distress. Luckily there are many home remedies you can try when you determine the actual cause of the irritation to your dog's skin.
Now you have a good idea of your dog's symptoms, take a look at the below chart and see which symptoms best match your dog's symptoms.
You can then see which potential skin condition your dog may have based on which symptoms have a check-mark for that condition.
Some less common symptoms of skin conditions are as follows:
Pus-filled blisters (abdomen & groin) on puppy
Purplish red spots and blackheads on puppy's face
Extremely itchy. Dogs scratching skin until its raw
Mild thinning of fur (mainly the face) & Mild itchiness
Finally, click on the below links that give more details of the potential dog skin conditions your dog may be suffering from based on his symptoms.
Many canine skin problems start with itching and scratching. If you simply treat the symptoms alone, you may end up with repeated vet visits with an itchy dog. Follow the tips on this page to avoid problems starting and treat existing canine skin disorders at home.
Here you will also find information on which skin conditions can be addressed with home remedies and which will still require a vet visit. Hopefully, you will find a treatment plan that's right for your dog.
So remember, most dog skin conditions share a common symptom...itching. Treating the symptom alone results in multiple vet visits. Canine skin disorders can be avoided and managed at home if you follow the advice here.