Dog and Puppy Health
Dog Skin Health
Dermatology is the science that deals with the study, diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases. In dogs, skin diseases are pretty common. And though not fatal, they can be irksome, itchy, painful and chronic. Dog skin health is important because most skin diseases can be controlled but not cured. This means that skin diseases in dogs require frequent and sometimes lifelong treatments. The dog’s coat has many uses and the condition of a dog’s skin can be used as an indicator of a dog’s general health.
If your dog is blessed with a lush coat and soft, silky skin then you are one of the fortunate few. Most dogs suffer from a dull coat and skin irritation at some time or the other of their lives. Things become worse when your dog is the active sort that loves to romp in the grass and roll about on the ground. Many dogs attract pollen, seeds, fleas and dirt. If the coat is not brushed regularly and special care is not taken to ensure a clean coat, these foreign substances start putrefying and causing wounds, itches and irritation. Some dogs are allergic to pollen, while others develop rashes when fleas attack them. Problems become worse with dogs that have long hair that need some rigorous grooming. Dogs that have short coats are less prone to skin diseases, though not exempt.
It is difficult to maintain dog skin health and diagnosis is often very difficult because there so many causes of skin diseases in dogs. Skin diseases in dogs can be caused by bacterial, fungal, parasitic, allergic and hormonal causes. Sometimes hereditary reasons also contribute to skin infections. Skin tumors and cysts are common in older dogs. And some skin infections like ringworm is even contagious to humans, particularly children.
Dog skin health is among the first to reflect poor nutrition, hormonal imbalances and stress, allergies as well as parasitic infections. Taking care of the dog’s skin and coat goes a long way towards preventing skin problems. Care should be taken to keep the inside coat healthy as well. Some of the things you can do are:
- Refrain from giving your dog any food that has additives or impurities
- Give him some balanced dietary vitamins including vitamin A, B, C and E.
- Keep your dog away from direct and intense sunlight as much as possible.
- In winter time, keep your dog away from radiators.
- If your dog gets wet or swims in stagnant or pool water, bathe him with fresh water afterwards.
- Check your dog’s coat regularly for fleas and get rid of fleas using a medicated shampoo.
Cleanliness is the cornerstone of dog skin health. Groom your dog every day so that he not only looks his best but you also get a chance to check for any skin problems, parasites, matts and burrs. Dogs that have long hair need regular brushing so that the oil that gets deposited at the pore of the skin comes down to the tip. Bathe your dog only when necessary. Most owners believe that a regular bath is essential to dog skin health. Skin tends to dry and flake if the dog is bathed daily. Use the right dog shampoo. Special care must be taken to clean the dog’s ears, folds in the skin, between the paws and the corners of the eye and mouth. These are areas that tend to collect bacterial or fungal infections. In case of an infection, take your dog immediately to a vet. The longer the problem stays the more complex it becomes. If the skin gets itchy the dog may self-mutilate and thus cause secondary or additional infections.