There are many facets to your dog’s well-being, but few are as important and as challenging as caring for his coat and skin. From the threat of fleas and ticks to breed-prone skin allergies, there are many factors that might affect the appearance and health of the skin and coat. Learning about what causes some common issues, as well as how to treat them, can help you care for your dog so that he always looks and feels his best.
Your dog may not develop skin and coat problems until he reaches adulthood, as a change in hormonal activity may trigger them. As the problems present themselves, you may notice several symptoms, including:
Your dog may also develop sore, hairless areas called “hot spots” that occur from constant licking or scratching one area of the skin. Hot Spot Cream by Doggles can help soothe these areas, as well as irritation and swelling caused by bug bites. If you live in an area where mosquitos, fleas and ticks are common, you may want to use a preventative product on your dog to ensure he is not bothered by these parasites, all of which feed on your dog’s blood to survive.
If your dog develops any signs of skin or coat problems, begin with a trip to the veterinary clinic. A professional diagnosis can help you understand which over-the-counter supplements and shampoos to use to improve your dog’s coat and treat his skin. The better you understand your dog’s allergies or other skin issues, the more confidently you can treat it. There are a variety of causes your vet might discuss with you.
Some dog breeds are prone to skin allergies and other problems, including some terrier types, spaniels, Dobermans and poodles. Dogs with droopy skin folds, such as Shar-Peis and English Bulldogs, tend to suffer from infections that form in the skin folds. Frequent baths with an additive-free shampoo, like F eeling Flaky Dry & Sensitive Skin Pet Shampoo by Pet Head , may help reduce the chance of infection and clear away dead skin flakes caused by chronic dryness.
In some cases, skin and coat problems may be due to an oil gland issue that causes uneven coat appearance and thin spots. While treatments can vary depending on your dog’s health history, omega acid therapy may help. VetriScience Omega 3.6.9. Pet Gel Caps contain three kinds of Omega acids, which may help to balance the oils in your dog’s coat and improve its condition. As with any supplement, you may want to discuss it with your veterinarian before use.
If your dog occasionally scratches or licks its skin, there probably is not too much cause for alarm. However, if your dog engages in these actions every day, he might be trying to tell you something. Not only can skin problems cause infections and hair loss but they can also affect your dog’s quality of life by interrupting his sleep and playtime. Imagine being awoken each night by an itch you cannot soothe and how that might affect your overall mood.
Hot spots can be especially problematic if they are not treated quickly. When left to heal on their own, your dog may chew, lick and scratch at them, which could lead to serious infections and hair loss around the spot itself. If your dog has a dense coat, you may want to check for these spots, especially during the summer when they tend to appear more often.
A food or snack treat formulated to improve your dog’s skin and coat may help relieve itching or other issues associated with allergies or genetic skin disorders. A product that contains natural fish oil, like Lakse Kronch 100% Salmon Dog Treats , may help to support a healthy, shiny coat and help prevent coat thinning. You may want to try several different types of fish-based treats until you find one that your dog truly enjoys and accepts regularly. Some dogs have finicky tastes and may enjoy a variety of different flavors.
It is important that you consider your dog’s dietary needs before you introduce a new food or treat. For example, if your vet diagnosed your dog with a skin allergy, review the ingredients of any foods you offer and try to avoid artificial ingredients that may cause flare-ups.
When you introduce a new skin and coat care product to your dog, a gradual introduction may work best. There are a few techniques you can try right at home, where your dog is likely to feel the most comfortable.
1. If you are offering a new food, mix it in with your dog’s usual fare. Start with roughly ¼ of the new food and then, if he seems to respond well, increase the amount until you completely replace the previous food. Note any digestive changes such as loose stool or gastric issues.
2. Respect your dog’s tastes and preferences. If he does not respond well to the new food, try a different brand or flavor. Consider what flavors he likes, such as bacon, salmon or beef.
3. If you are offering a supplement for the first time, use positive reinforcement. While some products are flavored to encourage ingestion, not all dogs will accept a pill on its own. Try using flavored pill pockets or hide the supplement in your pet’s food if he will not eat it on its own.
The condition of your dog’s skin and coat can affect his overall well-being. Remaining aware of potential problems and working with your vet can ensure your dog’s daily comfort and happiness.