Good day and welcome everyone!
This is Sharda with a wonderful newsletter about dog grooming. It is good for us dog owners to be able to identify dog skin problems!
Here we go!
Skin care during dog grooming is very important but being vigilant enough to identify common skin problems as and when they occur is also of the utmost importance.
In fact, it is essential because skin conditions should not be treated by you or a professional dog grooming person.
Instead, as soon as you notice a condition you should take your dog to see your vet in order to get the proper treatment and medication for him or her.
There are numerous ways that a skin condition can manifest itself. The following represent just a few of those ways so you are able to get a good idea of what to look out for:
Dry Skin – Dry skin is a common problem for dogs of all breeds because there are a number of causes of it. Most are atmospheric causes, but there are one or two others that you should know about. Firstly, the most common cause of dry skin in dogs is the temperature change during winter.
Cold temperatures cause dog skin to flake just as ours does. As it is seasonal and largely down to low temperatures, you may find that using a humidifier works within the home and giving smooth coated dogs an extra coat on a walk.
Another common cause of dry skin is the use of harsh human or poor quality shampoos during dog grooming. Shampoos that are of a high quality and are specially formulated for dogs are designed to work in harmony with the skin but human and cheap shampoos are not and so will often strip the natural oils from your dog’s skin and coat.
This causes irritation and dries out the skin as well.
If your dog’s skin does not improve when you are using a proper dog shampoo or a humidifier then you should take your dog to a vet to check whether or not there is some sort of underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
Allergies – Allergies are just as common in dogs as they are in humans today and have the same sources – foods, external environmental factors and substances that can be inhaled. All three can cause a bad reaction, which will manifest itself in one of several ways and almost always appear on the skin.
Rashes, hives, itching, baldness and irritability are all common reactions and any one or a combination of them can be observed as soon as your dog has had the reaction.
If left untreated, all of these elements will lead to one unhappy dog but it is possible to catch all of them early, especially if you regularly groom your dog. Catching them early might actually be a godsend because, when left to develop, they all cause a cycle of irritation that is difficult to get your dog out of.
For example, a rash will cause itching. That will of course irritate your dog and encourage him or her to scratch. That will cause further irritation, which leads to licking the wound. Licking can cause the spreading of any infection that has got into the sores that have been opened by the scratching and then the whole process begins again.
As such, it can be difficult to get rid of this entire cycle once it has started and even then it may leave lasting and wholly negative effects on the skin for a number of months or even years.
The most common of all dog allergies is a reaction to the saliva of fleas, which occurs after your dog has picked the little critters up and they have bitten through the skin. Grooming also comes in handy because it allows you to notice any fleas that are present in your dog’s coat and get rid of them all in one sweep.
However, when you are removing the fleas by applying flea shampoo or insecticides, ensure that you keep them away from your dog’s eyes and, following the removal of the shampoo, be sure to locate the hives and rash to ensure that you avoid brushing over it. You can get rid of matting with a comb instead.
Another form of allergic reaction is also relatively common and that is a result of various products that you use on your dog’s skin. Shampoos, conditioners, sprays, chemicals for treating fleas and other similar substances can all cause reactions.
Similarly, if you change your current grooming products then you should keep an eye on your dog to make sure that there is no reaction before using them again. Foods can also cause similar reactions. As such, if you change your dog’s regular dietary habits then you should also monitor the situation.
If in doubt over allergies then always seek veterinary help because you never know when it may turn out to be something more serious.
Hot Spots – Hot spots are areas that have wounds that are moist and hot to the touch that have the ability to spread like wildfire and can make your dog’s life an absolute misery. They are effectively areas of moist dermatitis that are initially caused by any one of a number of triggers.
It may be fleas, an allergic reaction, poor grooming, an irritant or an infection. Whichever trigger it is leaves a small wound, which is then licked and scratched by your dog until it gets infected and thus worse. When the infection hits the wound it turns into a hot spot and is incredibly difficult to sort out.
Your vet will need to remove all hair from the area and treat it directly because this is the only way to draw the infection out. You need to ensure that your dog does not lick it after treatment and there are products for this, which are often prescribed along with an antihistamine.
Diseases And Infection – There are so many different skin diseases and infections that dogs can pick up that are difficult to know where to start. If your dog does have a skin disease or infection then you first stop should always be the vet because he will be able to advise you about the course of action you can take.
This includes advice about medication and grooming practices that should be employed until your dog is better.
Diseases can be anything from oily seborrhea, which is simply from the production of too much natural oil, right through to the far more serious skin cancer. As such, you can see the range in severity but the sooner you get your dog treated the sooner he or she will feel comfortable again.
Infections, on the other hand, are often cause by bacteria entering wounds or poor grooming techniques. Some are common, such as impetigo in puppies, whereas others are breed specific, such as skin fold pyoderma in Shar Pei dogs. All can be treated with antibiotics and ceasing grooming until the area is completely clear.
Although the hair should be removed from the area to allow the air to get to the wounds caused, further grooming will actually cause a spread of the infection.
In addition to all of the above, another cause of problems can come from a dog’s own dander. It is the dander that causes allergic reactions to dogs in humans but it can also cause issues for dogs. Irritation, itching, redness and sore spots can all arise as a result of dander.
However, this is not included in the list above because it is not a vet’s responsibility to help to treat it but an owner’s to prevent it.
It is possible to prevent reactions to dander by simply keeping your home and your dog’s bedding in particular clean. Washing bedding once every two weeks and thoroughly cleaning your home once a week is enough to keep dander reactions at bay.
Another element that you need to consider is the skin care you need to employ when your dog is in the sun. All dogs can get sunburned and it is just as uncomfortable for them as it is for us. Although making sure that they avoid this is not strictly an area involved in the grooming process, it is no less important than anything else outlined in this book.
Always make sure that your dog has plenty of water and access to shade, as well as sunscreen on. This is especially important in cases of white and light colored dogs that have short to medium coats.
As you can see, skin care is of vital importance for your dog. However, you should also ensure that your dog’s coat also gets more than enough attention.
I hope you learned a lot from today’s dog grooming newsletter.
I will be back for more!