Just like in humans, a dog’s skin is their largest organ, and it plays an incredible role in their overall health. Whether it’s regulating body temperature, creating vitamin D, or providing a critical line of defense against pathogens, the skin is truly an amazing thing!
That’s why when the skin is impacted by health issues, major problems can arise. According to Nationwide Pet Insurance, skin conditions in dogs are among the top reasons they’re seen by a veterinarian, so it’s important to take the health of your pet’s skin seriously. After all, when the skin suffers, your dog suffers, too!
Skin Conditions in Dogs
The most common skin conditions in dogs that we see here at West Park Animal Hospital include:
- Allergies – Allergies to pollen, mold, chemicals, food, or fleas often manifest as skin conditions in dogs. An allergic pet may excessively lick, paw, or chew at the face, ears, paws, or groin area.
- Infection – A breakdown in the immune system can lead to an increased chance of bacterial or fungal infection.
- External parasites – Fleas, skin mites (mange), and lice (specific to dogs) can all cause itchy skin. A dog who’s allergic to flea saliva can suffer a severe reaction from just one bite.
- Dryness – Dryness can manifest as itching, flaking, dull coat, and/or cracked skin.
- Atopic dermatitis – This severely itchy condition can occur when the immune system has weakened due to allergies or other causes. The intense scratching and licking put your pet at risk for skin infections known as hot spots.
- Lumps and bumps – Cysts, benign fatty tumors, and malignancies can all occur on or just below the surface of your pet’s skin.
Helping and Healing
The good news is that much of your dog’s skin health is in your hands. The following tips can help boost your pup’s immune system and protect them from environmental factors that can trigger skin issues:
- Adhere to your dog’s regularly scheduled wellness visits and any lab work your veterinarian recommends.
- Make sure your dog is on a year-round flea preventive medication, even if they have no history of fleas.
- Groom your dog on a regular basis to evenly distribute oils in the skin and remove accumulated allergens in the fur.
- Feed them a high-quality diet, and ask your vet about omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
- Vacuum, dust, and wash your pet’s bedding frequently. This can help lower the amount of allergens in your home.
Skin conditions in dogs can be incredibly frustrating, but the team at West Park Animal Hospital is here for you every step of the way. Together, we can develop a plan to reduce your pet’s symptoms and restore their health and vitality. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.