Our dogs mean the world to us. They are there for us in tough times, and they are a part of our families. Like our other family members, health problems come up from time to time that we must address to ensure their well being. For dogs, skin problems are one of the number one health issue seen in veterinary clinics. Skin problems can be genetic, but are often related to allergies, which come in a number of different forms that your dog could be exposed to. As a responsible, loving pet owner, there are things you can do to help prevent and/or remedy skin problems in your dog. In this article, we’ll go over things to consider if your own dog has encountered allergy-related skin problems.
Dogs don’t generally do a fantastic job maintaining their hygiene on their own; they require regular bathing in order to prevent skin problems. Furthermore, depending on their breed, they may also need specialized care if they are particularly prone to certain allergies. Here are a few basic tips for preventing skin problems:
Establishing a bathing routine and basic hygiene care for your pet is a great start for keeping allergens at bay. Using mild pet washes is best to avoid an allergic reaction. Dogs usually should be bathed at least once a month; although, if they are exposed to especially rural areas with a lot of dirt and dust they will need to be bathed more frequently.
Dog food should contain a good amount of fatty acids, which are excellent for maintaining your dog’s coat. When your dog’s coat is healthier, it does a better job of blocking out dirt, pollen, and other allergens.
Certain dog breeds are prone to specific allergies. For instance, pit bulls are especially known to develop allergies to certain types of grass. Consulting with your veterinarian about your dog’s susceptibility to allergies is an important step in preventing skin issues.
If your dog is already showing symptoms of skin allergies, then here are a few things you and your veterinarian should consider:
One of the most overlooked reasons for dogs’ skin problems is allergic reaction to medication they’re taking. In some cases this could be lethal, so it’s important to talk to your vet right away.
Just like humans, dogs have food allergies. Dogs are particularly sensitive to allergens in food, and it is usually best to allergy test your pet to make sure you’re feeding them food that is safe for them to eat.
It can be frustrating trying to limit the environmental allergens your dog is exposed to. For instance, if your dog is allergic to grass and you have a ton of grass on your property, there might not be much you can do except limit their time spent outside and treat the symptoms. Dogs can also be allergic to bugs, such as fleas, so flea and tick treatments can be helpful.
The first step in assessing your dog’s skin problems is to conduct a series of tests, including possibly blood work, a urine and stool analysis, and skin scrape tests. One of the most helpful tools in assessing your pet’s allergies is conducting allergy testing. These tests can look for environmental and diet-related allergies your pet is susceptible to, offering you helpful information for treatment planning. Your vet may prescribe medications, topical creams, and medicated shampoos, and might recommend a special limited diet for your dog.
At Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency in Simi Valley, clients from all over Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, and other areas nearby Ventura County travel to us because we establish a trusting, collaborative relationship with all of our patients and families. While skin issues and allergies are highly common in dogs, we acknowledge how frustrating and stressful they can be for your pet and for you. To schedule an appointment at our clinic or to inquire about our services, please contact us directly.