Dogs have delicate skin so skin irritation should concern you. If a dog scratches more than usual, it could be a cause for concern. One of the most common issues dogs and puppies may have is dry skin, which can cause severe and prolonged discomfort. So, it is prudent to prevent your dog from having dry skin in advance by taking excellent care of your dog by using gentle grooming products and feeding them a nutritious diet.
Since your dog relies on you for their health needs, you are responsible for your pets’ health. Dry skin may not seem like a serious health problem, however, it can lead to a more severe condition if not addressed in a timely way. While it is normal for dogs to scratch their skin, it can indicate the possibility of an underlying condition if dogs scratch themselves constantly. Here are some tips on how to prevent dry skin on your dog and how you can help prevent it from becoming an ongoing issue that gets worse over time, such as a bacterial or fungal infection.
Chief Causes of Dry Skin: Lack of Good Nutrition
If your dog is malnourished they will likely have dry skin. Good nutrition is important for a pets’ longevity and quality of life. By providing the highest quality food, you can make a direct difference in your pet’s health. Quality is the key word here - quality of ingredients that go into making your dog’s or puppy’s food. The old saying “You are what you eat” applies to our pets in the same way it does for people. Better quality foods, made with better quality ingredients, provides a better quality of life. This results in fewer skin conditions, less itching, fewer ear infections, shinier coats, less inflammatory bowel disease, better muscling and muscle tone, stronger bones, more energy, better temperament and other immediate physical benefits of better nutrition. Dogs are happier and feel better overall when they get the best nutrition available, which provides a boost to their immune system and puts less stress on their kidneys and liver. Since skin is a dog’s largest organ, it is important to provide a nutrient rich diet to keep skin balanced and hydrated.
2. Skin Sensitivity
Many dogs have sensitive skin. Depending on the species and age of your dog, skin may be between 12 - 24% of their body weight, so it is important to maintain the natural skin oil and moisture balance on a dog’s skin. Your pup’s skin does many things - it provides a protective barrier against the elements, regulates temperature, and gives your dog its sense of touch. So it is no wonder that factors like the environment, parasites such as fleas and ticks, and products used on your dog can affect their skin’s health. If your dog has signs of dry, itchy, cracked and inflamed skin, it is important to find out why. Check for food allergies, environmental causes, and grooming product allergies. Sometimes healing a dog's dry skin is as easy as changing their diet or switching to a gentle, plant-based, sulfate-free dog or puppy shampoo. It is advisable to consult your veterinarian to help you identify the root cause of your dog’s skin allergy so you can treat and cure your dog’s dry skin.
3. An Underlying Disease
Your dog is likely to suffer excessive itchiness and skin dryness if there is an underlying disorder. Hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease are among the chief causes of dry skin in dogs. These illnesses can also cause hair loss, leaving the skin vulnerable to insect bites and harsh weather conditions. Consult your vet immediately to determine whether there is an underlying condition that is causing your dog’s dry, cracked, and flaky skin.
4. Constant And Vigorous Bathing And Harsh Grooming Products
While bathing your dog is essential to their overall health, doing it too often can lead to dry skin. Every breed is different and it is important to research what is best for the breed you have. Also, lifestyle factors are important to consider as inside dogs need to be bathed less often than outdoor dogs. When bathing your dog or puppy, always use an eco-friendly dog shampoo made with natural ingredients to help prevent dry skin issues. Look for dog shampoos that are PEG free, Paraben free, DEA free, SLS and SLES free (sulfates), and phthalate free. Also, many artificial fragrances can contain harsh ingredients that irritate and dry out delicate dog skin. So choose naturally fragranced grooming products for your dogs and puppies, scented with pure and natural essential oils.
5. Attacks From Parasites
Dogs of all breeds, sizes, and ages are vulnerable to parasites. Bites from parasites are a common cause of skin dryness. They can cause severe irritation, itchiness and damage the skin, leading to open sores that can become infected quickly, or gradually, over time. Your veterinarian can help you pinpoint the root cause of skin irritation and itchiness and advise you on the best remedy for your dog or puppy to treat fleas, ticks, dog mites, mange and other pests.
6. Skin Infections
Skin infections range from fungal to bacterial, and can have a dire impact on a dog’s or puppy’s overall health. Skin infections can cause severe discomfort, itchiness, and illness. Some signs of dog skin infections can be pimple-like pustules, dry patches of flaking skin, crusted skin, alopecia (hair loss), infected hair follicles, and seeping blood or pus. If you suspect your dog is suffering from a skin infection, it is important to visit your veterinarian to get treatment for your dog.
A dog’s skin health is very important to their overall well-being. Preventing dry skin on your dog is critical and is well worth the time and investment. By following these helpful tips to support your dog or puppy’s skin health, you can help ensure your pets well-being, safety and comfort all year round and throughout their lifetime.