Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dog Dry Skins – Tips and Treatments

Shiny coat is a sign of healthy pet. Dogs can have all sorts of skin problems and they range in severity from benign to very serious. As Winter approaches and the temperature begins to drop, you notice a new behavior with your dog: he is constantly scratching, biting or licking his fur. As each day grows cooler, his behavior worsens. Winter is also a time when we experience dry hands and feet, and as such we require extra treatment during this time to keep our skin moist and healthy. Any dog can have dry skin; it is not an exclusively human condition. Just like us, dogs need good skin care to prevent itching and flaking.

Is your home dry in the winter? If so, this could be causing dry skin itch. Use a room humidifier to moisten the air. Also, try a moisturizing shampoo from the pet store. Do not bathe your dog too often; keep his coat clean but that is all--this will help with the scratching and, also, keep them from being uncomfortable during winter months. Water and winter do not mix well with your pet. When you must bathe your dog, be sure to use a dog shampoo. A dog's ph level is different from our own and human shampoos can be harsh on their skin. Instead, buy a dog shampoo that can offer moisturizing effects. Besides providing moisture, many shampoos can also offer flea and parasite protection, which can also help lessen scratching. Some of the more promising cures are herbal extracts such as horsetail, dandelion, spirulina, and fucus, which can help maintain skin and fur health, improve digestive health, and promote general well-being in dogs and cats. Brush your dog often to remove dead hair and dander; if possible, a quick brushing every day will help your pet immensely. Healthy skin, ultimately, reflects a dog's lifestyle. By using quality foods and adding fatty supplements to their food (oil, etc), you can guarantee your dog to have a flake-free coat.

But when your dog skin is flaky, red and irritated or some noticeable bumps, rashes or other unusual inflammations, this could be a sign of something serious. Others see some open sores in dog body or dog's hair is falling out excessively, your dog needs to see his vet. He could just be allergic to his fleas or something in your home. It’s important to get some sort of flea control. Your vet can help you determine and eliminate any other allergens that are causing your dog trouble.

Also dog hotspots are very common, they are typically a bacterial infection. They might have started out as just an allergy, but as the dog scratched, he broke open the skin and introduced bacteria into the sore with his dirty paws. The bacteria grows and causes further irritation to the skin. The vet will want to clear up the initial allergy as well as treat the new infection. He may also prescribe a pain reliever. Most of the time, your dog’s skin troubles can be solved using a variety of treatments. Some are topical like creams and shampoos. Others are pills or injections. Be patient though, not all dogs respond similarly to treatment. It may take a while to find what works.

Common tips to prevent and treat dog skin allergies is to give the right and healthy food. Premium dog foods like Wellness, Royal Canin and Science Diet are balanced nutritionally, with less grain and more meat. One way to determine the quality of a dog food is to look at the first few ingredients, which should be a meat, rather than a grain. Fresh foods like meats and vegetables are high in nutrients and vitamins, which will help to improve a dog's skin and coat by improving overall health. Consider adding fresh meats, and vegetables and fruits like carrots, celery, broccoli, apples (with no seeds), and greens like kale to each meal. Always introduce new foods gradually to avoid stomach upset. A dehydrated dog is going to be prone to dry skin, among other health problems, and some dogs simply don’t drink what they should. Provide extra fluids by serving wet food or by hydrating dry food. Add hot water to kibble, allow the kibble to sit for about ten minutes – this should cause the kibble to swell with water, providing extra fluid with each meal. Fresh vegetables also have high water content, aiding further in providing moisture to the dog's body. Oils can greatly improve the condition of a dog’s itchy or dry skin. So once daily, soak one or two pieces of bread with olive oil and serve with each meal. Or add the oil directly to the dog’s meal by providing a teaspoon of olive oil for each 15 pounds of body weight.

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