Dog Skin Problems

Few things make a dog more miserable and a human more irritated than the constant licking, scratching and biting that skin problems cause. It is not a fun situation for dog or owner, but there are effective treatments for most skin disorders. The key to treatment lies in diagnosing the cause of the itching.

The main causes of dog skin problems are allergens (covered in the previous section,) environmental factors, infections, neurological disorders, nutritional deficiencies or parasites. This seemingly small list is, in fact, a massive list of possible reasons for the annoying scratching. This is where the veterinarian comes in. It is almost impossible for the owner of the dog to determine the real reason for the skin problem. A vet knows the questions to ask, how different conditions present themselves and has the resources and knowledge to do needed research.

The environment of a dog is not just the house but includes any place that a dog has been. Digging in the dirt, swimming in the pool and running through the bushes are potential causes of environmental dermatitis.

Nutritional dermatitis is a dog illness that comes from a diet that is lacking proper protein or other nutrients. Dog food companies claim that their food is nutritional, but that is not always the case. Although dogs are omnivores, they require meat in their diet. Many dry dog foods are grain based. A little grain is fine, but dogs need more than that to thrive. Normally, a high quality food or nutritional supplements are all that is required to treat nutritional dermatitis in dogs.

Fleas, ticks and mites cause parasitic dermatitis. Prevention is always the best way to stop parasites. Many of the newer flea and tick medications that your vet offers will also prevent mites. If a dog is on a regular parasite prevention program, people can quickly rule out most parasites as a possible cause of their dog’s skin problems.

Infectious dermatitis is a notorious cause of skin problems in canines. Many of the yeast, bacteria and fungus dogs encounter can exacerbate already existing skin issues. A dog that has scratches sores into its skin is vulnerable to invasion by these microscopic organisms. A veterinarian will prescribe topical medications or oral antibiotics. A cortisone cream helps with the irritation until the condition is under control.

When all else fails, look to the brain. Some dogs lick or scratch because of frustration, lack of mental stimulation or an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although difficult to treat, there are behavior modification treatments or medications to help with this unwanted behavior. This takes a lot of patience on the part of the owner, but the results can be astonishing.

The huge range of potential causes of dog skin problems means that a veterinarian is a necessity. There is no way for an owner to rule out every possible cause of the itching, scratching and biting without help. Once the owner has begun treatment, it is important to finish. The last thing that poor itchy dog needs is for the skin problems to start up all over again.

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