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Why Dogs Scratch? How much Dogs Sched and Why Dogs are Shedding? 10 Remedies to Care for Dog Skin Problems 40 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Dog Flea & Ticks 4 Remedies to Diagnose Dog Itchy Skin Non-Shedding Dog List Best Dog Food for Sensitive Skin Allergies and Infections of Dog Skin Dog Skin & Coat Structure Itchy and Dry Dog Skin Dog & Puppy Skin and Coat Dog Skin Problems Dog Skin Allergy & Cancer Dog Skin Anatomy & Structure Dog Skin Irritation, Rash, Bumps, Tag Why Dogs Itching, Scratching & Shedding? Dog Skin Infections & Disorders Mange, Fungus, Atopic Dermatitis, Yeast..
The skin is the largest organ of your dog's body. It provides a protective barrier against the environment, regulates temperature, and gives your dog its sense of touch. Depending on the species and age, the skin may be 12 to 24% of a dog's body weight. The skin has 3 major layers: the epidermis or outermost layer, the dermis or middle layer, and subcutis or innermost layer. Other important parts of the skin include skin appendages (such as hair and claws) and subcutaneous muscles and fat.
The anatomy of a dog's skin includes 3 major layers, as well as hair follicles and sebaceous glands.
Epidermis is the outer layer of skin. It provides protection from foreign substances. The epidermis is composed of multiple types of cells, including keratin-ocytes, melanocytes, Langerhans cells, and Merkel cells. Each of these cells has special functions.
Keratinocytes provide a protective layer that is constantly being renewed in a process called keratinization. In this process, new skin cells are created near the base of the epidermis and migrate upwards. This produces a compact layer of dead cells on the skin surface. This layer keeps in fluids, salts, and nutrients, while keeping out infectious or noxious agents. The top layer of dead skin cells are continuously shed and replaced by cells from lower layers. The rate of cell replacement is affected by nutrition, hormones, tissue factors, immune cells in the skin, and genetics. Disease and inflammation also alter normal cell growth and keratinization.
Melanocytes are located at the base of the epidermis, the outer root sheath of hairs, and the ducts of the sebaceous and sweat glands. The melanocytes produce the skin and hair coloring (pigment) called melanin. Production of melanin is controlled by both hormones and the genes received from parents. Melanin helps protect the cells from the damaging rays of the sun.
Langerhans cells are part of the immune system. These cells are damaged when exposed to excessive ultraviolet light and glucocorticoids (anti-inflammatory drugs). Langerhans cells play an important role in the skin's response to foreign substances and contribute to such things as the development of rashes when an animal is exposed to irritating materials.
Merkel cells are specialized cells associated with the sensory organs in the skin. In particular, Merkel cells help provide animals with sensory information from whiskers and the deep skin areas called tylotrich pads.
Basement Membrane Zone This layer of the skin is located beneath the epidermis and connects the epidermis to the dermis layer below. It also serves as a protective barrier between the epidermis and the dermis. Several skin diseases, including a number of autoimmune conditions, can damage the basement membrane zone.
Dermis The dermis supports and nourishes the epidermis and skin appendages. The blood vessels that supply the epidermis with nutrients are located in the dermis. Blood vessels also regulate skin and body temperature. Sensory nerves are located in the dermis and hair follicles. The skin responds to the sensations of touch, pain, itch, heat, and cold. The dermis secretes the proteins collagen and elastin, which give support and elasticity to the skin. There are also immune cells in the dermis that defend against infectious agents that pass through the epidermis.
Skin Appendages Hair follicles, oil and sweat glands, and claws, are skin appendages that grow out of the epidermis and dermis. The hair follicles of dogs are compound. The follicles have a central hair surrounded by 3 to 15 smaller secondary hairs all exiting from one pore. Dogs are born with simple hair follicles that develop into compound hair follicles.
The growth of hair is affected by nutrition, hormones, and change of season. Dogs normally shed hair in the early spring and early fall. They may also shed in response to changes in temperature or amount of sunlight. The size, shape, and length of hair are controlled by genetics and hormones. Disease, drugs, nutrition, and environment also affect the health of hair.
The hair coat protects the skin from physical and ultraviolet light damage, and helps regulate body temperature. Trapping dead air space between secondary hairs conserves heat. This requires that the hairs be dry and waterproof. The cold-weather coat of many dogs is longer and finer to facilitate heat conservation. The hair coat can also help cool the skin. The warm-weather coat has shorter, thicker hairs and fewer secondary hairs. This anatomic change allows air to move easily through the coat, which facilitates cooling.
Oil glands (also called sebaceous glands) secrete an oily substance called sebum into the hair follicles and onto the skin. They are present in large numbers near the paws, back of the neck, rump, chin, and tail area. Sebum is a mixture of fatty acids. Sebum is important for keeping the skin soft, moist, and pliable. Sebum gives the hair coat sheen and has antibiotic properties. Dogs have sweat glands on the feet that may have a minor role in cooling of the body. However, dogs primarily release excess body heat by panting and drooling.
Subcutis The subcutis is the innermost layer of the skin. It contains the subcutaneous fat and muscles. (The word subcutaneous means "beneath the skin.") The twitch muscle is the major muscle immediately beneath the skin. The subcutaneous fat provides insulation; a reservoir for fluids, electrolytes, and energy and a shock absorber.
Skin is a wonderful invention, it guards against dehydration by preventing fluid loss - protects man's best friend from exposure to the weather by presenting a tough surface to the outside world and providing follicles for hair growth and makes pets huggable. Skin is the body's largest organ, without it, hair would have no place to grow, internal body parts would become external body parts, and people would not want to hug and stroke their pets. Skin is both tough and elastic. It is moist on the inside, relatively dry on the outside. It helps regulate Sparky's body temperature through the blood vessels and reduces exposure to extreme cold by muscular action that fluffs the hair and traps heated air next to the body. In short, skin is a wonderful invention.
Skin comes in three layers: epidermis, dermis, and panniculus. The epidermis is the body's environmental shield made up of tough keratinized cells glued together in stacks by fats. This layer is constantly replaced; the glue dries out, the outer layer of cells sloughs off and new cells rise from the basal cell layer of the epidermis, elongate, and harden to keep the horny outer layer intact.
The epidermis is a barrier against injury, disease, and damage from ultraviolet light. Obviously, the horny layer protects the internal organs from exposure and massive fluid loss. The ability to quickly replace a damaged epidermis is critical in mending trauma, particularly in cases where burns, abrasions, or cuts leave the body vulnerable to infection and dehydration.
The chief guardians against infection that penetrates the skin's horny outer layer are the amoeba-like Langerhans cells that capture foreign proteins (antigens) and send them on the road to destruction. If the Langerhans cells are overzealous in their work, the dog can develop an allergy, a intensified immune response to a common substance. Skin protects dogs from ultraviolet rays of the sun by providing a foundation for the haircoat and by producing melanin to color hair and skin. Melanin is a natural sunscreen. Humans can increase the production of melanin by repeated exposure to the sun, but dogs do not tan.
pH levels. Human skin is around 4.5 - 5, which is quite acidic. As a baby we have a pH a lot more alkaline, or neutral, at around 7. The better the acid mantle on our skin, the better protected we are from germs. Hence as a baby we need that much more protection from germs and our skin is that much more senstitive. Dogs have a pH around 7 - 8.5, which is why some people will choose baby products like shampoo to use on their dog if they can't find a dog specific brand. In general, the more alkaline or basic the skin, the more susceptible it will be to infections.
Hair. Another key difference is that dogs have a bundle of hairs growing from one hair follicle where humans have one. For extra protection from germs as well as the sun, dogs have their hair. We seem to have lost this as we evolved but some say the darker pigmentation of our skin is what we developed for the sun protection instead, especially those living in Africa. When a dog is missing hair, as with ones that are shaved or are naturally hairless, they commonly have skin problems, including sun burn.
The epidermis is the body's environmental shield that works as a barrier against injury, disease, and damage from ultraviolet light and is constantly replaced. Canine epidermis has a turnover rate of 20 days compared to humans which occurs approximately every 28 days. The epidermis of a dog is 3-5 cells thick however in humans it is at least 10-15 cells thick.
Thickness.Human skin includes of 3 to 5 layers of cells for the stratum corneum. Usually the more hair, the thinner the stratum corneum. Dog Skin includes of 10 to 15 layers of cells for the stratum corneum.
Sweat Glands. Dog skin consists of few - thermal regulation is by panting. Human skin consists of many thermal regulation is by perspiring.
Also, where you have a dog that has a thick skin and/or a thick coat of hair, like a Labrador or Retriever that is built to be able to swim long distances in the cold, the only exposed skin you will see are the pads and the nose. Both may be susceptible to over doing the sun exposure but are difficult areas to protect with something like dog sunscreen, so require your being mindful and looking after them if outdoors often.
DOG vs HUMAN SKIN This information proudly presented by
If you've ever wondered why you are not supposed to use human shampoo on a dog, the reason is simple - dogs and humans have different skin. I think it helps to know a little how human skin and dog skin are different. Both dogs and humans have a similar skin structure with an epidermis layer and a dermis layer, but we do have significant differences.
The difference between canine and human skin The epidermis is the body's environmental shield that works as a barrier against injury, disease, and damage from ultraviolet light and is constantly replaced. Canine epidermis has a turnover rate of 20 days compared to humans which occurs approximately every 28 days. The epidermis of a dog is 3-5 cells thick however in humans it is at least 10-15 cells thick.
The issue of hair When hair grows in a canine it grows in bundles. When a human hair develops it grows as a solitary hair and continues to grow unlike dog's hair which grows in cycles. When dog hair reaches a certain length determined by the individual dog's genetic makeup, it stops growing, then dies. That's when shedding begins.
A sweaty subject or not? The dog's dermal skin layer has two types of glands that produce fluids. The apocrine glands, which produce sweat in humans, have two other functions in dogs: they help seal the outer layer of the epidermis and they secrete pheromones that give dogs a distinctive body odour. The eccrine glands in the pads of the paws do produce a watery secretion similar human perspiration. This secretion leaves damp pawprints behind nervous or stressed canines and may also improve traction for a quick getaway.
It's no fun having to remove ticks from your dog during the spring and summer months. Not only are these blood-suckers nasty to look at, all filled up with your dog's hard won blood as they are, they are also notoriously difficult to dislodge, making it so you have to get up close and personal in order to assure success. Because left too long or not removed entirely, these buggers can cause some serious diseases. So, what can you do to keep your dog tick-free this season? There are many different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on a dog, and they work in different ways. Here are ten ideas for you to consider.
1. Spot-on Treatments Using an over the counter spot-on medication that you purchase from your veterinarian, pet store, or online can be a very effective method for controlling both ticks and fleas. These medications are effective at keeping parasites at bay for up to a month. While these medications are great, you still need to be very careful about which one you use. Make sure you read all labels carefully, and if you have any doubts, be sure to get advice from your veterinarian before application.
2. Oral Medications Pills that are given once a month are readily available for dogs. These medications can work to kill both ticks and immature fleas and will disrupt the life cycle of fleas. They are easy to give and you won't have to be concerned about small children and cats coming into contact with dogs immediately after application, as you might with spot-on treatments.
3. Shampoos Bathing your dog with a shampoo that contains medicated ingredients will generally kill ticks on contact. This can be an inexpensive, though labor-intensive method of protecting your dog during the peak tick season. You will need to repeat the process more often, about every two weeks, as the effective ingredients won't last as long as a spot-on or oral medication.
4. Tick Dips A dip is a concentrated chemical that needs to be diluted in water and applied to the animal's fur with a sponge or poured over the back. This treatment is not meant to be rinsed off after application. The chemicals used in dips can be very strong, so be sure to read the labels carefully before use. You should not use a dip for very young animals - under four months or for pregnant or nursing pets. Ask your veterinarian for advice before treating puppies, or pregnant or nursing pets.
5. Tick Collars Collars that repel ticks are an additional preventive you can use, though they are mainly only useful for protecting the neck and head from ticks. The tick collar needs to make contact with your dog's skin in order to transfer the chemicals onto the dog's fur and skin. When putting this type of collar on your dog, you will need to make sure there is just enough room to fit two fingers under the collar when it's around the dog's neck. Cut off any excess length of collar to prevent your dog from chewing on it. Watch for signs of discomfort in case an allergic reaction to the collar occurs. Make sure you read the labels carefully when choosing a collar.
6. Powders Another method of topical medication, tick powders work to kill and repel ticks from your dog. These powders should be used with care during application. Be sure that the powder you are using is labeled for dogs before use, as well as for your dog's specific age. Also, make sure you check the label to make sure that the product is designed to kill ticks as well as fleas. This very fine powder can be an irritant to the mouth or lungs if inhaled, so use small amounts and slowly rub it into the skin. Keep powders away from the face and eyes when applying. You will need to reapply the product more often, about once a week during peak season. Some powders can also be used in areas where your dog sleeps, and in other parts of the household your dog frequents.
7. Tick Sprays Another topical application of medication, tick spray kills ticks quickly and provides residual protection. Sprays can be used in between shampoos and dips, and when you are planning to spend time out in wooded areas, where ticks are most prevalent with your dog. Be careful when using this product, and other tick control products, around your dog's face, and do not use it on or around any other animals in the home.
8. Treat the House and Lawn Keeping your lawn, bushes, and trees trimmed back will help reduce the population of fleas and ticks in your backyard. If there are fewer areas for these parasites to live and breed, there will be fewer of them to be concerned with. If you still have a problem, consider using one of the various household and yard sprays or granular treatments that are available from your veterinarian, pet store, or local garden center. Just be careful when using these products, as they can be harmful to animals, fish, and humans. If you have a severe problem or you are concerned about the proper handling of these chemicals, you might want to consider hiring an exterminator to apply yard and area sprays to control the ticks and fleas.
9. Check your Dog(s) After a romp outside in areas where ticks could be lurking, be sure to carefully check your dog for ticks. Look between the toes, inside the ears, between the legs, and around the neck, deep in the fur. If you find any ticks before they have had a chance to attach and become engorged, you may have prevented serious illness for your pet. If you do find a tick attached to your dog, removal should be done immediately and carefully, making sure to get all parts of the tick's body removed from the skin.
10. Keep Dog(s) Indoors While you do have to take your dog outside a few times a day, it is probably not a good idea to allow him to stay outside for extended periods during the height of tick season. Preventing your dog from roaming through wooded areas where ticks are likely to be lying in wait is a very effective way of keeping your pet safe from exposure, but you will still have to check your dog over thoroughly, even after short walks through grass and brush. You may still have a few ticks wandering around your yard, but if you keep things tidy and use preventives for when your dog does go out and check your dog over for any rogue ticks that might have attached themselves, your dog should have minimal risk of becoming a meal for ticks this summer.
WAYS TO NATURALLY GET RID OF FLEAS & TICKS
WASHES, SPRAYS, DIPS AND RUBS
11. Essential Oils Flea Spray Some essential oils make for excellent flea remedies for dogs. Citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary will all naturally repel fleas. If your dog does not mind a spray bottle, dilute a few drops of your chosen essential oil into a 300ml-400ml of water and spray directly onto your dog's coat. It's important to know that a number of essential oils, like tea tree oil, can be very toxic to pets unless it is diluted appropriately (.1%-1%). Do not apply a homemade essential oil solution to your pet until you have confirmed its safety at an authoritative source like petmd.com and spoken with your vet.
12. Apple Cider Vinegar and Salt Flea Spray The beauty of apple cider vinegar is that it is a way to treat fleas on dogs naturally by balancing a dog's pH levels, creating an environment that is optimal for your dog's health yet unsustainable for fleas. Dilute six cups of apple cider vinegar with four cups of water, add a dash of sea salt, then spray directly onto your dog's coat. Make sure to avoid your dog's eyes.
13. Lemon Bath This lemon bath is simple to make and will keep your pet smelling fresh and noticeably flea free. Simply dilute half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice into two cups of water, then add a squeeze of your normal pet-friendly soap or shampoo for a natural way of treating fleas in dogs.
14. Lather Bath Any pet-friendly shampoo that produces a lather will naturally kill existing fleas. When choosing flea remedies natural is always the best choice, so select an organic pet shampoo without any added chemicals. Once your dog is sufficiently lathered, leave the shampoo on for just a couple of minutes while it does its work. This is a great way of killing existing fleas before moving on to flea prevention remedies.
15. Rosemary Dip If your dog enjoys playing in water, this Rosemary dip will seem like a fun game rather than a flea remedy. Steep fresh rosemary leaves in boiling water, then strain the mixture and dilute it well in warm water. When the water reaches a comfortable temperature, pour the mixture over your dog and let it dry naturally.
16. Multi-Purpose Neem Oil Neem oil is a natural insect repellent and one of the lesser-known flea treatments. If you are able to obtain this oil, native to Burma, Sri Lanka, and parts of India, you can apply it directly to your dog's coat, add it to your normal natural dog shampoo, or dilute it well to make your own flea spray.
17. Organic Soaps By swapping out your usual dog shampoo for organic soaps such as organic peppermint soap or organic Rose soap, you can wash your dog as normal and get a flea-free and great smelling dog at the end of it.
18. Aromatherapy Spray If you are familiar with aromatherapy, you can make up a batch of aromatherapy that will not only treat a flea infestation but also prevent future occurrences, whilst acting as a natural soother for your dog. Try sweet almond oil as the base oil, and add drops of Atlas cedar oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, geranium oil, bay laurel oil, common myrrh oil, and lavender oil.
19. Coconut Oil Rub Is there anything that coconut oil can't do? Coconut oil can help in a number of ways when treating fleas. Rubbing a teaspoon of coconut oil directly into your dog's coat will not only repel fleas but will make the coat shiny and reduce body odor. If added to your dog's normal food, coconut oil can even help treat intestinal parasites due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
20. Lavender or Cedar Oil Flea Collar A home-made flea collar is an ingenious way of keeping your dog's flea protection constant without having to spray or rub them with the mixture. Either purchase or make a simple collar or bandanna, then dilute a few drops of lavender oil or cedar oil in water and apply it directly to the collar or bandanna.
21. Vodka Flea Collar Who knew that vodka was an effective way of treating fleas in dogs? Buy or make a simple dog collar, then soak it in a teaspoon of unflavoured vodka and let dry. You could also add a few drops of your essential oil of choice to make a scented collar, otherwise just using the vodka alone is a good alternative for dogs who do not like the scent of essential oils.
COMBS AND SACHETS
22. Lemon Comb Lemon is widely recognized for its abilities to both repel and kill fleas while being completely harmless to dogs and humans. Simply dip your dog's regular comb or brush into fresh lemon juice and apply it to their hair as normal. For a short-haired breed, a cloth dipped in lemon juice will give the same benefit.
23. Flea Comb If you already have a store-bought flea comb, this is one way of treating fleas that we would recommend, and it does not require any additional purchases. Flea combs do not contain any chemicals but are specially designed to remove fleas and their eggs from your dog's coat. If your dog is already infested with fleas, this is a great way of removing existing fleas before using other flea home remedies for dogs to keep future infestations away.
24. Flea Sachet If your dog does not like being sprayed or having products applied directly to their coat, this flea sashay is easy to make and will provide the same benefits. Buy or make a small bag of breathable fabric such as hessian or muslin, then fill the bag with lemon peel, dried lavender buds, and cedar chips. Tie up the top of the bag and place it near your dog's sleeping area. The mixture may lose its potency after about a month, at which time you can simply reopen the bag and replace with fresh ingredients.
FOOD AND DRINK
25. Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar Drink To combat and prevent fleas from the inside out, try dilating vinegar or apple cider vinegar in your dog's drinking water. You will need to test them first to make sure they enjoy the taste as you do not want to put them off drinking their water altogether. One teaspoon of your vinegar of choice for every four cups of drinking water is a good ratio to aim for. Not only will you keep fleas at bay, but your dog's coat and skin will also see the benefits to.
26. Brewer's Yeast Perhaps the least obvious way to treat fleas on dogs naturally is to start from the inside out. It remains true that healthy dogs are less likely to host fleas, and one way of improving the health of your dog while warding off fleas is to add a small amount of brewer's yeast to your dog's food. Just a half teaspoon of brewer’s yeast mixed in with your dog's normal meal makes for an effective flea remedy.
FLEAS IN THE HOUSE
When there are fleas on your dog and you let your dog inside, what do you have? Fleas in the house, of course. If you are wondering how to get rid of fleas on dog bedding and other items your dog has access to in your house, read on for plenty of ways of eliminating fleas at home.
27. Machine Wash When you have got fleas in the house, the first step is to gather up all soft furnishings your dog spends any time on, including blankets, towels, beds, pillows, and mats, and put everything through the washing machine. It is a big task, but it is an essential one to combat your existing flea problem.
28. Tumble Dry Washing your soft furnishings is important, but putting everything in the tumble dryer will be even more effective. Just 15 minutes in a hot tumble dryer will kill fleas in all stages of growth, including eggs, larvae, and adult fleas.
29. Vacuum Your vacuum cleaner is going to be your biggest ally when it comes to treating fleas at home. A water-based vacuum cleaning system is ideal, as the fleas are drowned as soon as they are picked up by the vacuum cleaner. For dry vacuum cleaners, remember that the fleas you collected will try to escape as soon as you open up the canister or bag, so do this immediately and outside your home. Ideally, spray your vacuum cleaner canister with water as soon as you open it to prevent fleas from escaping.
30. Baking Soda By sprinkling baking soda directly onto your carpet and then penetrating and disturbing the carpet fibers by sweeping side to side with a broom, you will dehydrate fleas and their eggs. Leave the baking soda on your carpet overnight, then you can simply vacuum up the baking soda and the fleas in the morning.
31. Salt Just like the baking soda method above, sprinkling salt on your carpet and soft furnishings before vacuuming the next day will dehydrate and kill fleas and flea eggs. An excellent flea treatment, salt still needs to be used with caution as it can cause your vacuum cleaner to rust if not properly cleaned out after you have finished vacuuming.
32. Lemon Spray Lemon spray is a brilliant way of treating fleas that doesn’t require vacuuming afterward. Boil a thinly sliced lemon in water and then let the mixture cool down overnight. In the morning, fill a spray bottle with the mixture and lightly dampen your carpet and all soft furnishings in your home.
33. Steam Clean Steam cleaning your carpets and soft furnishings drowns fleas on impact and will also keep your home looking and smelling great.
34. Diatomaceous Earth Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder created - strangely enough, from the microscopic remains of algae. We will admit it sounds strange, but an incredibly effective way to treat fleas naturally is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth on your carpet and let it sit there for 48 hours. Ideally, block off the area so no one - especially your dog can walk over it during this time. Afterward, vacuum the carpet thoroughly. Diatomaceous earth is an effective way of drying out and killing flea eggs, to prevent another round of infestation.
35. Flea Trap If you are wondering how to get rid of fleas inside your home, this flea trap is an ingenious idea that does not involve spraying anything on your soft furnishings. Simply fill a plate or bowl with warm water and add a few drops of your usual dish soap, then leave it on the floor overnight. The high viscosity of the mixture acts as a glue, trapping fleas onto the surface. In the morning, simply empty out the mixture and wash your plate or bowl well.
36. Rosemary Prevention If you have a pestle and mortar handy, you can mix up a batch of Rosemary powder to prevent a future flea infestation. Add your choice of other ingredients including peppermint, wormwood, fennel, and rue to make a fine powder to sprinkle throughout your home.
FLEAS IN THE YARD
Just because you can not see them does not mean they are not there. If your dog has a case of the fleas, there is a very good chance they are lurking in the darkest, moistest areas of your backyard too. When it comes to outdoor flea remedies natural methods are always the best, and here are our top tips for treating fleas in the backyard.
37. Keep your Garden Bare Fleas love to hide, so the barer your garden is, the less likely it will be they will choose your garden to hide in. Trim or remove overgrown bushes and hedges, and keep your garden weed free.
38. Beware of the Damp Fleas thrive in damp, dark places, and they will avoid sunlight as much as possible. Examine your garden through the eyes of a flea and ask yourself where they'd be most likely to hide. With this in mind, remove twigs, dead leaves, and excess mulch from under bushes. Allow the sunlight to access your backyard as much as possible and avoid overwatering.
39. The Good Kind of Worms No one likes the idea of worms running rampant in their garden unless we are talking about a certain type of nematodes - Steinerma Carpocapsea to be exact. These tiny worms eat fleas while being completely safe for your dog and your garden.
40. Flea Repelling Plants An excellent way to treat fleas naturally is to plant certain plants that naturally repel fleas. Spearmint, chrysanthemums, lavender, and Penny Royal are natural flea repellents for your garden, and there are plenty of others. You may need to do some research to discover which plants will grow well in your area before heading to your local plant nursery.
A NOTE ON ESSENTIAL OILS
You may have noticed a large number of essential oils mentioned in the various flea home remedies for dogs in this article. When it comes to flea remedies natural essential oils can be incredibly effective, and there are a number of different scents you can use. The choice will ultimately come down to the essential oils available to you, and your personal preferences. Since dogs have such sensitive noses, we recommend first testing a very small amount of an essential oil near your dog to see how they react. Just like humans, dogs will have some scents that they enjoy more than others and some that they find almost repulsive. In your quest to treat fleas naturally, you should also keep in mind your dog's preferences and avoid spraying all over their bedding with an essential oil they can't stand. Just imagine having to sleep every night with your head on a pillow scented with your least favorite scent, and you will understand the importance of letting your dog have a say in the scents and ingredients you choose.
4 REMEDIES TO DIAGNOSE ITCHY DOG SKIN This information proudly presented by WWW.WIKIHOW.COM
Winter weather can be harsh on your dog's skin, especially if he's a senior. As dogs age, their oil-secreting glands slow down, making them prone to dry skin. The cold winter air and dry indoor heat only aggravate the condition, causing itching and flaking that may lead to constant scratching, biting or licking. Dry winter skin is a problem for many dogs but it doesn't have to be. With a little help from you, your pooch can have a healthy coat and a scratch-free winter.
To help your pet survive the winter with a healthy skin and coat, follow these suggestions:
Use a room humidifier. The air in most houses becomes dry during the colder months, which depletes moisture from your dog's skin and fur. A humidifier adds needed moisture to the air.
Keep baths to a minimum. Bathing removes essential oils from the skin and can increase the chance of developing flaky skin. When you bathe your senior dog, use a moisturizing shampoo from the pet store. Human soaps and shampoos are formulated for human skin pH and may cause dry, irritated, itchy skin. Dry him with thick towels before taking him outdoors. A blow drier at this age can be harsh on dry skin. Consult with your vet about the recommended number of baths per month for your dog.
Brush your dog regularly. Brushing improves skin, coat and circulation. Plus, clean fur lofts and holds warmth in much the same way that layering clothes does.
Never shave your dog down to the skin. It's fine to give your dog a trim, but for added warmth, be sure to leave his coat a little longer in the winter.
Give your dog fatty-acid supplements. Older dogs may no longer produce enough of the fatty acids needed to keep their skin and coat healthy. Start the supplements several weeks before cold weather sets in to provide the cells of the skin with necessary nutrients.
Buy him a coat. Senior dogs need extra protection from winter weather. Unless your dog has his own thick fur, put a warm sweater or coat and booties on your dog when he goes out on very cold days.
With skin less than half the thickness of our own, it's no wonder that our pets are prone to dermatological problems for every reason under the sun. Typically, veterinarians classify these skin problems into 6 main categories.
Skin infections are a common and frustrating problem for both dogs and their owners. Infections come in a variety of forms. They can be caused by bacteria or fungal organisms like yeast. Some infections affect only the superficial layers of skin, others spread to deeper tissues as well. If you suspect that your dog has a skin infection but it is limited to a small portion of his body and he acts like he feels fine, you can try treating it at home before calling your veterinarian. Most infections are caused by an overgrowth of the normal microorganisms that are present on a dog's skin. Anything that disrupts the balance between the skin's protective measures and its resident bacterial and fungal populations can produce a skin infection.
Possible underlying problems include: Allergies Hormonal imbalances (e.g., hypothyroidism or diabetes mellitus) External parasites Skin trauma Matting Immunosuppression Acute, chronic or recurring diarrhea Soft, light-colored, greasy stool with particularly foul smell Stomach ulcers Bloody stool Kidney problems Drainage of blood or pus Scabs Swellings, lumps or skin discoloration Rubbing face against furniture or carpeting Dehydration and/or weight loss (caused by excessive diarrhea or vomiting)
Signs of a Skin Infection If the infection involves the skin's deeper layers or spreads elsewhere in the body, a dog may lose his appetite, become lethargic, develop a fever, be in pain, and have open wounds that drain pus. The symptoms typically associated with a skin infection are:
Itchiness Hair loss Red, oozing sores commonly called "hot spots" Pus-filled "pimples" Firm, raised spots in the skin Red, inflamed skin Skin darkening Flakiness
Skin irritations and skin problems in dogs are best dealt with holistically - using a combination of conventional and alternative natural remedies, we address the skin problems by alleviating the symptoms such as itchiness and inflammation, strengthening the immune system, and eliminating the underlying root cause. Canine skin conditions can be a challenge. For the best results a comprehensive external and internal approach is recommended, including the use of homeopathics.
A Dog's Skin Condition and His Health Chihuahua There are many different things that can cause itchiness and skin irritations in dogs. Poor dog skin conditions can cause a great deal of discomfort and stress to our dog. It is important therefore that we do everything we can to eliminate the factors that may cause our dog skin irritations. Just like our skin, a dog's skin has great responsibilities: it protects the body from outside toxins, germs, hazards, etc., and it also helps eliminate wastes and toxins from inside the body. Many holistic veterinarians stress the importance of caring for the skin from the "inside" as well as the "outside". If a dog is healthy, has a strong and balanced immune system, he is less prone to develop skin irritations.
According to homeopathic theory, diseases always manifest themselves from the outside first. Simply put, if there is something wrong with a dog (or other animals for that matter), usually we will first notice something wrong with his skin. For example, he will develop itchy skin, or suffer from hair loss, or his coat will become dull or dry. It follows therefore that if we want our dog to have a nice coat, we have to make sure that his "inside" is nice and healthy as well. Another implication to this theory is that, when our dog develops skin problems, we should not use drugs to just suppress the local skin symptoms. For example, if your dog has itchy skin, do not just use medications such as antihistamines or steroids to stop the itch. For by so doing, we are overlooking the "big picture" - we are not dealing with the truly dangerous underlying chronic health problem that is festering inside. Even if the localized dog skin irritations can be stopped temporarily, most certainly the problem will re-surface in the future, usually in a more nasty way.
Diet & Causes Diet is the single most important factor to ensure that your dog's skin is healthy. Holistic veterinarians suggest feeding our dogs natural, nutritious, preferably home-made diets. Most recommend a raw diet, but if that is not possible, a home-cooked diet is better than store-bought kibbles or canned food. In addition, dietary supplements, such as fatty acids and probiotics, are essential in keeping our dogs' skin healthy.It is important that your dog has a good diet so introduce raw foods like carrots, zucchini and raw meat (beef is a good option). Chemicals in their food and/or in the external environment can often create problems for dogs. Also be aware of the use of chemical sprays like carpet cleaner, air freshener etc. It's also important to consider the possibility of fleas, which most dogs often have. Shampooing with a low allergen, fragrant free shampoo is a useful treatment here. This should always be the first step.
Allow our dogs to live stress-free This is one aspect that many people tend to overlook. Stressed dogs are prone to develop skin irritations and problems. The bad news is, dogs are very sensitive to the emotional feelings around them. They can sense our feelings and they empathize with us. If we feel stressed, they feel stressed. If we are sad, they look and feel sad! If there is tension and hostile feeling in the room, they can pick that up too! Also, loneliness, boredom, and lack of exercise will also cause stress to our dogs. The bottom line? Lead a stress-free life ourselves and our dogs will be stress-free too!
Avoid using chemicals on dogs and their living environments As much as possible, eliminate dog products that may contain harmful substances and chemicals. For example, some flea collars or dips have been proven to contain toxic chemicals that are not safe for dogs, people and the environment. Stop using them. Fleas and other parasites can be controlled in other safer and environmentally-friendly ways. Similarly, avoid using pesticides, weed-killers, etc. in places where your dog frequently "hangs out". Even household products such as carpet cleaners, certain detergents, air fresheners, etc. can contain toxins that are harmful to dogs and cause skin irritations. Use products with natural ingredients if possible.
External Treatment If remedial actions like shampooing don't improve your dog's skin condition then your next option is to externally apply cold (refrigerated) Aloe Vera juice on to red skin areas with a cotton ball. This is really soothing and helps reduce itching. Once this has dried, apply Weleda Comp. Cream for eczema. Aloe Vera can also be administered internally to the dog.
Internal Treatment Internally, we'd recommend Wheatgrass powder to support the immune system and help with the elimination of toxins. Evening Primrose Oil is also recommended as an omega 6 nutrient that is specifically helpful in the healing of skin disorders.
Homeopathic Treatment Thuja would be the best homeopathic remedy to start with due to its specific actions on the skin. Sulphur may also help but should be given once the skin has moved beyond the current state and begun healing. Sulphur is effective as it feeds connective tissue, helping restore the damaged skin. Both remedies can be administered internally in a 30c potency.
Use herbs as dietary supplements Certain herbs are very effective in activating specific organ systems, or balancing the immune system. Feed herbs to our dogs regularly can make them stronger and more resistant to diseases. As a result, they will have a healthy, shiny and soft coat that makes you proud! Enchinacea is effective in balancing the immune system. You can feed a tincture of the herb to your dog as a supplement. A low-dose, on/off cycle is recommended. (For example, 3 weeks on / 1 week off). Culinary herbs such as oregano, thyme, cayenne, turmeric, and cumin are very good herbs that can keep your dog's organ systems healthy. Simply sprinkle the dried herbs on your dog's food and let them do the job! Sea vegetables (such as kelp) and micro-algae (such as spirulina) are rich in trace minerals and vitamins that are beneficial to the skin. Here is a simple herbal mix you can make for your dog to improve his/her skin and coat: Mix equal parts of powdered kelp and spirulina with the powder form of these dried herbs: nettle, alfalfa, calendula and dandelion root. Add this mixture to your dog's food (1/2 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight per day) for about 2 weeks, then reduce the amount to a maintenance dose of 1/2 teaspoon per 25 pounds every other day.
Use herbs for detoxification Just like us, dogs have to be "detoxed" as well. A very good and safe herb that can be used for detoxification is burdock root. It helps remove toxins from the body, and it also counteracts dry skin. Dried burdock root can be sprinkled on your dog's food for this purpose. Also see this page for more ways to detoxify your dog.
Brush your dog daily. The natural oils on a dog's skin are distributed by brushing. These oils keep your dog's skin and coat healthy and shiny. To better stimulate the skin's oil production without irritating the skin, use a brush with rubber bristles or a grooming glove.
Inspect skin frequently. Check your dog's skin for anything out of the ordinary, such as lumps, discolored areas, sores, or painful spots. See a veterinarian if you find anything unusual.
Choose the proper shampoo. There are many varieties of shampoo made specifically for dogs. If your dog has dry skin and flakiness, choose a moisturizing or sensitive skin shampoo. Also available for dry skin and associated itching are medicated shampoos with oatmeal, papaya or aloe. Use an antiseptic shampoo for inflamed skin to relieve excessive itching and prevent infection. There are also flea and tick shampoos, shed control shampoos and, if your dog is fearful of water, waterless shampoos. For certain skin conditions, a veterinarian will provide a prescription shampoo.
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Itchy skin or incessant scratching problems can be annoying both for dogs and their owners. If these problems are not treated or prevented from reoccurring, dogs may scratch so much that the skin gets broken causing open sores and serious infections. The first step is to identify the cause of the problem. While many dog owners assume that is it caused by fleas, lice, parasites or various allergies, there are many other causes including diet and general boredom. Obviously, knowing the cause, is the key to providing treatment, and implementing prevention strategies. This article shows you how to identify the cause and provides tips and home remedies for finding relief for your dog. If the scratching is very severe, or there are signs of infection it is time to take your dog to the vet.
Causes of Itching and Scratching in Dogs
Parasites - One of the commonest, and easily treated, causes of dogs scratching with itchy skin is infection by parasites. Fleas, lice, ticks and rarely, other parasites bite the dog's skin and cause irritation. Often the dog may develop an allergy or similar reaction to the parasites, or sometimes to the treatment. Ear mites can also cause itching and scratching around the ears and head. Examine the dog carefully and look for any signs of parasites.
Remedy - There are a variety treatments for fleas, lice and other parasites that your vet can recommend. Getting rid of fleas requires treatment of the dog's bedding. You may also have to treat the upholstered furniture and carpet in your house regularly, because fleas breed in these areas. Regular treatment is necessary, due to the high risk that your dog will pick up fleas and parasites from other dogs, causing re-infestation. Regular washes with a flea control shampoo or a natural remedy such as apple cider vinegar, or tea tree oil sprayed onto the skin may keep fleas under control.
Home Remedies and Tips to Stop Dogs Itching and Scratching Don't use hot or warm water when washing your dog.
Use a shampoo, which includes oatmeal to treat areas of itchy skin. Otherwise make an oatmeal paste, and directly apply it on the irritated areas of skin. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wash it off.
Apple cider vinegar is a good home remedy. It can be used as a spray or added to the rinse water after a shampoo. Dilute the vinegar with water to make a diluted spray solution if the skin is damaged.
Other home remedies of itchy skin are chamomile, baking soda, Emu oil, milk of magnesia, green tea and Epsom salts. These remedies work well for many dogs.
Fish oils and Olive oil, which are rich in fatty acids, can be added to food.
Here are some ways to help improve your dog's dry skin.
When your dog needs a bath, try using plain water, a good, non-drying solvent. If you must use shampoo, use a moisturizing type with humectants, and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner. Avoid blow dryers.
If you have your dog groomed, speak to the groomer about turning down the heat on the blow dryer (it's usually set pretty high).
Feed moist food - canned, cooked, homemade or raw.
Add digestive enzymes to every meal (probiotic bacteria, 2 to 10 billion CFUs/day).
Provide fresh, filtered drinking water.
Add fresh oils and other supplements to meals: Flax seed oil (1/2 tsp. of oil/15 pounds twice daily) or freshly milled flax seeds (1.5 tsp./15 pounds twice daily)
EPA/DHA from fish oil or algae (5 to 20 mg of EPA/pound of body weight/day)
Lecithin granules (1/4 tsp. to 1 Tbs. per meal)
Nutritional yeast (1/2 to 1 tsp. per meal) or hypoallergenic B complex (10 to 50 mg twice daily)
Kelp powder (1/4 to 1 tsp. per meal daily)
Spirulina (500 to 1,000 mg twice daily with meals)
Alfalfa, nettles or horsetail (dried or powdered, 1/4 to 1 tsp. of individual herb or a mixture)
Does your dog have itchy skin? Recurrent hot spots or gunky ears? Does she lick and chew at her feet? - All this doesn't necessarily mean she has allergies.
Yeast: The Allergy Imitator Not all skin issues are caused by allergies and in many cases, the cause of your dog's itchy skin can be found in her gut. Yeast is a form of fungus and is found in all dogs (and people) as a normal part of their flora. Yeast lives on your dog's skin and inside her gut, where it normally lives with other healthy flora, as part of the balanced immune system. But when the immune system is stressed, yeast can begin to over populate the gut. You dog's skin is the largest organ in her body, and when yeast populations grow out of control in the gut, the body will attempt to rid itself of this fungus and this is when you will start to see the effects in your pet. This is called a yeast infection.
How To Tell The Difference Between Yeast Infections And Allergies There are a few telltale signs that will help you figure out where your dog's problems are coming from. Here is a list of symptoms that are typical of yeast infections:
Chewing or licking the feet, and dark rusty-red hair between the toes. The hair is often red or rusty-colored because of the yeast, not because of the licking.
Scratching the ears, or head shaking. Ear mites also cause intense itching in the ears. Your vet should be able to tell the difference. Make sure he or she actually tests for mites, bacteria and fungus before prescribing meds.
Cyclic manifestation of symptoms (appearing in the spring and "going away" in the fall), which is often confused with “grass allergies” and other spring and summer symptoms.
Hair loss on the tail and upper back.
Speckles (like tiny black dots) on the underbelly or grayish or rust-coloration around the genitals. Regular grooming should reveal this early indicator of yeast.
A foul, funky smell and greasy hair (seborrhea), often accompanied by heavy dandruff. This is an active fungal infection of the hair follicles.
Any black skin, especially if associated with hair loss. The longer your dog's yeast infection goes untreated, the harder it will be to treat, so it's important to look for these early signs.
Treating Your Dog's Yeast Infection Since yeast infections start in the gut, one of the first steps in treating yeast is to look at your dog's diet. In order to grow, yeast needs to eat. And its food of choice is sugar. While you're dog might not be eating candy and drinking soda, she’s likely still feeding the yeast in her gut if her food contains any type of starch or carbohydrate. Carbohydrates (found in corn, potatoes, rice, peas, sweet potatoes, oats and other starchy foods), are complex chains made up of sugars. When they're eaten by your dog, her body converts them into sugars and this feeds her yeast. Try this experiment at home. Take a slice of bread, which is made of carbohydrates), bite off a piece and hold it in your mouth for a half a minute. You'll notice that it starts to taste sweet. That's because the amylase in your saliva is breaking that starch down into sugar. The same thing happens in your dog's gut and that sugar feeds her yeast. In the wild, the foods that your dog's ancestors ate (and the foods that our ancestors ate), contained about 4% starch. Most commercial pet foods have ten times that amount! Even the grain-free foods (which are usually full of potatoes or sweet potatoes). The solution is to feed your dog a food low in starches.
Fighting Yeast On The Surface Apple cider vinegar is a great solution for yeast, especially for dogs who love the water (because yeast loves water and moist, damp skin). Fill a squeeze bottle (the kind with a long pointy end like ketchup bottles at a diner) with Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar. Stick it in your dog's fur and squeeze. Massage it around and on the belly too. This will help restore your dog's healthy pH levels and discourage yeast. Then, once a week, or more if needed, massage yeasty areas with this coconut oil mixture: Let extra virgin coconut oil melt in a small glass bottle (about 8 ounces of it). Add 10 drops of lavender oil and 2 drops of lemon essential oil. Shake to mix and massage it into your dog's skin. This coconut oil mix will last several months. Store it in a dark place. This recipe is from Rita Hogan of Farm Dog
What is Mange? An infestation of parasites on the skin of Fido or Fifi is to blame for the condition of mange. A tiny parasite called a mite is responsible for literally feasting upon your pet, as the term comes from the word mangier, which translates into "to eat." Most commonly found in dogs and other canine species, mange can also occur in other domestic and wild animals, like cats. When it comes to annoying pet pests, mites are sometimes compared to fleas. However, they are much different. A flea resides on the outer surface of your pet's skin, where they bite and drink the blood of their victims. Mange mites actually dig into the skin and live beneath the surface, where they drink blood and in the process cause nasty allergic reactions. Mange comes in different forms with Demodectic mange (red mange) the most common condition seen in dogs and Notoedric mange most often attacking cats.
Symptoms of Mange With excessive scratching, weight loss, dehydration, and a decreased desire to eat, animals also show the symptoms of mange on their face, ears, head, and neck. Brown marks appear on or around the nose. The ears sometimes become crusty with signs of discharge. Crusty patches emerge on the head and neck. The fur becomes thin in such a way that you can see the pink of their skin. The animal's coat often shows the signs of severe hair loss, often with small patches of baldness.
Diagnosis of Mange Veterinarians usually attempt diagnosis with a skin scraping, which is then examined under a microscope for mites. Because they are burrowing creatures, mites are not always present on or near the surface of the skin when the scraping takes place. As a result, diagnosis is often based on symptoms rather than actual confirmation of the presence of mites. This also means that mange is occasionally misdiagnosed as other medical conditions, and vice versa.
Home Remedies for Treating Dog Mange It's important to know that most healthy dogs already have a small community of Demodex mites residing in their coat. However, if the mite population gets out of control, this is when the real trouble begins. In some cases, an allergic reaction can be found in only one part of the body, or the response gradually spreads across the rest of his or her coat. To prevent the spread of mange or treat a mangy pet, consider the following home remedies for dog and cat mange:
a) Hydrogen Peroxide and Borax: One of the best home remedies for treating mange in dogs is to create a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution with water and Borax. Make sure that the mixture thoroughly dissolves. Once a week, wash your dog in a solution comprised of 1 to 2 tablespoons of borax for every 500 cc of 1% hydrogen peroxide. Refrain from wiping the dog dry. Simply allow the treatment to take effect. Do not exceed a treatment period of two months.
b) Brush Out the Fur: Treat a mangy coat by brushing out the fur on a regular basis, which helps remove scaly skin and scabs.
c) Yogurt: Choose a plain yogurt that contains acidophilus to heal the inside of ears that has been plagued with mange. Two tablespoons should do the trick.
d) Apple Cider Vinegar: Add one tablespoon of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to your pet's meal to treat mange symptoms.
e) Cooking Oil: Apply a couple drops of cooking oil directly to mangy skin patches to combat the irritation caused by mites. Cooking oil can also soften the waxy deposits that appear on the surface of your dog's skin, which have been left behind by mites. The oil will also kill mites at the same time.
f) Lemon: Slice one lemon with the peel still left on. Boil water in the same manner as you would if you were preparing a cup of tea. Drop the lemon slices into the water and allow to steep overnight. In the morning, apply the mixture to your pet's coat using a sponge.
g) Soapy Water: Apply a couple of drops of warm water with soap to eliminate mites found on the skin of your dog. This approach can also help stop the spread of mange to other body parts.
h) Routine Bathing: Heal scaly skin and scabs by giving your pet a regular bath.
i) Treat Bedding: If your pet is under attack by mange mites, it is important to thoroughly wash his or her bedding, and treat other places where they sleep.
j) Honey: Apply local (and not store-brand) honey to reddened skin.
What makes it so hard for vets to diagnose and treat dogs with skin conditions is that almost every health related issue, whether it be fleas or a more complicated illness such as a thyroid problem, will first appear as symptoms through the dog's skin. For many dog skin disorders, bloodwork may be necessary to rule out any serious health concerns. The vet will want to know how the dog is reacting both physically and emotionally. It's important for the dog owner to let the doctor know of any odd behavior on behalf of their pet. Having rescued dogs for over thirty years, we've certainly seen our share of skin related problems. We have also seen the benefits to the skin when you feed a high quality diet coupled with a few good supplements, eliminate chemical flea treatments and use natural methods to care for dogs. Keep in mind that diet, supplements and hygiene are the NATURAL METHODS for treating Dermatitis of any kind.
Dermatitis - The 6 Types Vets Look At To Determine What's Causing the Reaction Almost all skin related issues in dogs are impacted by diet. Even fleas! You're probably wondering how diet effects fleas? When dogs are at their best with a strong immune system, fleas simply won't bother. Diet is the first plan of attack in strengthening the immune system. A premium food and solid nutrition is the base to healthy skin.
Dog Skin Disorders and Canine Dermatitis
1. Environmental Plastics are believed to be a cause of Environmental Dermatitis. So always feed your dog from a glass, ceramic or metal bowl and NEVER PLASTIC. Some dogs can be sensitive to the trees, grass, flowers and weeds right around your home. Vets will look and compare the skin problem and environmental factors. Our article on Determining The Source of Skin Related Dog Problems provides great detail on environmental allergies in dogs and what may help.
2. Nutritional Even today with all the information available, many dog owners still don't completely understand the importance of AVOIDING cheap brands of dog food all together. On the other hand, some dog owners often believe that they ARE feeding a good food based upon commercials and other marketing gimics that big companies use. A dog's entire system including his skin and coat are in constant distress when nutritional needs aren't met. Spend the money on a healthy, natural brand of dog food. AND, NEVER base the food you feed on a commercial you saw on t.v. or because the front of the bag says it's good and nutritious. Understand what your dog needs nutritionally to thrive well into his senior years. Know the difference between thriving and existing. Nutritional Dermatitis is corrected when the dog is fed the right food with a high quality protein and limited grains if any at all. Nutritional needs also include feeding supplements such as fatty acids, digestive enzymes and probiotics.
3. Parasitic Dermatitis Fleas fall under Parasitic Dermatitis and are the cause for many allergic reactions in dogs. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you eliminate chemical flea spot treatments and any other chemical laced flea product and start using a natural approach to fleas like we do to keep your senior dog free from parasites.
4. Infectious Dog skin disorders including Bacterial, Fungal and Yeast Infections:
Bacterial - Bacterial Dermatitis often just appears out of no where. Antibiotics can trigger a bacterial infection. A lesion that is moist, inflammed and sticky with hair loss is typical of Infectious Dermatitis. It can quickly spread when the dog chews, licks and scratches other parts of the body. Traditional vets will typically prescribe antihistimines, antibiotics and topical medications.
Fungal, AKA Dermatophyte organisms (Ring Worm). Yeast, Skin with existing and ongoing problems is susceptible to a yeast infection. The skin reacts to waste from the organism by releasing histamine. This is released during an allergic reaction. Unfortunately histamine causes additional inflammation and just adds to the problem. Yeast infections usually indicate that there is a bigger underlying issue. Veterinarians will check for a fatty acid deficiency, a thyroid problem or over use of cortisone medication.
A HIGH END MEATY DIET, SUPPLEMENTS (fatty acids, probiotics, digestive enzymes) AND CLEANLINESS (bathing frequently) ARE KEY WITH FOR DOGS WITH YEAST PROBLEMS.
Because yeast is a type of fungus, your pet will require an antifungal treatment. Cats and dogs both develop yeast infections in their ears, and while these infections can be easy to spot because of excessive scratching or head shaking, it isn't always as simple as treating a yeast infection. The cause of the infection could be anything from allergies to a ruptured ear drum. Once you've identified the source of the infection you'll be able to help your furry friend avoid future occurrences. Make sure you thoroughly dry your pet after a bath, a day in the mud or a swim in the lake. If the day is especially humid, consider towel drying the moisture from their fur.
5. Allergic Dog skin disorders caused by Allergic Dermatitis are a Veterinarian's worst nightmare. Just like with people, trying to figure out what's causing the pink skin and allergies can be difficult. Flea bites, food or an ingredient within the food, grass and pollen or dustmites; the list is endless. Should you want definite results of what your dog's sensitivities are, then skin and blood tests will be needed. Atopic Dermatitis in dogs is diagnosed more often than others and is extremely frustrating for both dogs and owners. Chewing at the paws, licking, stratching at the face, head and ears are all common signs of Allergic Dermatitis. Traditional treatment includes Antihistimines, medicated sprays/baths and Cortisone are common methods of treating Atopic Dermatitis in dogs. Natural approach includes diet, fatty acids, probiotics and digestive enzymes. The dog must be kept clean!
6. Neurogenic Dog skin disorders that are neurogenic in nature are due to the dog actually causing the skin trauma himself by excessive licking. Symptoms appear RAPIDLY and spread just as QUICKLY as well. Lick Dermatitis, lick granuloma and canine neurodermatitis are conditions caused by a dog's excessive licking on a specific area until raw. Causes include separation anxiety, boredom, frustration due to lack of exercise or confinement. This continuous behavior often causes a bacterial infection. Traditional treatment for this condition usually includes a combination of exercise and anti-anxiety medication. Clomipramine and Amitriptyline are the most common prescription medications dog skin disorders involving anxiety issues. Natural/Homeopathic remedies include Accupuncture which we've used many times for many other issues and it works wonders.
Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is second only to flea allergies as the most common cause of itching in dogs. While new preventative products have made controlling flea infestations relatively easy for owners, the same cannot always be said about the management of atopic dermatitis. To deal with this frustrating condition, owners first need to understand the terminology surrounding it.
Atopy n. a genetic tendency toward allergic reactions that often cause itchy skin
Dermatitis n. inflammation of the skin
Allergy n. an abnormal reaction of the body's immune system to substances that often do not incite a similar reaction in other individuals
Therefore, atopic dermatitis is inflammation of the skin that is caused by a genetic tendency toward abnormal immune reactions. In AD, the triggers for these reactions are often compounds associated with pollens, molds, insects, mites, and the dander of other animals that are absorbed through the skin. Once inside the body, the immune system of an allergic dog reacts with a cascade of antibodies, white blood cells, and other physiologic reactions that result in skin inflammation and itching.
Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms Most dogs suffering from allergies develop some combination of the following clinical signs:
Loss of fur
Small pus filled or solid bumps in the skin Sores that might ooze
Recurrent skin and ear infections
Typically, symptoms first develop when a dog is between six months and three years of age and are focused around the face, ears, paws, lower legs, armpits, or belly, but this is not true for every dog that is diagnosed with atopic dermatitis.
Skin tags are benign lumps of skin that often appear on older dogs of any breed. They can appear anywhere on a dog's body but are often found on areas like the knees, the sides of the loin, the armpits, and the sides of the forelegs. The skin tags themselves are harmless, but they can be unsightly and may get caught on something that could injure the dog and cause infection. Keep in mind that there is a slight risk of complications, and while you can attempt removal at home, the better option is to leave the skin tag alone or speak to your vet.
1. Identify the skin tag. Skin tags in dogs can be confused easily with warts, which are more dangerous because they can grow into malignant tumors. Unlike warts, though, skin tags have a narrow stalk that is attached loosely to the skin. They may be flat or teardrop-shaped and can move or dangle, and they have the same color as the dog's skin.
2. Clean the area around the skin tag. If there is hair around the skin tag, clip it. Clean up any stray hairs that remain after clipping. This will help you ensure that the area is clean.
3. Disinfect the area. Disinfect the area around the skin tag with 70% isopropyl alcohol or 10% povidone-iodine. Soak a cotton ball with at least 5 milliliters (a spoonful) of either substance, then swipe the tag itself and the area around it.
4. Have someone else hold and calm the dog. You need the dog to be still so that you can cut carefully. Enlist someone else to help you that the dog likes, so that the person can effectively keep the dog calm.
Prepare a sterilization pan. Sterilize a pair of curved mayo scissors if you are going to cut the skin tag. Sterilize a piece of string or floss if you want to tie off the skin tag instead. You can use any shallow plastic pan, or even a lunch box, for this purpose. Place 250 milliliters of water in the pan, plus 10 milliliters of 10% povidone-iodine. Immerse the scissors in the pan for a full minute to sterilize them. (Using curved scissors is important, as they will help ensure that the skin tag's stalk is cut as close to the skin as possible.)
DETACHING A SKIN TAG
1. Cut the stalk of the skin tag if you want it gone immediately. Using the curved mayo scissors cut the stalk at its base as close to the skin as you can. It will bleed, so be prepared with clean gauze bandages.
2. Tie the skin tag if you can wait a bit for the skin tag to fall off. Using the clean string, thread, or dental floss, tie around the base of the stalk as tightly as possible and as close to the skin as you can. This will be a bit painful at first, but after a few minutes your dog will not feel it anymore. Check the area daily. The tag will swell for approximately three days, then it should begin to shrivel. It should turn dark and fall off within a week.
3. Apply direct pressure to the wound with a gauze bandage. While a veterinarian may cauterize the wound if this procedure was done in a vet's office, most people don't have the ability to do that sterilely at home. Instead, apply direct pressure for a few minutes, until you are relatively sure that bleeding has stopped. This may be even more effective than cauterizing.
4. Cover the area securely. Without removing the first gauze bandage, use another piece of gauze or a bandage to cover the area. It will heal in three to five days, but it's important to keep the dog from licking or playing with the wound.
5. Keep an eye on the wound. Make sure that no infection sets in. If it does, take your dog to the veterinarian to get the infection treated.
6. Use an E-collar around your dog's neck. You may need to put a cone on your dog if it repeatedly tries to lick the wound. Cone shaped E-collars keep your dog from biting or licking the tied tag or the wound.
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Understanding that there are over 160 different skin disorders of dogs, some of which create chronic difficulties, is key in helping your veterinarian solve the issue at hand. As a team, you and the veterinarian should be proactive in defining the problem accurately and in a timely manner. In order to achieve satisfactory results, it will require the doctor's expertise and perseverance coupled with your permission and financial commitment.
Dog skin disorders are probably the most crucial disorders that dog owners have to deal with. The dog's skin and coat is an indicator for its general health. Skin disorders in dogs are indicated by itching, skin rashes, or very dry skin, and fur loss. They can be caused by parasites, allergies, bacterial and fungal infections. Skin disorders can be long-lasting problems requiring persistent treatments by dog owners.
Curable vs. Incurable To simplify a bit, there are just two kinds of skin disorders in dogs: curable and incurable. Veterinarians need to understand what is really happening to and within the skin before appropriate therapeutic strategies can be employed. Since it takes a new, healthy skin cell about four weeks to mature and be present near the skin surface even curable skin diseases may take weeks to resolve. For the incurable cases, controlling an ongoing skin disorder through selected diets, medications, shampoos, sprays, fatty acids and vitamin supplements is the best we can do. Managing a chronic skin disorder presupposes that an exact diagnosis has been established. Making that diagnosis requires certain diagnostic protocols be done so that the doctor has a clear understanding of the pathological processes impacting the patient. A multitude of different causes may very well manifest themselves in very similar appearing visual signs.For example "itchy skin" (pruritus) is not a diagnosis, nor is "allergy." The veterinarian needs to establish what is causing the pruritus and to what the dog is allergic. Diligent detective work has to be done and it's no small task, as evidenced by a recently published veterinary dermatology textbook that lists over 160 skin disorders of dogs! If you ever find yourself in a situation where you leave the veterinary clinic with yet another assortment of medications or skin care products, and the plan of action is "let's try these for a while and we'll see if they help," you need to insist on a more proactive approach to actually obtain a definitive diagnosis. It's time to get busy with whatever testing is needed to find the cause of the dog’s skin troubles. Only then can we recognize the curable from the controllable.
Eczema, Allergies and Atopic Dermatitis Some dogs and some particular breeds of dogs, are susceptible to eczema. Some breeds are also prone to allergies and the related Atopic Dermatitis. Breeds susceptible to Atopic dermatitis include Bulldogs, Boxers, Irish Setters, English Setters, Poodles, Dalmatians, West Highland White Terriers, Wire Fox Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. However any dog may be affected, including hybrids and mixed breeds. Allergies generally have an environmental trigger such as pollen, mold or even some foods and bedding. Dermatitis can also be triggered by pesticides washes or soaps.
Parasites Parasites are the most common source of skin problems and irritation. Due to the scratching and rubbing a dog will do to relieve the itch, many secondary problems may arise. Fleas and ticks are the easiest parasites to see and if not eradicate, at least control. Mites on the other hand are microscopic parasites that a veterinarian will need a microscope to diagnosis. The two most common mites found on dogs are the causes of demodex mange and sarcoptic mange.
Mange is an irritation of the skin, primarily resulting in hair loss and sometimes including itching and inflammation. The mites embed themselves in the hair follicles or skin, depending on the type. Both types of mange can be treated with parasiticidal shampoo, topical or oral medication, or injections, but it takes time and patience for repeated applications, and almost always requires veterinary care.
Demodectic / Demodex Mange Demodectic mange is caused by an overpopulation of Demodex canis, a mite that occurs naturally in the hair follicles of most dogs. In most dogs, these mites never cause problems. However, in certain situations, such as an impaired immune system, intense stress, or malnutrition, the mites can reproduce too rapidly, causing anything from mild irritation and hair loss on a tiny patch of skin to severe inflammation, infection, and in rare cases a life - threatening condition. Small patches of demodicosis often correct themselves over time, although treatment is usually recommended. Minor cases of demodectic mange usually do not cause much itching but might cause pustules on the dog's skin, redness, scaling, hair loss, or any combination of these. It most commonly appears first on the face, around the eyes, or at the corners of the mouth, and on the forelimbs. In the more severe form, which usually develops in dogs who have previously suffered minor cases, hair loss can occur in patches all over the body and might be accompanied by crusting, pain, enlarged lymph nodes, and skin infections.
This variety of mange is not generally contagious - these mites thrive only on very specific hosts (dogs) and transmission usually occurs only from the mother to nursing puppies during the first few days after birth.
Sarcoptic Mange Also known as Canine Scabies, sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious infestation of Sarcoptes scabei canis, a burrowing mite. The canine sarcoptic mite can also infest humans and cats, although usually not severely, as its natural host is dogs. These mites dig into and through the skin, c+ausing intense itching and crusting that can quickly become infected. Hair loss and crusting frequently appears first on elbows and ears. Skin damage can occur from the dog's intense scratching and biting. Affected dogs need to be isolated from other dogs and their bedding, and places they have occupied must be thoroughly cleaned. Shaving is sometimes warranted.
Allergies Allergies are another common cause of skin problems. A dog, like a human, can be allergic to almost anything. Dog allergies are also known as several names, the most common are atopy, allergic skin disease, or allergic inhalant dermatitis. Other common causes of allergies in dogs are pollen, dust, mold, grass, food, shampoos to even carpet cleaners and powder deodorizers. Canine dog skin allergy symptoms include rashes, very itchy skin, scratching constantly, rubbing the face often and/or frequently chewing on their paws Others will have red hot to the touch ears, and/or frequent ear, bacterial and yeast infections may occur. Owners wishing to know the exact causes of their dog's allergies can have their veterinarian do allergy testing. Once the nature of the allergy is determined, the cause can possibly be removed from the dog's every day life. If the allergy is from things that are uncontrollable such as pollen, grass and mold spores, the veterinarian can arrange to have an antigen made up specifically for the dog. This will be administered by injection and will usually show dramatic results.
Other Common Skin Problems:
Flea allergies are seen on a regular basis by veterinarians, this is caused by an allergic reaction to the slavia produced by the flea.
Bacterial Infections Bacterial infections are often a secondary infection to another conditions. A dog that has scratched or rubbed at an area and left opened skin without proper cleansing or antibiotic treatment will often have a bacterial infection set in. The infected area or wound becomes red, swollen, warm to the touch and very painful. This infection can worsen and cause a discharge of pus that will require a veterinarian to treat.
Dry skin: Often scratching can start when the dog's skin is very dry. This can be overcome with the variety of moisturizing shampoos and home remedies such as Emu oil, apple cider vinegar or witch hazel. A variety of factors can also cause dry skin such as cold weather, hot dry winds and diet.
Hot spots are usually seen in dogs that have heavy, dense coats like the Collie, Samoyed, German Shepherd and so on. Hot spots seem to appear overnight and without warning. They worsen quickly as the dog licks and chews at the skin to find relief from the pain caused by the moist, swollen, foul smelling area. Hot Spots can cause incredible amounts of surface damage within 12-48 hours. The initial irritant could be anything that itches from an insect bite, an ear infection, a matted coat, or anal gland irritation, and most commonly a local reaction to fleas and ticks. Treatment includes thorough cleaning, topical and systemic antibiotics, and anti - inflammatory agents.
Pyoderma Pyodermas include a wide range of infections which result in the formation of pus. Pyodermas vary in severity. All areas of a dog's body may be involved, but most cases are confined to the trunk. The chin is one area commonly affected. Called chin acne, this condition is actually a deep bacterial infection. Obese dogs and dogs of the pug-nosed breeds are frequently affected by pyoderma in the skin folds on their face, lips and vulva. Treatment is similar to that for hot spots, but typically is longer term. Shampoos and rinses are also helpful.
Fungal Infections Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes inflammation, scaly patches and hair loss. Ringworm is seen most commonly in young dogs. The fungi live in dead skin tissues, hairs and nails. Hair loss, usually in circular patches, may appear. If infected, the center of the patches may have a dry, crusty appearance. The head and legs are most commonly affected by ringworm, although the disease may spread over other parts of the dog's body if not treated. Dogs may scratch the lesions. Treatment may involve shampoo and creams available from your veterinarian. In severe cases, oral drugs may be prescribed. Ringworm can be passed to other animals and to humans. Infected dogs should be kept away from children and other dogs and cats until the infection is cures which can be as long as 2-3 months or more after the treatment begins. Adults should be careful to wash their hands thoroughly after handling an infected dog. If treated early, ringworm is readily controlled in humans. Other household pets should also be examined for ringworm.
Ringworm Ringworm is a fungus that can affect your dog. The name comes from the circular, red areas that form when your dog is infected. The infected area can be scaly, inflamed, and have hair loss. You can find the spots anywhere, but most often they will be on your dog's forelegs, paws, head, and ears. Ringworm is very contagious to both other dogs and humans. Puppies less than a year old are more likely to develop ringworm than adult dogs. If you think your dog might have ringworm, take it to a vet. There are anti-fungal treatments available that will cure the infection.
Hormone Imbalance Hormones are extraordinarily powerful chemicals. Even tiny amounts can have powerful effects. Pets that produce too much estrogen may lose fur along their flanks and belly, and their remaining fur may feel greasy. High estrogen levels are sometimes caused by ovarian cysts in cats and testicular tumors in male dogs or cats. Conversely, spayed females will occasionally produce too little estrogen. This also causes the fur to get thinner. In addition, the underlying skin may get thin and fragile.
Seborrhea Seborrhea occurs when your dog's skin flakes. If you go to pet the dog, flakes will come up out of its fur. This is noticeable in dogs with have dark coats; it appears to be bad dandruff. This can be a genetic problem if it starts when the dog is young. If the dog is older and then develops seborrhea, it is most likely a symptom of a more serious medical problem. The most common causes are allergies or hormonal imbalances. It is very important to get your dog treatment for the underlying cause so that the symptoms will go away and not come back again. Your vet can help you find and treat the cause of your dog's seborrhea.Dog skin diseases can be harmful to you and your pet. If your dog has a skin disorder, get it to the vet to find out which type of problem is present. If you suspect fleas or allergies, you may be able to deal with the cause yourself. If you want to know for sure, your vet will be able to diagnose the issue and prescribe proper treatment.
Sebaceous Adenitis is a devastating, immune mediated skin disease in dogs. There are several other breeds with SA and some of the symptoms are similar but each breed does seem to have some differences. SA symptoms can be mild or severe, which is why is isn't detected as often as it could if we had a blood test. The most common misdiagnosis is probably allergies. Sometimes the dog will itch but most of the time they don&'t scratch as much as you'd expect with allergies. Some type of coat loss. The hair seems thinner and the owner may notice scaling, which resembles large dandruff flakes. The scaling has been described as silvery or gray and these scales adhere tightly to the skin and base of the hair shaft. The skin may become darkened and appear gray or black and may also thicken (hyperkeratosis) or appear greasy. In addition, the coat color and texture may change. There may be loss of undercoat, an uneven patchy coat loss, or a generalized coat loss. The ears may appear crusty, flaky or frayed. There can be mild scaling and hair loss all the way to prominent scaling and complete hair loss. In general the coat is dull, dry, and/or brittle and the dog may have an odor that is often described as "musty" or "rancid."
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