Wheezing, sneezing, itching & scratching! Even your dog suffers in allergy season. Your dog’s skin is actually more sensitive than your own, so it needs that little extra TLC to protect it from the elements.
Skin and allergy problems are one of the most common reasons for visiting the vet. In fact, as many as 1 in 3 pets that I see in the Vet Clinic are because of allergy related problems. Luckily, there are ways you can help care for your pooch’s sensitive skin.
Canine skin is more vulnerable to seasonal or environmental troubles which may cause your dog to scratch, itch or shed. Constant licking and scratching can damage the skin, leading to exposure to dirt, bacteria and infection. This itch-lick-scratch cycle is a health hazard for your dog.
Here are some easy tips to caring for your dog’s skin, how to break the cycle and prevent skin infections:
1. Head to Tail Check: Knowing what to look for on your dog’s skin is a good way to create a bond between the two of you as well as understand the condition of its skin.
Start with the head and inspect areas that may be vulnerable to allergens, for example the eyes. The eyes must be clear and not red or weepy, which may suggest allergy and possibly infection
Feel the body of your dog and check for any lumps and bumps. Carefully inspect the skin to see if there are any fleas or flea dirt (black flecks on the skin) or if there is a build-up of dirt in any places which needs to be washed out
The paws are a very important place to avoid potential skin issues. Check to see if your dog’s nails are too long, if so, they may cause harm when scratching. Be sure to clip your dog’s nails if they are becoming too long. You may want to see a vet for instruction.
2. Use Sulphate-free shampoo specifically for pets: Sulphates are used in shampoos as foaming agents and cleansers, much like human shampoos, but can be irritating to the skin. Because a dog’s skin is more sensitive to our own, it is best to avoid sulphates, so -.instead, look for a sulphate-free shampoo.
3. Diet: If the skin of your dog becomes dehydrated or depleted of key nutrients, such as essential fatty acids, the protective skin barrier breaks down which can lead to dry, itchy skin and more serious skin complaints. Make sure your pet is receiving a diet rich in omega 3 and 6 oils to support the natural skin oils and moderate skin inflammation. Even better, the omega 3s will act as anti-inflammatories for your dog’s insides as well as their skin.
4. Protect you pets against Fleas: Fleas are the most common parasites that cause skin conditions in Australia. Whilst most commonly only a seasonal pest, they will stick around if not treated properly. Fleas live in the coat of your dog which may cause irritation with reason to scratch. If the fleas are not controlled and your dog is incessantly scratching the skin will become irritated and may even become infected. So use an effective flea treatment spot on as recommended by your vet. It’s also important to wash your dog and check for any skin irritations that may be a result of allergens or irritants such as fleas. If infection has occurred look for a sulphate free, gently medicated shampoo.
5. Effective Cleaning of their Environment: If your pet has allergies, just washing your dog is not enough. You should clean their environment too. Wash their bedding frequently and preferably dry it in direct sunlight. It is important to regularly vacuum the floors (particularly carpets) and furniture, particularly if your pet always lives indoors. This is most important if your pet suffers from fleas, as the fleas love to inhabit comfortable couches, carpets and other dark protected areas of your house, not just on your pet!
6. Looking after Wounds: Should your pet suffer from a cut, graze, burn or deep abrasion it is best to refer to your veterinarian. If the wound is quite superficial you can also attend to it naturally as an initial treatment. Research has found that medical-grade honey, and specifically Manuka honey has many beneficial properties supporting the natural healing of wounds, cuts and burns and also assists to reduce and prevent contamination, external bacteria colonization and infection. It is important to choose a medical grade Manuka honey to avoid any possible contamination. PAW by Blackmores Manuka Wound Gel™ is a medical-grade physical barrier for topical application for animals to help protect the wound, control odours and maintains natural pH. To avoid a sticky mess, this particular Manuka wound gel contains added natural waxes and oils which will help to reduce runoff and the stinging associated with pure/raw honey.
A healthy dog is a happy dog
About Dr Alister Webster Pure Animal Wellbeing (PAW) was developed by Dr Alister Webster, a third generation vet from the Webster family who are renowned by vets for creating quality pet products for over 80 years. Dr Webster spent over four years researching and developing natural actives and product alternatives for veterinary wellbeing products before introducing Pure Animal Wellbeing Products to vets in Australia.
For more information, call 1800 803 760
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