Did you know that a dog’s skin is prone to various conditions that can cause itching, redness, and pain? Of course, identifying these issues can be tricky since a canine’s skin is also covered in fur, meaning we have to look extra closely to know that anything is wrong.
Maintaining your dog’s skin health is a critical part of being a dog owner, and it can be helpful to have a better idea of the different skin issues that can arise, and even what can cause them in the first place. It’s just as important to know when and how to take action when they do show up, in order to ensure your dog isn’t dealing with any discomfort.
What are the Most Common Causes for Skin Problems in Dogs?
Skin problems can vary depending on the cause, but in general, you should always make a point to look closely at your dog’s body to see if there are any areas of hair loss, flaking, redness, scabbing or unusual dryness. At the same time, pay attention to any areas of the body your dog seems to scratch excessively or groom excessively, since both of these things can indicate that their skin is bothering them.
Now, as for those most common causes for skin issues, they are the following:
Cause #1: Allergies
Dogs may develop allergic reactions that can manifest as skin problems. These can be contact allergies, such as an allergy to a certain laundry detergent you used to wash their bed, or possible, can be internal allergies such as allergies to certain foods that lead to skin problems. Obviously, if you suspect that your dog is allergic to something specific, you will need to prevent exposure to that allergen.
Cause #2: Insect Bites
Insect bites are somewhat common for dogs, with fleas and mites being the most common culprits. If your dog has insect bites, you may notice anything from what appears as a rash to lots of little red bumps, depending on the insect as well as how your dog’s particular body reacts to the bite.
Cause #3: Genetics/Breed
Some dogs may be genetically prone to certain skin issues, either due to their parents or because of their breed. For example, dogs who have lots of folds in their skin are more likely to develop infections within those folds, and some dogs may inherit autoimmune conditions that manifest in the form of skin problems.
Cause #4: Diet
Yes, the diet your dog is on can have an impact in terms of their skin health. Allowing your canine to consume ingredients that aren’t ultimately meant for a dog’s body, such as gluten or sugar, can lead to all kinds of skin issues that reflect the body’s inability to digest certain foods, leading to a weakened immune system.
Cause #5: Stress
Dogs can and often do develop skin problems due to excessive stress, which can be very taxing on the immune system. Chronic stress can show up in the form of rashes, dry, flaking skin and itching, as well as hair loss. If your dog is developing skin problems due to stress, it’s safe to assume that their stress is at an acute level, and you’ll need to take action to consider eliminating the source of their stress.
Cause #6: Lifestyle
Dogs can develop skin problems due to the nature of their lifestyle. For instance, if they go swimming in chlorinated pools regularly, that chlorine can dry out their skin. Or, if they’re a dog that goes on a lot of hikes, their paw pads may develop dryness due to the rocky terrain.
Treating Skin Problems in Dogs
Identifying the root cause(s) for your canine’s skin problems is the first part. There are various remedies and techniques out there that can treat your dog, but we narrowed them down to these four options. Before we cover those, no matter the option, there are two things to keep in mind:
- When noticing a change in your dog’s skin health, best to call and make an appointment with their veterinarian initially. While you might have a grasp of what’s causing the direct skin problem, your veterinarian can run tests and prescribe treatments that can identify and fix the issue without requiring that you do any guesswork.
- Keep your dog distracted from their sore spots by taking them for a walk, run, playing fetch, and even enjoy time with other people. In fact, exercise is very important for your pup’s health anyway, so make sure they’re getting bonus attention during skin flare-ups. Even though exercise will not make your dog’s skin problems disappear, they might still be able to nap or sleep better despite the irritation, due to exerting so much energy during the daytime.
Option #1: Steroids or Antibiotics
Speaking of treatments, veterinarians frequently prescribe steroids (like prednisone or dexamethasone) to help manage your dog’s skin problems. These steroids, either by injection or applied topically, fight inflammation leading to skin pain and itchiness. However, there are many side effects when taking steroids, so this option should only be done if the symptoms become worse.
As for antibiotics, if it’s an open wound usually, an antibiotic spray and/or an oral antibiotic can clear up the dog’s infection. Depending upon the severity, too, antibiotics might sometimes be available in an injection form.
Option #2: Flea and Tick Treatments
As we touched upon this earlier, you just need to make sure your canine is getting regular flea and tick treatments on time. As for those specific flea and tick treatments, only go with ones that are recommended by your veterinarian.
Option #3: Making a Few Dieting Alterations
Try putting your dog an all-natural diet that contains just ingredients that dogs would eat in the wild, like meat and vegetables. Also, if possible, avoid/limit grains. Even going with a commercial raw diet can work, which more dog owners are finding completely clear up all kinds of skin issues. You veterinarian may even suggest adding supplements like Omega fatty acids or Vitamin E oil for additional support.
Even if the skin problems aren’t directly caused by a dietary allergen, changing their diet can still boost overall skin health and make their skin more resilient to lots of common issues. A dog’s body needs the right diet in order to maintain skin homeostasis, and it’s surprising just how much skin health is determined by digestive health and immune health.
#4: Add CBD to Their Daily Routine
You might want to consider incorporating cannabidiol (CBD) into their routine each day to address skin problems of all kinds. CBD is a natural derivative of the hemp plant that belongs to a class of compounds known as “cannabinoids”, which attach themselves to cannabinoid receptors located in all systems of the body. Cannabinoids, like CBD, help regulate processes related to important functions like mood, digestive function, immune function, and skin health.
CBD can work in two ways.
- By allowing your dog to ingest CBD daily, it can work with the digestive system and immune system to address internal issues manifesting as skin problems.
- By applying CBD oil to the affected skin, it could help to minimize irritation and other symptoms.
At Chill Paws, our line of CBD products might be able to address the needs of your dog’s skin, both internally and topically. We offer CBD oils and treats, with the former being able to work just as effectively as a topical. Because we work with organic hemp, natural ingredients, and zero allergens, you can rest easy knowing that our products are supplying your dog the absolute best, which they deserve.
Note: Before considering this option, best to speak with your dog’s veterinarian first, as they can better diagnose your dog’s skin condition and come up with a treatment plan that works for them, as they might even include CBD.