Good dog skin care is as vital as a good dog diet. At Natural Dog Skin Care we explore ways to avoid and treat common skin problems such as hot spots, dry scaly skin, cuts, inflammation, eczema … and pretty much anything that makes your precious pooch go itchy scratchy. We’ll explore the natural ways to a dog’s healthy and silky coat and skin.
Dog hot spots are a nasty skin problem and what starts out as a skin irritation often ends up as an unsightly soar which tends to spread and your poor dog is not only suffering, but looks like he’s down with some sort of contagious disease.
What exactly is a hot spot and how can you identify it?
A hot spot is a superficial inflammation and bacterial infection of the top layer of a dog’s skin.
Most common symptoms are:
· Licking, biting and chewing a spot on the skin endlessly.
· The spot suddenly increases in a matter of hours, sometimes with pus inside.
· The sore may sometimes begin to ooze.
· The hot spot loses hair.
· The sore smells funny.
It starts off as a red itchy spot. To relieve the itching the dog chews, bites or scratches the offending area which of course worsens the condition. The red spot soon turns into a sore, becomes infected and results in an open wound. This becomes so painful to the dog that your usually fun and frolicking furry friend turns into a growly and unhappy pet.
The three main causes of dog hot spots are:
1. Long and furry coats:
Certain breeds such as Shih-Tzu’s and Pmeranians are more susceptible to hot spots, this is because their long and furry coats are more susceptibel to get tangled and matted hair. Dogs with long coats are also more prone to having trapped dead hair and, especially the smaller dogs since they are low to the ground, they “mop up” debris from the floor or ground. All this leads to irritation of the skin which in vet language is termed pyotraumatic dermatitis, but in your language and mine, it is commonly referred to as hot spots.
2. Allergies & environment:
The environment that your dog lives in has a lot to do with allergies. First look at the immediate your home. What do you clean your floors with? If you are using chemically laced household cleaning products to keep your floors clean and regularly have your carpets cleaned commercially, there is harmful chemical residue left on the floor. Your dog lies on these chemicals which eventually begin to bother his skin. Other environmentally caused allergies might be plan pollen at certain times of the year (think of spring fever in humans).
Other dogs are just plain hyper and will end up biting, licking and gnawing at themselves if left alone. This can also cause hot spots to appear.
What can be done to relieve our precious from this misery?
1. Trim the fur from the area around the hot spot with scissors. If the area is large at all, you should shave it instead. Causing the hot spot to be exposed to the air will help dry out the moisture and speed up healing.
2. Clean the affected area with a gentle skin cleanser for dogs and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Adding a drop or two of tea tree oil to the water helps to disinfect the area.
3. Apply a cold compress to the area a few times a day. It is best to use a cool wet washcloth.
4. A number of natural products have also proven to be very effective against dog hot spots. Among these are witch hazel, apple cider vinegar. Apply a good natural topical ointment such as K9 KlearUp which has the natural healing ingredient, Tepezcohuite.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure:
1. Brush your pet daily, especially if he has a long coat that tends to get tangles.
2. If your dog likes to swim, make sure that the coat dries well, this is particularly important with dogs that have a second undercoat such as a Chesapeake or a Newfoundland.
3. Use natural, chemical free household cleaning products to do your floors.
4. Contract a carpet cleaner that uses natural, environmental ingredients in the cleaning process
5. Keep your home well vacuumed and free of mites and other critters that can make a pet’s and your own life miserable.
Most importantly, be on the lookout for early symptoms. Treated early and swiftly your best friend will continue to be his true and happy self.
Inside. Outside. If the inside is healthy, the outside will show it. I am talking about the condition of your dog’s health and the appearance of her coat and skin.
One of the fundamentals of natural dog skin care is a good diet. In recent years new brands have appeared on the shelves of pet stores with improved ingredients and nutrient value, but what is truly interesting is the increasing number of pet parents who choose to cook for their for their furry family members.
People who already cook for themselves just put on an extra pot alongside theirs which is now doggie’s pot. That takes me back to my years of growing up. We had pets – both cats and dogs. My favorite was Molly. Molly was a dog; she was a beauty of indeterminate breed but for sure there must have been some black lab and border collie too! Her skin was soft, slightly wavy and so shiny and she was forever playful, full of spunk and always eager to please. She was super friendly. I now know that she was also super healthy.
When I took Molly for walks people would come up to pat her and often commented on her soft and silky coat. Of course, mom cooked for her and all our pets. We lived in Japan back then and ready made dog food was not easy to obtain – yes, it was that long ago!
Mom’s “pet cuisine” would often be based on rice, into which she would throw vegetables and meat. The meat would be scraps she picked up at the butcher’s or the fish store. The meat was mostly cheaper cuts of beef but sometimes there was chicken and on the rare occasion lamb, but it was fish which got thrown most often into that pot. Honestly, it was as good as the food that was put on our table to eat, the only thing is that it was bland as mom did not add any seasonings to her doggie deli dishes.
It is no wonder that Molly was so healthy. The food that she ate was nutritious. There were no fillers, no ground up produce masquerading as food – there was just good, wholesome food. The rice provided carbohydrates, the meat and fish protein, the vegetables enzymes and the added bonus was the omega 3 fatty acids from the fish which of course is the reason her coat was so silky and shiny. Without knowing, mom was practicing the most fundamental steps of good dog skin care.
Today’s food does not pack the nutrient value of those years so if you decide to be the chef de chien cuisine, you may want to add some supplements too. You can find plenty of recipes for home made dog food on the internet. Here’s to your and your dog’s good health!
Brushing, bathing and clipping certainly contribute to your precious’ silky and smooth skin and coat, but it’s a little bit more than just pampering that is needed for your furry friend to sport a healthy and vibrant appearance.
The Five Dog Skin Care Basics:
1. Diet: It is not just we humans who are what we eat – so are our dogs. A good nutritious diet is the best way to ensure that your dog stays strong and healthy. Select foods that mimic as closely as possible how a dog would eat in the wild: protein, carbs, vegetable and some fat. Fat is essential for a healthy skin and promotes a shiny coat.
2. Exercise: Take your dog for a daily walk – twice if you can squeeze in the time. Ideally a good, brisk walk in the morning and another in the evening, each of a half hour in length or more. Your dog will be happy and it will do wonders for your own figure. If your work schedule makes this difficult arrange for a dog walker to pop in and take doggie out for a good lengthy stroll during the day. Activity is good for circulation which in turn is good for the skin.
3. Daily Brushing: Even five minutes of gentle brushing stimulates the oil glands in the skin and nourishes the coat. A good brushing also detangles long haired coats and loosens dead hair, it is also an effective way to rid the coat of brambles, dirt and unwelcome insects and bugs that doggie may have picked up on his romp in the woods.
4. Shampoo: Use a good quality shampoo with natural ingredients such as oatmeal, papaya or aloe. If your dog has dry, itchy skin select a shampoo that has a moisturizing ingredient. Pet shampoos with a smidgin of tea tree oil are also effective in keeping mites at bay.
5. Take action at first sign of a skin problem: At certain times of the year our pets are more susceptible to picking up parasites such as fleas, ticks and other nasty bugs. A dog that is flea ridden itches and scratches a lot and can develop sores which worsen as the condition continues. Take appropriate steps to rid your dog of these pests.
If you notice that your dog has developed a skin problem and is not responding to the above basic principles of good dog skin care, you may want to apply a natural pet balm to the affected area. Look for a balm with ingredients that have healing properties such as tepezcohuite and aloe. If all fails - schedule a visit to the vet