By Dr Philip McConachy BVSc
As a vet, I see a lot of dogs with itchy red skin.
This is called Dermatitis.
Many things can cause dermatitis including allergies, parasitic infections, and physiological disorders.
In this article, I’d like to outline some things that dogs owners can do to improve the health of these dogs skin and coat and reduce the likelihood of dermatitis.
Washing: Washing with soap is bad for dogs skin because it removes protective oils from the skin. Most pet shampoos contain soap. I recommend using natural soap free shampoos such as Dermcare Natural Shampoo.
For itchy dogs, the Dermcare Aloveen Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner is a better option.
Parasite Control: Unless dogs are allergic to fleas, I do not necessarily advise routine use of prophylactic flea products. What i do recommend is to check for flea droppings before every wash.
This can be done by scratching the dogs skin along its back while in a seated position. A piece of white paper or plastic near the dogs tail will collect any flea droppings. If water is placed onto the droppings, they will turn a reddish colour due to the blood within them leaching out.
If flea droppings are present, the use of a good flea product on all of the dogs and cats in the house for several months will be required to break the flea cycle.
We are happy to give advise on flea control.
Good Diet: I believe good diet is important in monitoring healthy skin and coat.
I believe at least part of the diet should be raw and unprocessed. I believe Doctor B’s BARF is one very good example of such diet.
Omega 3 fatty acid supplements like Melrose Fish Oil can be useful in reducing itching and maintaining a shiny coat.
Stimulation: Some dogs will lick and and bite themselves due to boredom or anxiety. I believe giving dogs access to raw brisket and neck bones, treat balls and Kong toys can reduce boredom and anxiety, particularly when they done.