According to a 2013 survey from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 15% to 25% of all canines have been recorded with a certain type of skin disease. While most canine skin disorders are treatable, dog parents still need to be on top of their pooch’s health conditions and oversee their fur babies when skin diseases become more noticeable. It is for this reason that regular dog cleaning and vet visits become more crucial to maintain your dog’s overall well-being.
Skin diseases vary tremendously — they could be simple, treatable conditions like food/environmental allergies, folliculitis, and dry, flaky skin. But other more severe dermatological conditions also exist. For instance, canines can experience acral lick granuloma when they are prone to licking one part of their body, and severe skin tumors (mostly when there are lumps on their skin) that eventually develop into cancer. These grave disorders require immediate medical attention, so your role in overseeing your dog’s skin health is always key.
This article provides an in-depth explanation of both the common, more treatable skin diseases in dogs, as well as more severe conditions that require the help of a professional veterinarian. We will also be looking at some essential home care tips to prevent skin disorders from occurring. Who doesn’t want to have a doggo that can enjoy its entire life on Earth, free of those itchy allergies and tick infestations?
The Most Common Skin Diseases in Dogs
Most skin diseases in canines begin with a noticeable amount of scratching, licking, or rubbing on a certain part of their body (mostly on their ears, legs, or necks.) Scratching is usually an unpleasant sound for most dog owners, but this might also be a way for your dog to communicate a developing skin problem.
The most common skin disorder is allergic dermatitis, which could develop as a result of food intolerances, chemical products, or specific environmental factors. More often than not, the most common culprits for allergic reactions include grass, dust mites, and pollen, as well as food allergens like beef, chicken, and eggs. Allergic dermatitis can also be detected when your dog’s skin has a yeasty smell, or when its overall complexion is greasy. These symptoms can reveal themselves early on, so always be mindful!
Another common skin disease in dogs is folliculitis (dry, inflamed hairs), which normally occurs when your furry friend is already suffering another skin disorder. Most dogs who experience some sort of mange and allergic reactions will likely have scabs, scars, or lumps on their skin, which is a clear sign of folliculitis.
Finally, impetigo is a typical skin disease in younger pups that can be an early indicator for other skin conditions in the future. If you see small lesions or blisters on a puppy’s stomach, have your vet run a few tests to determine your pooch’s other problems!
More Severe Skin Diseases
At the beginning of this article, we mentioned how developing acral lick granuloma and cancerous skin tumors can potentially be life-threatening for your pooch. But just how dangerous are they? Let’s take a look.
To start things off, acral lick granuloma is a self-inflicted lesion that dogs develop when they obsessively lick over their wrists or the carpal joints on their limbs. This disease normally occurs in large, active dog breeds that have been left by their owners for a long time. Think of acral lick granuloma as a dog’s version of obsessive-compulsive disorder: the disease revolves around a pooch’s psychological anxiety, and as such, it is very difficult to cure. According to veterinary dermatologists, only 65% of lick granuloma cases can be successfully controlled.
Cancerous skin tumors, on the other hand, are a completely different ball game. 80% to 90% of tumors may be diagnosed as benign, but dog owners should still schedule a vet visit as soon as they see a noticeable lump on any part of their pooch’s skin. Most veterinary surgeons and pathologists suggest that early surgical removal is the most effective way to cure a skin tumor, and further evaluations should immediately be done to determine further treatment options. When dog owners move too late, most vets would subsequently recommend chemotherapy or radiation therapy to extend your pooch’s lifespan.
If you’re starting to be anxious about these severe skin diseases, don’t worry too much. Most skin conditions are not usually fatal, and they are highly treatable as long as your pup is managed properly. However, most pooches with terrible skin disorders might physically look too bad that owners will not be motivated to take care of them anymore.
Essential Home Care Tips for Skin Maintenance
Chances are you’ve already heard the classic phrase “Prevention is better than cure”, probably in a middle school science lesson, in a motivational life seminar, or even just over dinner with family and friends. The quote has been repeated over and over again that it sounds like a broken record by now, but these exact words should be your mindset when dealing with your dog’s skin hygiene! If you value your pup’s physical well-being early on in its life, its skin should be in tip-top shape. Sure, going to the vet might be the safest option, but there are also some dog grooming tips and cleaning recommendations that you can do at home!
For one, dog parents would be wise to invest in a good quality dog shampoo that prevents bacteria and allergens from developing on your pooch’s skin. When doing your research, always look for a product that cleanses fur and reduces pet dander (which usually triggers allergic reactions) at the same time. We also recommend shampoo products that are made of natural ingredients, contain skin-soothing essential oils, or at least made with limited chemical components. Every time you strive to nourish your pup’s coat, you will significantly reduce the risk of developing any skin disease.
Another stellar home care tip is utilizing natural remedies when your dog has itchy skin. A chamomile or herbal tea soak, for example, is an effective home remedy that can soothe your dog’s hot, itchy skin patches and lesions. You can also try doing the age-old oatmeal bath as a natural hypoallergenic remedy. Some veterinarians praise this DIY skincare solution for canines since the best dog shampoos contain oatmeal anyway! If both these remedies aren’t suitable for your pooch in any way, you can likewise attempt a coconut oil scrub directly on your dog’s skin. Due to the oil’s antifungal and antibacterial properties, canines with eczema, allergic infections, or insect infestations will be able to feel immediate benefits!
These dog cleaning tips are safe for most canine complexions and skin disorders, but it’s always a good idea to get in touch with your vet constantly to ensure that these at-home skincare remedies are appropriate for your pooch. Once you’ve got a go signal, you can do any of these skincare tips right from the comforts of your own home!