Dealing with your dog’s dry, itchy skin

dry itchy skin in dogs can have several causes

The phrase “having thick skin” to describe someone who can take a lot of abuse and still be forgiving or even somewhat happy must not have been coined by a person who knows anything about dogs. A dog’s skin only contains one layer compared to a human’s skin that has three different layers. Yet, with only that one layer, most dogs can keep a positive attitude as they withstand quite a bit of abuse, neglect, mistreatment and more. The fact that a dog will generally accept an apology from his or her owner no matter who the owner is or what they have done certainly makes me want to re-evaluate that saying.

Because dog skin is a single layer, it is extremely sensitive to a variety of conditions. Some of these can be treated and the condition relieved or cured, while other conditions are caused by something that cannot be cured but only managed. In those cases, managing the condition day-by-day or week-by-week does sometimes allow the dog to be as symptom-free and as comfortable as possible.

1-800-PetMeds Oatmeal & Aloe Vera Shampoo

This week we’ll start with the basic case of itchy skin that is often caused by the skin becoming and remaining too dry. This is most common in environments that cause the skin to remain dry due to weather conditions. This “dry skin” can usually prevented by using a mild shampoo that contains ingredients intended to hydrate the skin. Pet shampoos that contain aloe vera such as our Oatmeal & Aloe Vera Shampoo have been used successfully in moisturizing the skin and preventing it from getting itchy.  Feeding your dog a pet food with good nutrients as well as supplementation with Norwegian fish oil are also ways to keep the skin supple and moist. Grooming the dog helps prevent the hair from clumping together, which could potentially create an environment where bacteria can flourish and spread. Another advantage to grooming is it allows you to keep on top of any developing skin problems before they get bigger and more difficult to manage.

Another potential cause of dry skin and itchy skin in dogs is parasite infestation. Keeping our pets treated with flea and tick prevention will help keep these little unwelcome parasite visitors at bay. Flea and tick prevention such as Frontline Plus does not require a prescription since it does not contain an additional heartworm preventative. Products such as Revolution, however, do contain a heartworm preventative and therefore requires a prescription from your veterinarian. These parasite preventatives may be required year-round depending on the region you live in as well as the recommendation of your veterinarian, who knows the situation in your geographical region and the requirements of your particular pet.

Allergies may also produce itchy, dry skin in our dogs. Very often, allergies cause the dog to keep licking the skin or scratching at the itchy area resulting in dermatitis. Very intense itching may also be caused by scabies, which is a treatable condition. There are a variety of antihistamines which are over-the-counter that help minimize allergy symptoms and your veterinarian may wish to prescribe steroids for a short duration if the condition becomes unbearable.

1-800-PetMeds Super Pure Omega 3

One of the products that has been extremely helpful in keeping the skin healthy and prevent it from becoming too dry is Super Pure Omega 3. The Norwegian fish oil and d-alpha tocopherols in the product have been shown to maintain both skin and joint health in cats and dogs.

Next week I will try to go over and discuss some of the more difficult to treat skin conditions that affect our dogs and cats and what others have done to help their pets.  Until then, if you notice something out of the ordinary call your veterinarian and as always, your 1800Petmeds pharmacist is also available to answer any of your medication related questions.

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  1. Pawesome information, Eddie! I use two of these products myself: Revolution and Super Omega 3 liquid! I think I will ask Mommy to get a bottle of that shampoo. A girl can’t be too careful about her beautiful coat. Love, Bella

  2. I have a 2 year old AMERICAN BULLDOG named ROSIE. She is a little hefty and strained her knees last fall climbing up on the seat in my golf cart. She has been eating HILLS WEIGHT CONTROL FOOD and she has lost maybe 10 pounds. She was put on glucosomine/condroitin for her joints…the chewable nuggets from FOSTER SMITH which she loves. Now we have another problem…her skin has raised up areas under the hair and the hair is discolored!! She doesn’t scratch it but her coat is getting thinner. She is going to the vet hopefully tomorrow. Any idea what is causing this problem. She was spayed at 5 months and has been healthy otherwise. all shots and meds kept up to date. Thank you.

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianFebruary 23, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Sounds like inflammation of hair follicles known as folliculitis, which is typically due to staph infection in this breed, possibly from underlying allergies. A course of antibiotics is likely needed here, as well as possibly topical shampoo therapy with products like malaseb shampoo from 1800petmeds.

  4. What product do you carry that is equivalent to catalyst gel caps? My dog has been taking this for quite a while and now that we have moved to Georgia we don’t have a vet yet and have ordered from your company recently but I can’t find Catalyst gel caps – Please advise.
    Thank you Dee Ray

  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 15, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I am not familiar with this product. Please check with 1800petmeds pharmacist on the availability of this.

  6. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 18, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Check with 1800petmeds pharmacist, as I am not sure about this medication as I have little experience with it

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