Dogs are a part of the family and we want to do everything we can to keep them healthy and happy. One important aspect of dog health is keeping their skin healthy. Dogs can get skin problems for many reasons, including allergies, parasites, and contact with irritants. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 tips for helping your dog maintain healthy skin!
Tips For Proper Dog Skincare
Luckily, most things that you can do for proper care of your dog's skin are pretty easy to do without needing special lotions or expensive treatments. The core concepts are the same regardless of if you are trying to maintain proper skin care for a human or man's best friend. Here are some tips to help your dog maintain healthy skin:
Keep your dog's skin clean
- Just like people, dogs need to have their skin cleaned on a regular basis. You can do this by giving them baths with dog-specific shampoo. Be sure to avoid using human shampoo, as it can be too harsh for your dog's skin.
Groom your dog regularly
- This helps to remove dead skin cells and loosen any dirt that may be stuck to your dog's fur. It also allows you to check for any unusual bumps or growths on their skin.
Identify and treat skin problems as soon as possible
- If you notice your dog scratching more than usual, or if they seem to be in discomfort, it's important to take them to the vet. They may have a skin problem that needs to be treated. While petting your dog or giving belly rubs, make sure to check for signs that there may be skin problems developing. These can include spots with discoloration, hair loss, chaffing, or tenderness.
Feed your dog a healthy diet
- A healthy diet is important for your dog's overall health, including their skin. Make sure they are getting enough of the right nutrients to keep their skin healthy. This can be done by making sure they have a balanced diet with nutrient-rich foods and healthy snacks. Additionally, just like vitamins are good for your health to fill in the gaps that healthy meals aren't able to, a good multivitamin is also helpful for maintaining your dog's good health.
Provide plenty of fresh water
- Fresh water is essential for all animals, and dogs are no exception. Make sure they have access to clean water at all times to keep their skin hydrated.
Protect your dog from extended exposure to direct sun
- Just like people, dogs can get sunburned. If you are going to be outside with your dog for an extended period of time, make sure they have access to shade and consider applying sunscreen to their skin.
Consider adding a humidifier to your home's climate control system
- This can help to add moisture to the air, which can be beneficial for your dog's skin. Just like with your skin, dry environments can be uncomfortable and ultimately damage skin cells if they are allowed to dry and crack.
Bathe your dog sparingly
- Overbathing can strip away the natural oils in your dog's skin, leading to dryness and irritation. If you do need to bathe your dog, be sure to use a gentle, dog-specific shampoo and avoid scrubbing their skin too harshly.
Use only gentle, pH-balanced shampoos designed for dogs
- Human shampoos are often too harsh for dogs and can irritate their skin. Be sure to find a shampoo that is designed specifically for dogs and has a pH that is balanced for their skin.
Avoid exposing your dog's skin to harsh chemicals
- Many household cleaners and chemicals can be irritating to your dog's skin. If you need to use them, be sure to keep them away from your dog and wash their skin thoroughly if they come into contact with them.
Finally, Consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog's skin health
If you are ever worried about your dog's skin, be sure to consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to help you identify any problems and come up with a plan to keep your dog's skin healthy!
Home Remedies for "Hot" Spots and Other Skin Problems
For itchy skin areas, also known as hot spots, you can use a solution of apple cider vinegar and water, that is made with a 50% to 50% ratio. You can place this in a bottle with a spray attachment that could help you apply it to these areas on your dog. Yeast, bacteria, and other microbiological pathogen problems cannot live in its acidity. It is safe because your dog could lick it and not be harmed by it.
Another safe treatment for skin problems, such as dry skin, is Vitamin E. A capsule can be opened and the inside of it could be placed on any dry skin area and rubbed into the skin. You could use it for calluses on their paws, also.
For a soothing treatment, you could brew chamomile tea and place it in a bottle with a spray attachment in the refrigerator and use it on irritated skin, even when your dog has "chewed" on the area because it is safe on skin that is "broken". Spray it liberally on the areas for relief from the pain and inflammation. This is safe for dogs to have in their mouths.
For bath time, use oatmeal in the bath to help with dry itchy skin that is irritated because of allergies, itchy feet, and surface infections. It has phenols and avenanthramides in it, and these are phytochemicals that decrease inflammation. You can make a powder with oatmeal by grinding it and adding it to a bath or mixing it with a little water to apply it to the skin. Oatmeal is OK for dogs to eat or taste. Baking soda is an additional safe and easy-to-use skin treatment for sore and itchy spots. Just add a little water and make a paste and apply it on the skin. This will soothe the areas and is safe for them to lick or taste, too.
Vitamins and Minerals to Help Guard Against Skin Problems
You could give nutrients to your dog internally with vitamin and mineral supplements to help heal skin problems or prevent them. B vitamins help with fat metabolism and healthy fats, such as linoleic acid, are in the skin and make it function normally. You could give your dog a multivitamin and multimineral supplement that is a powder and is added to their moist food, or added to their water.
Your Dog's Skin Can Reveal Larger Health Problems Too
Your dog's skin is a window into their overall health, so it's important to keep an eye on it and take note of any changes. If you notice any unusual lumps, bumps, or sores, be sure to have them checked out by your veterinarian. Skin problems can sometimes be a sign of something more serious going on inside your dog's body, so it's always better to err on the side of caution!
By following these simple tips, you can help keep your dog's skin healthy and free from irritation. Remember to consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog's skin health. With a little care and attention, you can help keep your furry friend happy and comfortable all year round!