Dogs with skin conditions are often itchy and uncomfortable. Certain skin maladies also cause hair loss, odors, and are severe enough to affect behavior. Good grooming not only helps to detect some skin concerns early, but it may also be a part of the cure. Here are a few common conditions and how regular grooming brings comfort.
Canine Atopic Dermatitis
A dog may be allergic to one certain thing, like pollen, or it could have a hypersensitivity known as atopy that leads to reactions from multiple irritants. The signs of atopic dermatitis include excessive scratching and chewing, skin inflammation, and rashes. Watery eyes and a runny nose are also common symptoms.
A veterinarian may prescribe medication to control the reaction and recommend bathing to relieve discomfort. A groomer can also use special bathing products to provide relief.
An anti-itch shampoo soothes the inflamed skin and removes pollen, dust, or other allergens that collect in the fur to prevent future reactions. And leave-in conditioner soothes the skin and provides a barrier against environmental allergens.
Skin Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are easy to recognize because they cause a strong odor and intense itching. A medicated anti-fungal shampoo is usually required to help combat this unpleasant complaint. Vets will often recommend one of the many brands of effective anti-fungal shampoos available and prescribe oral medication if your dog has a skin yeast infection.
Wait until the condition improves before washing your dog if the pet has open sores or a bacterial infection from scratching or chewing. The discomfort caused by washing these delicate areas and the potential risk of worsening or spreading the infection is high.
Good grooming practices at home and by a professional groomer can help to prevent yeast infections, too. The fungal problem often arises when the skin is damp for too long. Thoroughly dry the pet after bathing, swimming, or walking in the rain to help avoid the problem. Pay special attention to crevices, like under the legs or neck, where moisture can linger.
Canine Idiopathic Seborrhea
Seborrhea is a severe form of dandruff. An increase in the production of body oil leads to intense itching, makes the fur feel greasy, and causes a strong odor. Many causes, including a genetic predisposition, are blamed for the disease. When no known cause is found, it is referred to as idiopathic seborrhea and is usually a lifelong problem for the pet.
The concern with seborrhea, aside from its own unpleasantness, is that the intense itching will lead to secondary bacterial infections from the dog scratching and biting at the skin. The risk of an infection is lowered when the itching remains under control. Dietary changes are the most common recommendation, but the most immediate source of relief is bathing.
The same types of medicated shampoos used to treat human dandruff are also effective for dogs. For example, you can use coal tar, sulfur, and salicylic acid on your dog. The shampoo must be applied and allowed to sit for several minutes to be effective and should be massaged thoroughly into areas like the feet and under the legs where the problems are often the most severe.
Long-haired pets may benefit from a temporary short style to make it easier for the products to reach the skin. Dogs with severe cases of seborrhea may need weekly baths, or even more frequently, in the beginning. Fewer are needed as the problem is brought under control.
Grooming is never a replacement for veterinary care but should be used to heal the pet along with their vet-recommended treatments. You should also mention any skin condition when making an appointment with a groomer, so they can take any measures necessary to protect other clients and to ensure their grooming methods are tailored to the needs of the pet.
At Longview Boarding & Grooming Ltd., we have talented and experienced groomers that can help itchy, uncomfortable pets feel better. Contact us to discuss the needs of your pet to see what we can do for you.