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As any pet owner knows, one of life's simple pleasures is petting your favourite dog. Running a hand over a soft coat of thick, shiny fur feels good to you and your dog. Unfortunately, if your dog has poor skin health, that simple pleasure might not be so pleasant.
Signs of a Problem with Your Dog's Skin
The UK Kennel Club recommends looking out for the following signs that your dog has sensitive skin:
Dry, flaky skin.
Excessive scratching, licking or rubbing.
Hair loss and/or bald patches.
They note that possible causes include:
Sensitivities or intolerances to certain ingredients like corn.
Environmental sensitivities, e.g. dust, pollen, grass or mites.
Dry air caused by cold weather, indoor heating or air conditioning.
Changes in the weather.
Parasites, e.g. fleas, mites or ticks.
What can you do?
Check for pests. Examine your dog's coat and skin thoroughly for the presence of ticks, fleas, lice or other parasites. If you spot any, ask your vet for advice and follow the appropriate treatment.
Consider sensitivities. If your dog is pest-free and otherwise healthy, consider if any environmental factors like pollen or dust could be causing their discomfort. Atopic dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that results in licking, scratching, loss of fur and dry, flaky skin. Learn more about atopic dermatitis.
Talk to your vet. Skin conditions can have a wide range of causes, including parasites, bacterial infections, sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, stress and more. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian about your dog's individual health and treatment options.
- Feed your dog well. Many dogs can benefit from high-quality food formulated especially for skin health and sensitivities. Look for one containing high-quality protein, essential fatty acids and antioxidants (important nutrients that can help protect your dog's skin). Your veterinarian may also recommend a dietetic food if they diagnose your pet with specific conditions.