Dogs are like people, their largest organ is their skin, and with this large organ can come a lot of irritation. Irritation can occur for many different reasons based on the individual dog and their breed. Skin irritation is one of the most common issues that dogs and dog owners face, and is also one of the most frustrating. Many pet owners feel exhausted by all of the scratching, licking, and itching that their dog does, how then must the dog feel?
The symptoms of skin irritation in dogs will really depend on what is causing the skin irritation. There are many different types of skin irritations such as environmental, nutritional, parasitic, allergic, nuerogenic, and infectious. Each of these skin irritant causes will present differently, with many of them looking and acting very much alike. Symptoms of skin irritation are usually first noticed when the dog will not stop licking, biting, and scratching and when the pet owner looks a bit more carefully they will find that the skin is red, raw, hot, open, oozing, swollen, dry, scaly, or a variety of other symptoms. Any imaginable symptom of the skin can be seen depending on the breed and the reason for the skin irritation.
Preventing skin irritation is not always possible, but there are some things that you can do to help prevent some things. First, keep your pet well groomed. Many skin irritations begin when a pet is not well groomed. Mats and knots help hold in moisture and can cause pain that starts itching and licking, creating irritation. Another good rule of thumb is to keep your dog on a pest control regimen that will keep them from being bitten and infested as much as possible. Also, keep the yard that the dog spends their time in clean, free of debris, and free of bugs. Other than this, the only thing that you can do is make sure that you see your vet for regular check ups so that the vet can pick up on any problems early on.
The treatment for skin irritants are varied depending on what the issue is. For instance, a skin problem caused by allergies would be treated differently than skin irritants caused by parasites. Many times it is just a matter of developing better grooming skills while other skin problems may need to be treated with medications, ointments, washes, and veterinary care. Luckily, there are a lot of different treatment options for the variety of skin problems and irritants that are out there affecting our pets.