Sometimes our dog may have some skin irritation, which we can see as a reddened and / or itchy area. This irritation, which can cause great discomfort, can have several causes that our veterinarian will have to determine in order to prescribe the most appropriate treatment.
In this article of Animal Expert we will see what to do if our dog has irritated skin, what reasons can cause irritation, what can we do to solve it and, also, how can we prevent this problem that, although not usually serious, does involve considerable discomfort and will require veterinary help.
Why does my dog have irritated skin?
To know what to do if your dog has irritated skin, the first thing will be to know the causes that can cause that irritation. In general we will be before dermatitisthat is the skin inflammation They can cause allergies, contact with irritating substances or parasites, especially fleas. All these disorders can affect dogs of any age to a greater or lesser degree and it should be our veterinarian who, after reviewing the dog and the relevant tests, determines the diagnosis. To help you in this task we can observe aspects such as the following, which will provide very important information for the diagnosis:
- Data on the lifestyle of our dog, that is, in which environment he lives or walks, when, how long, what is his relationship with other animals, etc.
- Antiparasitic that you use and your calendar of use, as well as if you have been taking or taking any medication. If our dog has been treated for skin irritation before, we must also notify the veterinarian.
- How irritation started and if it is the first time it occurs or is a relapse.
- Take into account if it occurs only at a certain time of the year or in any one.
- See if it exists presence of pruritus and if this is mild, moderate or intense.
- Check the dog to see if the irritation is located to some area or, on the contrary, is widespread. In the latter case, you have to know what the speed of the extension has been.
- It is also important to write down the characteristics of the lesions, such as their shape, their color, the formation or not of wounds, etc.
- Finally, we must observe if our dog has other symptoms.
In addition to contemplating all these data, the veterinarian will examine our dog and can perform tests such as the observation of hair and skin samples, scrapes, cultures, examination with the Wood lamp (discriminates the presence of fungi), biopsies or allergy tests . Next we will see the most common causes of skin irritation in dogs.
Atopic dermatitis, the main cause of irritation of the dog's skin
This condition presupposes a predisposition of the dog to develop reactions ofhypersensitivity to different allergens that are going to be located in the environment. The skin will appear irritated, inflamed and itchy as a reaction to mites, pollens, spores, etc. This dermatitis usually occurs in young dogs, aged between 6 months and 3 years. The lesions can be seasonal or maintained throughout the year and these can appear in a generalized way or focus on certain areas such as the face or feet. As the dog is going to scratch, it is easy for wounds, alopecia and other complications secondary to scratching. The picture can also be complicated with the development of otitis or conjunctivitis.
To establish what to do if our dog has irritated skin for this reason we must take into account that it is a treatable but not curable disease, which means that the treatment will be for life. Thus, contact with allergens should be avoided if possible. In general, atopic dermatitis is treated with baths, hypoallergenic diet and with fatty acids, scrupulous control of fleas (we will see that these parasites can be a source of dermatitis) and immunotherapy in recommended cases, that is, administration of vaccines. Medication to control itching or drugs against potential associated infections may also be prescribed during crises. It is a relatively frequent disorder.
Dog skin irritation due to food allergy
Occasionally, skin irritation has its origin in the hypersensitivity reaction to allergens present in food, such as meats, dairy products, cereals, soybeans, eggs, fish or some additives. It is another frequent dermatitis in dogs and has as its basic characteristic the itching in different parts of the body, which, as we have seen, may be responsible for secondary scratch injuries (autotraumatisms). It can also be complicated with otitis and, to a lesser extent, gastrointestinal signs.
In this case, what can we do if our dog has irritated skin? Offer you a elimination diet. This consists of feeding it for a minimum of 6 weeks with food that you have not tried before, for which you can resort to a homemade diet or any of those that are in the market specially formulated for these cases, hypoallergenic or hydrolyzed. If with the new diet the symptoms remit and return if we provide the original diet, the diagnosis will be confirmed. The treatment will consist of avoid food or food that trigger allergy. To identify them, we can redo the elimination diet, this time, based on a single source of protein to identify whether it is a type of meat or fish. However, the most effective is usually to go to the veterinarian to submit the animal to allergy testing. It should be noted that this type of allergy can appear at any age.
Irritation from allergic dermatitis to flea bites
In this dermatitis the dog reacts to antigens found in flea saliva. Thus, a single sting is enough for the irritation to be triggered. This problem can affect dogs of different ages and at any time of the year, since the conditions of most homes allow fleas to survive in any month.
The irritation will appear in the lumbosacral area, that is, approximately on the tail and the last part of the loin, although it can also extend to the sides or abdomen. As in the previous dermatitis, we will see that the dog has irritated skin and scratches a lot, which will produce injuries such as wounds or alopecia. The diagnosis is relatively simple when finding fleas on the animal or its remains in the form of black balls that are its droppings. If we wet them, we will see that they are made of blood. Sometimes it is not possible to identify the parasitic presence but the correct diagnosis will be considered if the dog responds favorably to antiparasitic treatment.
In these cases, what to do if the dog has irritated skin, establishes, according to our veterinarian, a strict deworming calendar, in addition to an environmental control to eliminate all phases of the parasite. It is important that all measures extend to all the animals that live together. You have to use products that eliminate adult fleas and inhibit immature forms.
My dog has irritated skin and scratches a lot - Sarcoptic mange
It is a dermatitis caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei in which we will see that the dog has irritated skin and scratches a lot, because this condition produces a very intense itching whereby the dog literally can't stop scratching. In addition, it is a very contagious disease, and can affect dogs, cats and humans, especially the smallest, elderly or previously ill. It affects the area of the elbows and ears and, as in the rest of pruritic dermatitis, we will see alopecia and autotraumatisms by scratching, as well as scabs.
The diagnosis can be reached by direct visualization of the mite under the microscope after taking a sample by scraping. Keep in mind that this observation is not always possible, so in these cases the diagnosis is confirmed when the animal responds to the treatment. Due to the risk of contagion, it is recommended to treat the environment, vacuum frequently and wash your hands thoroughly after handling the animal.
Recommendations to relieve the irritated skin of a dog
In addition to the above indications depending on the underlying cause, if we still wonder what to do if our dog has irritated skin or how to calm the irritated skin of a dog, we can follow a series of recommendations such as:
- Go to the vet as soon as possible, as this will prevent the dog from self-harm and, consequently, the picture gets worse.
- We must not apply any drug on irritated skin, it could be counterproductive, as well as making diagnosis difficult.
- Nor should we bathe the dog before having a diagnosis that allows us to use the most appropriate shampoo. Remember that it is not good to wash dogs very often, unless these baths are part of the treatment. However, if for any reason we can not go to the specialist immediately, our dog has irritated skin and scratches a lot, an emergency or first aid measure can be an oatmeal bath.
- We can apply as a first aid cold packs (but not frost) if the animal's skin is very hot to the touch.
- Vegetable oils with moisturizing properties such as olive oil can also help relieve the irritation of our dog's skin.
- We have to scrupulously follow the treatment prescribed by our veterinarian.
- Supplements or foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids help relieve itching and improve skin health.
- The prevention of irritations will depend on its cause. In general, it will include measures such as periodic deworming, hypoallergenic diets, avoid walks in the hours of greatest presence of pollen in the environment, hygiene and, above all, rapid veterinary assistance so that the problem is not aggravated.
This article is purely informative, at ExpertAnimal.com we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to What to do if my dog has irritated skin?, we recommend that you enter our Skin Problems section.
Why dogs lick their paws
The reasons why a dog may be licking its legs or even biting them are many. They can do it because they are suffering from a skin allergy, dermatitis, scabies or because they have weakness in them. There are spinal injuries or bone or hip problems, such as dysplasia, that make you lick.
And why do they do it? Well, because for dogs, that lick is an action that means healing. They also do it to draw your attention to the affected area. Therefore, if you are licking your legs for a problem in your limbs, bones or joints, you have to check how you walk, do you do it wrong, wobble or have a hard time keeping your balance? Then it is possible that this is. The solution is to go to the vet, there are no home remedies for bone problems.
If you are older, your veterinarian may recommend heat and a good diet with calcium, vitamin E and D booster, also reduce physical effort and be extremely affectionate, that will help you get ahead with a smile.
My dog licks his legs a lot and has them red
Mites, fleas and ticks are great enemies of your dog. If they stay on their legs, they will cause a great itching that will make them bite and lick until they are left in the flesh. Do not let that happen. Once you take it to the veterinarian for deworming, it's your turn to do your homework at home to avoid getting it back.
The first is personal hygiene. You can not bathe your dog every day, some breeds are not recommended to get in the water even every two months, but you can clean the pads of his legs and his coat. Every day sit next to him and comb his hair several times with a brush.
By doing so, you will drag dust particles, mites and dirt that are sources of infection for your skin. Allergies are also a cause of itching, both those produced for environmental and food reasons. Many caregivers believe that their dog scratches their legs because something has stung them there but, sometimes, a low quality meal causes them to react in them.
The main cause of red legs is contact with irritants. These can be the chemicals used in the meadow, in floor cleaners or the rock salt used in the winter. If you suspect this is the case, wash the dog's legs with mild detergent or dog shampoo and rinse them with a 50:50 mixture of white vinegar and water. For dogs with delicate legs, dog boots can keep them comfortable.
What can I do so that my dog does not suck the wounds
Therefore, it is essential that you change your food for a higher quality one. It is best to contact our online dietitians and ask them what your dog or puppy can eat based on their skin problem. It is important that you combine dry feed, wet recipes and natural food full of nutrients. With that the allergies will go away. It is important for a veterinarian to determine if something feels wrong.
Washing your dog a lot can spoil its skin, cause dermatitis and cause itching it needs so much to lick, but that does not mean you can not clean the pads it supports when walking. There are solutions prescribed by veterinarians that are poured into warm water, their legs are immersed in them and thus cleaned and disinfected.
This prevents infections and is a plus for your daily hygiene. To get this remedy, contact our veterinarians online, we will be happy to give you more specific solutions for the type of itching your dog has. On the internet you will find advice on applying honey or other food products to your skin to give you relief. We recommend that before applying them, consult with our specialists because it can be scabies or an allergy, so with those remedies you would be wasting valuable time to treat it conveniently.
Have you been left with doubts? Ask our veterinarians:
Red legs may be caused by other conditions. A common symptom of food allergy is red, swollen and itchy feet. Some parasites, particularly hookworms, enter the dog's system through their paws and while many of the dogs do not show symptoms until hookworms adhere to the intestinal walls, others may have irritation at the point of entry of the nematode. A dog can lick its paws incessantly due to a defeated nail or a spine, the constant licking produces redness and wounds called granulomas. A bored or stressed dog can also develop the habit of licking his paws
When one leg is red
If only one leg is red, it is unlikely that the cause is contact with irritants or allergies. It can be an insect bite, a thorn, a broken nail or fungal infection. Fungal infection can attack a single nail or toe. Also check in the middle of the fingers for foreign bodies or interdigital cysts. Unless it is an easy bite or spine, the dog probably needs the veterinarian's attention. If the cause is due to hookworms, a single dose of worm medication prescribed by the veterinarian will kill them and the irritation should disappear quickly.
When all the legs are red
Suspicion of contact irritation or food allergy if the dog's legs are red at all times. Red legs can also be a symptom of yeast overpopulation (Candida Albicans). Your veterinarian may prescribe medications such as anti-histamines to relieve your dog and help you get a treatment. If you observe that your dog constantly licks its paws and you cannot find another cause, consider whether it could be anxiety or boredom. If you suspect this could be, try spending more time with your dog exercising, playing and training. Try leaving him in a canine garden in the day and giving him something tasty and durable to chew so that he takes up his time when he is alone.
Red legs for allergy
Food allergy in dogs often manifests itself in red paws. If the dog also has a general scratch, hair loss and frequent indisposition of the stomach could be an allergy to a grain or a protein in his food. An elimination diet will help determine what causes the allergy and there are many options in anti-allergic food diets. Atopic (airborne) and seasonal allergy can also cause these symptoms including red and irritated legs.
The weather plays a fundamental role In this type of wounds. When it's too hot, Our dog has many possibilities to burn the pads with asphalt. Also, if the land is located frozen or with ice, the burns on the soles of the legs will have many ballots to arise in the animal.
For all this, both in summer and winter you must calculate very well when to walk your faithful companion. In the hottest months, avoid walking in the middle of the day, as the asphalt fumes! In the winter period, try to let your dog run as little as possible through the snow - especially if he is not used to it. You must Protect your dog from the cold in the winter time.
Avoid walks in the hours of excessive heat or cold
As we have already commented in this article, Burns on the pads are a type of common wounds that dogs can present in their plants. How can we avoid this type of injury? Preventing our dog from going outside when there are high temperatures and when he is likely to encounter a large number of ice and snow plates.
Apply aloe vera gel on the pads
We talk about a product that can serve both to prevent and to heal wounds. Aloe Vera has moisturizing, regenerating, healing, antiseptic and analgesic properties, characteristics that make it a perfect ally against the wounds on the pads. The plants of the dogs will gain resistance against any external erosion!
Physical exercise without going over
The sedentary lifestyle of our dog implies soft pads more sensitive to erosion. Therefore, it is it is convenient for the dog to have his daily physical activity dose. Of course, we must not pass, that excess exercise ends up wearing the soles of the legs!
Use products to harden the pads
There are products that grant the possibility of hardening these areas. Where can we get them? Our veterinarian can provide us with certain products of this type, although there are also pet shops that are responsible for marketing these substances. They are ideal when your dog is going to walk longer distances than usual!
Use ointments and protective creams
They are products that take care of strengthen and hydrate this area, factors that allow a much greater resistance of the pads before any considerable chafing.
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