Unfortunately, skin problems are very common in dogs. In fact, they are often the most common cause for a trip to the vet. A flaky, dry coat, itching / scratching are all common symptoms that raise concern. Allergies and environmental factors can play a part, but there are some steps around diet and topical products you can take to help prevent skin irritation and encourage a healthy, shiny coat.
Diet plays a key role in healthy skin for humans and for dogs – you are what you eat.
Omega 3 fatty acids possess a variety of well-known health benefits. They promote joint function, aid in the prevention and treatment of arthritis, reduces inflammation in the joints and fights heart disease. But did you know they are also a powerful supplement when it comes to skin? Some skin conditions are the result of a poor immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system and are said to hydrate the skin and soothe inflammation. They also contribute to a healthy, shiny coat, as the fatty acids nourish hair follicles. Salmon Oil is an excellent source of Omega 3 and it is easily incorporated into your dog’s diet; just add it to their main meal. Alternatively, you might consider a supplement such as Bionic Biotic. Its active ingredients promote digestive health, solid stools and immunity, as well as targeting the symptoms often associated with skin conditions.
2. Bathing and topical products
Over-bathing can cause skin irritation in dogs, as the washing process can be drying to the skin. It is not recommended to bathe your dog more than once a week, unless you are instructed to do so by a vet. When it comes to skincare products, try to choose gentle options that are suited to your dog’s skin. Much like our own skin and hair care routine, narrowing down the right products for your dog can often be a case of trial and error. As a general guide, try to choose products that are moisturising or soap-free, as these are less likely to dry out the skin and cause irritation. If your dog suffers from allergies, go for a mild, hypoallergenic shampoo that will help reduce the chances of allergies being triggered. A key factor to bear in mind when it comes to choosing topical products is their ingredients; the more you can understand the better! Products containing harsh elements are likely to irritate the skin in the long term. As a general indication, brightly coloured products are likely to contain artificial colouring and products that have a strong / overpowering “perfume” scent are likely to contain artificial fragrances; unnecessary ingredients that may cause irritation.
Your dog shampoo should condition the coat and encourage the skin’s moisture. Some of the following ingredients are helpful and can be found in many natural products:
Honey – naturally antibacterial
Vitamin E – prevents and repairs skin damage
Peppermint – naturally cooling and calming
Aloe Vera – naturally soothing and healing
If bathing is a stressful time for your dog, you might consider choosing a product containing lavender, such as Faith In Nature’s Calming Dog Shampoo. Lavender is naturally calming and the scent will leave your pooch smelling fresh. The product is free-from artificial colours and perfumes, parabens, SLS and MI. If bath time goes well, why not reward your pooch with some Calming Crunchies – which also contain lavender.
For more tips on bathing your dog, click here.