All sorts of things can happen to a dog’s skin when he or she goes rolling around in the business that is life.
Dog skin conditions can range from the acute to the chronic; they can also be primary or secondary.
Diagnosis can be a tough process, with dogs tending to scratch the itch and further irritate the condition site.
There’s also a whole world of abrasions, cuts, infections, and hot spots to consider.
And bacteria, the sort of thing that gathers from swimming or other activities, can also provide a bit of trouble.
Types of Skin Conditions
Some skin conditions come from some sort of problem with immune responses. These “immune-mediated skin disorders” include canine atopic dermatitis, which is a hereditary skin allergy that produces itchiness around the eyes, muzzle and feet.
Atopic dermatitis can be exacerbated by pollen, molds and dust mites. Food allergies have also been known to produce symptoms.
There are also environmental conditions, including hot spots (acute moist dermatitis) and acral lick granulomas.
Hot spots are inflamed or infected areas of the skin that are irritated further by the dog licking and/or biting itself (see the picture on the right of a lick granuloma aka hot spot on my Lulu years ago).
These spots can spread quickly, sometimes even in a matter of hours, and are most common in dogs with thick undercoats.
Acral lick granulomas are similar to hot spots. These are raised, generally ulcerated areas on a dog’s ankle or wrist. These, like hot spots, are spread by the dog’s incessant licking like the one in the above picture. It can start out the size of nickle and a couple of hours later it could have quadrupled in size do the licking.
It’s scary to see, but easily treatable.
Why do dogs do this? Often times it’s simply boredom. Keep em busy, well exercised and entertained! 🙂
Treatments and Remedies
There are, of course, a number of treatment options for taking care of your dog’s various skin problems. Antibiotics are popular for all the wrong reasons and the best options, in our humble opinions of course, avoid these so-called “solutions.”
Instead, action should be taken as soon as any sign of skin condition is noticed. Start by cleaning the infected area and then disinfecting it. Disinfection should be done with a gentle solution that won’t irritate the dog’s skin further. It should also be non-toxic.
The solution we recommend is from Dr. Becker, a holistic vet. She says that it gets excellent results for most skin infections, however, I have never tried it myself. Here’s the instructions:
- Purchase Povidone Iodine from your local pharmacy and *NOTE DO NOT USE regular Iodine – it must be Povidone Iodine.
- Dilute the solution until it resembles the color of tea by using warm water before applying it to your dog’s skin.
- Then, use a clean wash cloth soaked with the solution and blot the solution over the problem areas of the dog’s skin very gently.
- This should clean and remove any bacteria from the area. *NOTE You must also gently clean the entire area of surrounding skin in the event that bacteria is present, but you can’t see any evidence. This stops the spreading!
- She recommends performing this process twice a day to avoid antibiotics and other harmful skin treatments. While she doesn’t indicate for how long; I would say to continue the twice daily regimen until you see improvement.
- The povidone iodine won’t hurt your dog at all if he or she licks it. However, the licking may irritate an already sensitive skin problem.