August 30, 2020 13 min read
Has your itchy dog been suffering from dry dog skin, dog dandruff, dog skin allergies, dog skin infections or other signs of dog skin conditions and irritation such as a dog skin rash on their belly or dog hair loss? Some of the telltale signs are excessive dog scratching, itching, and smelly wrinkle folds. Even more distressing is when a poor pup is so desperate for itch relief that they chew themselves raw or bite their own skin.
We will cover:
Skin conditions make it hard for your pup to be comfortable in their own skin if not taken care of early with a good, high-quality dog balm and paw wax.
Read on for our step-by-step instructions to help you identify the root of your dog’s skin condition so you can give your dog the itch relief they deserve and stop dog scratching at its root.
What causes dry dog skin?
A soft, thick, and glowing coat are all signs of a healthy dog. Dry dog skin, on the other hand, is indicative of an external or internal medical condition in your pup. We’re going to reveal the secrets to gently taking care of dry dog skin in the comfort of your home.
Like humans, dogs too have sensitive skin that needs taking care of. In fact, a dog’s skin is only 1/3 the thickness of human skin, so they are even more vulnerable to irritation and some allergens. Unlike cats, dogs rarely take the time to thoroughly groom themselves, so it’s up to us pup parents to give them a hand.
If your dog has a skin condition, it is usually no cause for alarm. Most dry dog skin problems can be solved at home with over-the-counter-products. If a known dog skin allergy is causing your pup excessive itching and other symptoms, make sure you follow the vet’s recommendations and treatment plan.
Common factors that can cause skin conditions in your pup include:
Pollen from blooming flowers and plants could cause your dog to itch and scratch the coat. Since most flowers bloom around spring, your dog will probably itch and scratch more during this season. Also, watch out for other symptoms like sneezing and watery eyes.
Another common environmental allergen is insects like bees, fleas, and ticks. When these insects sting or bite their host, the histamine or saliva produced causes allergic reactions in both humans and dogs. In dogs, the allergies manifest as painful, itchy, and inflamed skin.
Your pup could also be allergic to some of the ingredients in winter salt ice melt products. These not only dry out the skin and paws, but often also contain toxins, all of which may cause paws to crack.
Some diseases attack various organs in your dog which may include the skin. Diseases like Cushing's and hypothyroidism are two diseases that may be marked by dry dog skin or may mimic dog skin allergy symptoms. Canine dermatitis or canine atopy is another cause of dry dog skin and other symptoms in your pup.
Reaction to chemicals
Dogs can react to chemicals found in soaps, lotions, or cleaning agents around the home. Even if a pet-product is approved as friendly on dogs, some canines with sensitive skin can still get a reaction. Reaction to chemicals not only causes dry dog skin it can also lead to atopic dermatitis which we will explain later.
The phrase 'You are what you eat' also applies to dogs. Dogs that do not get all the essential proteins, vitamins and minerals required are more likely to suffer from dry dog skin problems among other symptoms.
Perhaps your pup is simply having a hard time digesting their food. Dogs with digestive issues like gastritis are often unable to digest food properly and may end up with a nutrition deficiency. This can be marked by dry skin, weight loss and theircoat turning from lustrous to dull.
Dry dog skin is more common in canines that are more prone to certain skin infections. Dog breeds like the standard poodle are vulnerable to a skin condition that hinders the self-lubrication of their skin. This results in their coat looking dull and flaky. It is important to know whether your pup’s particular breed is susceptible to skin conditions.
How to take care of dog dry skin at home?
While dry dog skin is easy to spot in dogs with short coats, it may take a while to notice the same in longhaired breeds like the Shih Tzu. But long-haired or not, if your dog is suffering from dry skin, you will likely spot one or more of these symptoms:
How to treat dry dog skin at home
As with other ailments, the first step is diagnosis in order to confirm what is causing your dog’s dry skin. A trained vet can help by examining your dog’s coat and determining the root of the problem. Sometimes the cause can be something as simple as the chlorine in your pool or a specific allergen in the dog's home environment.
Confirm or rule out whether your dog's dry skin has diet-related causes. Their skin needs plenty of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants to keep it moist and healthy. If your dog is not getting enough nutrients from their dry kibble, the vet may recommend supplementing their diet with additional meats and vegetables.
Some follow a general rule of thumb to feed 50% meaty bones, 25% lean meat, 10% organ meat, and 10% vegetables. Organ meat like lung and liver are rich in vitamins that nourish the skin. Veggies like broccoli, spinach, and carrots, also nourish the skin and boost the dog’s immunity.
Apply a high-quality dog balm such as Pup Wax®
You can help your pup be comfortable in their own skin again by applying a good, high-quality dog balm and paw wax such as Pup Wax®, which is made from organic, clean ingredients that soothe & heal dry dog skin and many dog skin irritations. Pup Wax® dog balms form a humectant barrier that seals moisture in and irritants out to provide fast itch relief and heal dog skin rashes quickly so that dog scratching stops today!
In addition to feeding your dog a healthy diet, you should moisturize dry areas of the skin with the high-quality dog balm and groom their coat frequently to keep it neat and shiny. There are plenty of wax balm products on the market today. Though they may moisturize dry skin, they usually contain cheap fillers and other harmful ingredients, that may cause more health problems for your pup over time. Pup Wax® dog balms soothe and moisturize dry dog skin using only high quality and clean ingredients. They consist of barrier formulas that add a layer of protection over the affected area to prevent further drying and irritation.
Always go the organic route when considering wax balms for dry cracked dog skin. Read through the ingredients and confirm there are no toxins or damaging ingredients in the product. It is best to use products without mineral oil, cocoa butter, comfrey, tea tree oil, wintergreen oil, ylang ylang, petrolatum, or paraffin wax. We also recommend avoiding dog balms with perfumes and fragrances, which are irritating to pup's sensitive noses. The wax balm you choose should not only moisturize dry dog skin but also carry healing properties that directly benefit your dog's well-being in addition to providing itch relief.
Fortunately, there are plenty of organic wax-based dog balms on the market that effectively address the issue of dry cracked dog paws. One such product is Pup Wax® which, includes only natural ingredients that soothe and heal dry and cracked itchy dog skin. Learn more here.
We use only the best ingredients in our Pup Wax ® dog balms for dry cracked dog skin including:
Virgin coconut oil
Hemp Seed Oil
Organic shea butter
Derived from whole shea butter seeds, it acts as a natural moisturizer that soothes dry paw pads. Organic shea butter has a thick consistency that helps retain moisture on your pup's thin skin. Another health benefit of shea butter is increasing capillary circulation which in turn boosts healing and cell regeneration.
Wax balms with beeswax as an ingredient provide a protective layer over large areas, belly rashes, and any cracks or cuts. Also, beeswax is a natural emollient with anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce skin irritation. Beeswax carries antibacterial and antiviral properties that could heal festered cracked skin and red dog skin rashes.
Virgin coconut oil
There is a plethora of benefits to be found in coconut oil for dogs. Virgin coconut oil is said to improve hotspots and reduce skin irritation. Coconut oil would be perfect for a dog that feels itchy due to external irritants like ice salt. Organic coconut oil also moisturizes and repairs dry damaged skin. If your dog's itchy skin is caused by food allergens, virgin coconut oil will help alleviate the symptoms.
Argan oil contains the antioxidant y-tocopherol which fights free radicals in the skin. This oil also makes the skin lustrous whilst protecting it from malignant growth. If you are looking for a great skin moisturizer and revitalizer, argan oil will do it for your pup. One study has also found that this oil inhibits prostate cancer in dogs. Read more here.
Hemp seed oil
Hemp seed oil promotes the vibrancy and elasticity of the skin. As a non-saturated plant-based oil, hemp seed also packs lots of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. If your dog's dry, itchy skin is as the result of Zinc deficiency, the Omega 3 in hemp seed oil helps to replenish this missing mineral.
Candelilla wax shares many of the same properties with beeswax and is a great alternative for vegans and vegan dogs. It adds a thick even barrier over the skin which traps moisture and keeps the skin hydrated.
As a rule of thumb, avoid wax balm products that contain:
The frequency of the massage will depend on how dry your dog's skin is. Also, you may have to maintain this skin regimen for dog breeds that are susceptible to dry skin.Let's talk dog wrinkles
Canine obesity makes a dog’s skin enlarge and gather in folds or wrinkles. However, not all wrinkles on a dog are necessarily from weight gain. "Wrinkly" dog breeds born with folds on their skin include:
Dog wrinkles make breeds like the Shar-Pei and Mastiff beautiful to look at. Unfortunately one issue with dog wrinkles is that they are a hotbed for moisture, dirt, and debris. This can cause three problems in your dog:
Your pup’s skin can get itchy if it is dirty and moist in the wrinkle folds between the wrinkles. With constant biting and pawing at the itchy skin, cuts and abrasions may develop. Some dogs will rub themselves on surfaces like carpets to find relief. This not only makes the skin itchy but it can exacerbate irritation and dog skin dryness.
What's that smell?
When food or debris gets stuck between the wrinkles, it begins to rot and form a bad odor. It can get pretty stinky in there if your pup’s coat is not cleaned. Making matters worse, trapped dirt between the wrinkles provides a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast.
When bacterial or yeast infections develop in wrinkle folds, they cause the skin to become inflamed. This inflammation will manifest as red bumpy patches on the skin. Besides being itchy, your pup will also feel irritated by the pain and discomfort of the infection.
How to treat wrinkle infections in your dog
First, confirm that infection is indeed a wrinkle infection and its cause with the vet. Once the cause of the infection is established, your vet will prescribe medication to help clear the infection.
Then you'll have to ensure your dog’s wrinkles remain clean and dry at all times. If the dog wrinkles are due to canine obesity, try and get your dog to lose weight. You can do this by:
Dogs with natural wrinkles require regular grooming. Gently clean the pup’s wrinkles at least once a day. While at it, always check between the wrinkles for parasites or signs of infection.
Alcohol-free wipes are the best for cleaning dog wrinkles. You can purchase canine wipes at pet stores or use a clean damp cloth for cleaning the coat. But never use alcohol-based products on your dog's skin. These cause or worsen dry dog skin.
Q-tips are great for cleaning those unreachable areas on your dog’s wrinkles, but be gentle with q-tips to prevent any injuries.
It is possible to seal in moisture between your dog’s clean wrinkles by using dog balm. Pup Wax® dog balm has the added benefits of carrying ingredients that will fight germs and help keep bacteria from developing on your pup’s skin.
Organic beeswax in Pup Wax® has proven anti-inflammatory properties. This ingredient will help soothe the itching and irritation dogs experience between their skin folds. Another powerful ingredient in Pup Wax® is organic coconut oil. Coconut oil tones down hotspots (red blemishes) and soothes an itchy coat too.
Allergic dermatitis Canine allergic dermatitis or atopic dermatitis is a dog skin allergy condition that can affect any dog. It is caused mainly by allergens that a dog inhales or comes into contact with. Common allergens that can affect your pup include:
Your pup may also swallow a chemical or substance that causes allergic reactions.
Detecting dog skin allergies
Vets conduct a special test called Intradermal allergy testing. Different types of allergens are injected into the dog’s skin then monitored to determine the specific allergen(s) your dog reacts to.
Dog skin allergies caused by airborne substances are not easy to control. A lot of vets recommend corticosteroids for managing allergic symptoms. Though steroids work, they are not without side effects if the cumulative dosage is high enough over time.
There are alternative methods for treating allergic dermatitis. Some vets will recommend a topical application of antihistamines combined with fatty acids. Another option is special canine immunotherapy that specifically targets your dog’s allergies.
We recommend combining your dog’s treatment plan with Pup Wax® to soothe your pup, encourage faster healing, and reduce symptoms like itching.
Pup Wax® has useful ingredients like hemp seed oil which is rich in Omega 3 fatty oils. This can help escalate your pup's recovery process if you go for the antihistamine-fatty acids treatment plan.
The organic virgin coconut oil in Pup Wax® can help reduce the effects of allergens on your dog, helping them stay more comfortable.
Dog yeast infection
We already know that yeast infection can develop if your dog has dirt or debris trapped between their wrinkles. However, yeast infections do not affect wrinkly dogs alone. Dogs with smooth coats and floppy ears are also at risk of developing yeast infections if they do not maintain proper hygiene.
If your pup is scratching and licking their ears a lot, there is a chance they have a yeast infection. Yeast infections can also transfer to your dog's paws causing them to bite and chew at their paws a lot. On closer inspection, the skin around the ear and paws will appear inflamed or discolored from the constant scratching.
Fortunately, you can easily treat yeast infection at home using apple cider vinegar! Mix equal parts of vinegar and water then bathe your dog’s ears and paws with the solution. You can also add some vinegar into their food and drinking water to fight the skin infection from the inside.
Combining Pup Wax® with apple cider vinegar is an unbeatable solution to combating dog yeast infections naturally. The combination of ingredients in Pup Wax® together with apple cider vinegar can reduce itchiness and tone down inflammation caused by the yeast fungus.
Virgin coconut oil prevents the yeast fungus from multiplying and spreading the yeast infection. Organic beeswax also naturally tones down inflammation and fights bacteria and viruses that may cause opportunistic infections.
The hemp seed oil in Pup Wax® destroys the crusty layer (caused by the yeast fungus) and restores the skin's elasticity. Beeswax moistens the skin and creates a protective barrier that prevents other allergens from attacking your pup's skin.
How to prevent common dog skin infections
Prevention is definitely better than waiting until it's too late and having to cure discomfort. It also takes away some of the burden in medical costs for treating dog skin problems. Other common skin conditions to look out for in dogs are:
Hotspots present themselves as localized inflammation on your dog’s skin. They mostly happen around the ears and flank. If not taken care of early, they can graduate to painful lesion with pus and discharge.
Fortunately, you can prevent hotspots from progressing by drying and disinfecting them. First, trim down the hair around the hotspot. Then use an antiseptic pet shampoo to disinfect the wound. Antiseptic shampoos that contain chlorhexidine will dry out the hotspot.
Finally, seal the wound with Pup Wax® dog skin balm. The coconut oil in Pup Wax® prevents the spread of infection while beeswax reduces inflammation. Also, Pup Wax® has antibacterial properties that keep germs from multiplying and speed up the healing process.
Mange is caused by microscopic mites that live on a dog’s skin. This skin condition will only occur when the number of mites on the skin multiply beyond control. Demodectic mange is triggered by:
Demodex mange is not contagious and is easy to treat. Sarcoptic mange or scabies is highly contagious and the only way to prevent it is keeping your dog away from an infected dog. Also, bathing your dog with antiparasitic pet shampoos helps kill mites and control their spread.
Don’t shy away from giving your pup a canine massage once a while. Using Pup Wax® to massage their face, paws, and skin can help protect your dog. The beeswax in Pup Wax® forms a protective barrier on the skin. This can prevent mite movement and burrowing of mites into dog’s skin. Virgin coconut oil and organic beeswax work together to keep bacteria, viruses, and allergens away.
Atopic dermatitis is preventable by bathing your dog with antiseptic pet shampoos. Apply Pup Wax® on your dog’s skin after every wash to seal in moisture and prevent dry skin. The virgin coconut oil in Pup Wax® can inhibit the effect of environmental allergens on your dog’s skin.
Dry dog skin can be very uncomfortable for your pup. If you spot the signs of dry dog skin, a trip to the vet is in order. Once the cause of your dog's dry skin is confirmed, follow the suggestions above as appropriate and then help soothe their coat with Pup Wax® for fast, gentle, and hydrating relief for your pup.
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