How to recognize, treat and cure dog skin infections.
A dog’s skin is surprisingly sensitive, and prone to all manner of skin allergies and infections.
Skin allergies generally manifest in redness and inflammation on a dog’s skin. The symptoms are generally mild, and often a simple change of diet will clear it up.
Dog skin infections are another matter altogether and can cause widespread symptoms like, swelling, hair loss, reduced appetite, lethargy, and general malaise.
Skin infections come in many forms. The most common is Superficial Pyoderma – also known as hot spots.
This is caused by a bacterial infection on the dog’s skin. It is avoidable and very easy to treat if caught early.
Dog Skin Infections: Warning Signs
Hot spots usual appear without any warning. They will show up overnight and need to be treated immediately.
The infection is usually indicated by a circular patch where the hair is missing and the skin becomes swollen, itchy, and exudes pus.
The dog will often lick, bite, and scratch at the infected area, causing it to bleed. Hot spots that are not treated promptly, will often spread. They are extremely uncomfortable for the dog, and if untreated can result in the dog becoming ill.
Dog Skin Infections: Which dogs are at risk?
Any dog can get a hot spot. But they tend to be more common in long-haired dogs, and those with a history of infections and allergies. Flea infestations and a lack of grooming are also contributors.
Having said that, a perfectly healthy short haired dog also can get hot spots, so it is by no means limited.
Humidity and warmth are another contributing factor due to moisture trapped in the coat. Hot spots will most commonly occur on the legs, backside, flanks, and feet, although they can also appear on the neck, ears and head.
Dog Skin Infections: Prevention
To avoid hot spots, target the cause of the problem and tackle it head on. If it is a grooming issue, make sure your dog is brushed down at least once a day, preferably twice. If the cause is an allergy, have your vet prescribe antihistamines, or a change of diet.
If the problem appears to be psychological, make sure the dog gets regular exercise and activities, to keep him from becoming bored – another contributing factor.
These commonsense measures will head off dog skin infections before they start.