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Skin Irritation in Dogs: How to Treat It at Home

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Dermatitis is one of the most frequent skin conditions in dogs. If you notice your dog constantly scratching itself, it's probably time to see a veterinarian. Read today's article to find out more about skin irritation in dogs.
Skin Irritation in Dogs: How to Treat It at Home
Last update: 23 September, 2020

One of the most common challenges that animal owners face is that of skin irritation in dogs. This problem can often be caused by insect bites or food allergies.

Despite the fact that it’s a common pathology, many dog owners may have questions regarding how to deal with it at home. Below, we’ll take on the most frequent questions regarding this issue. What’s more, we’ll offer options regarding how to manage it.

Skin irritation in dogs?

Given that the skin is the most extensive integumentary systems in the body, canine dermatosis can occur in different areas. Therefore, it’s important to carefully inspect the skin if you’ve noticed areas with skin irritation.

When it comes to the causes of skin irritation in dogs, there are different causes. These can range from insect bites to allergies (food allergies and others).

What illnesses produce skin irritations in dogs?

The most common skin problems have to do with insect bites, allergies, or irritations. Therefore, the most common illnesses related to the skin are:

  • Dermatitis. There are different classifications when it comes to dermatitis, including parasitic, bacterial, and fungal.
  • Allergic dermatitis. Food allergies are the number one cause of atopic dermatitis in dogs. The second is the most frequent skin disease in dogs, affecting between 10-15% of animals.
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What behavior should pet owners watch out for?

When dogs feel uncomfortable, they express their irritation through different behaviors. Therefore, you should watch out for the behaviors below:

  • Frequent scratching
  • Biting the skin
  • Rubbing up against other objects

How to combat skin irritation in dogs at home

The advice below can help relieve itching in animals. However, you should never administer medication without first consulting with a veterinarian.

Cold water baths

One of the best ways to calm itchy skin in dogs is with a cold water bath. Bathing isn’t usually one of the things dogs enjoy most, but it’s important when it comes to their health.

Normally, it’s best to bathe dogs with warm water, and only use cold water in the summer. That’s because their body temperature is very high–averaging between 100 and 102 degrees.

Therefore, dogs are more sensitive to cold water than humans because the contrast is greater. However, to relieve itching or summer heat, you can use water that’s cooler than 102 degrees.

Dermatological shampoos

Currently, you can find all sorts of shampoos–aromatic, all-natural, ecological, etc. However, not all of them can be used in cases of dermatitis.

When you need to wash the skin of animals that have dermatitis, it’s best to use dermatological shampoosTo be more specific, shampoos that have a calming and hydrating effect.

Examples of this type of shampoos are those that contain colloidal extracts of oatmeal and glycerine. It’s also a good idea to be careful when it comes to applying them to your dog’s skin.

During the bath, you should apply it to the skin by means of a gentle, energetic massage, without hurting the skin. The shampoo has to be in contact with the dog’s skin for around 10 minutes in order for it to be effective.

Finally, you’ll rinse off the shampoo and dry your pet. It’s important to avoid the use of dryers. Rather, use towels or allow your dog to air dry

Hydrating and calming lotions

Lotions are another one of the most common and recommended remedies for skin irritation in dogs. The market offers a number of varieties, but not all of them are appropriate for these cases.

When the time comes to apply them to irritated skin, experts recommend hydrating lotions. For example, any creams that contain urea, glycerine, or essential fatty acids are beneficial.

This way, you’ll keep your dog’s skin hydrated and avoid exposing it to other lotions that can make itching worse. However, you should keep any known allergies in mind when it comes to choosing the right lotion

Avoid contact with certain materials

When it comes to skin irritation in dogs, veterinarians may recommend avoiding the use of certain textile materials. For example, the wool and fiber present in different elements like rugs, towels, and blankets.

Though it may not seem like it, these materials can contribute to the development of skin irritation. Therefore, in the case of outbreaks, it’s best to keep your dog from coming into contact with these fibers.
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If you notice that your dog seems restless or is behaving strangely, you should take it to the vet. Remember, only a specialist can diagnose the cause of itching and recommend the right treatment.

It’s always best to practice precaution and ask for professional advice before applying home remedies, as you don’t know how each one will react.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • LAS ENFERMEDADES DE LA PIEL EN PERROS [Internet]. Purina® PRO PLAN®. [citado 9 de julio de 2020]. Disponible en: https://www.purina.es/proplan/consejos/enfermedades-de-la-piel-en-perros
  • Rodríguez PS. Enfoque diagnóstico y control del prurito en el perro. :8. Disponible en: http://axonveterinaria.net/web_axoncomunicacion/centroveterinario/54/cv_54_Enfoque_diagnostico_prurito_perro.pdf

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.