Why Dogs Have Frequent Skin Reactions
The dog’s body is set up to react to allergies with skin symptoms, unlike humans who react with nasal symptoms. When a dog contacts pollens or allergens, their skin will become irritated and dry, just as the human nasal cavity will become irritated. A scaly appearance and flaky skin can then be caused by dry skin itself. The dryness signals the dog that there is irritation, and the dog scratches excessively, resulting in rashes and aggravated skin spots.
Skin problems may also be genetic and can vary in seriousness. Breeds such as the German Shepherd and Dachshund are more susceptible to skin problems, although many other breeds can inherit skin disorders. Skin problems could cause a wide range of side effects, such as hot spots, greasy and smelly skin, ear inflammation and excessive licking.
Skin Infections Caused by Bacteria
Bacterial infections are caused by staphylococci, a bacterium that is not contagious to pets or humans. Signs of a staph infection are itchy skin and development of yellow pustules. The infection tends to be concentrated around the trunk of the body, but may affect all areas of the body. Other than the trunk, the chin is also sensitive to deep staph infection and can be spotted by chin acne. Pug nosed breeds and overweight dogs are habitually bothered by staph infections because of the many skin folds on their body.
The cause of this infection is usually determined by the dog’s history and lesion location. Staph infections are usually the result of a larger disease such as allergies or parasitism. These infections may be treated by removing hair surrounding the infected area and washing with an antibiotic shampoo.
Skin Diseases Caused by Allergies
A vast majority of skin problems are caused by allergies. Allergies are developed at any time and can cause irritation at any moment. Common allergens are dust mites, molds, pollens and most characteristic, the flea. Because fleas cannot survive the cold during winter, dogs in cold climates are typically unaffected by flea allergies; but in warmer climates, dogs are excellent candidates for allergic reactions caused by fleas.
Allergic skin diseases can be quickly spotted by dog itching. Flea allergies will primarily affect the back towards the tail. An irritated face, chest or abdomen are usually indicators of a pollen or dust allergy. If your dog is continually licking an area or scratching at it, he probably has a skin infection on that spot. Treatment for allergic skin diseases is usually a control. Antihistamines will relieve the self-destructive itching. Keeping the environment free of fleas and dust mites will also contain the allergies and reduce reaction.
Fungal Skin Disease
Ringworm is the common result of a fungal skin infection. This disease typically preys on puppies, and thrives in dead tissues and follicles, such as hair and skin. Because of this, the infected dog may have dry, circular patches, typically by the legs and head. The dry spots may develop into lesions, which can be treated by clipping the hair around the lesion and applying fungicides to the coat.
Fungal skin infection can spread to humans, particularly children, and other pets. When treating your dog for ringworm, it is best to keep him isolated from other animals and children to control the infection.
Skin diseases are common to nearly all dogs. Since dog skin is highly sensitive, minimize allergic reaction by keeping the dog’s environment clean and free from any potential allergens.