There are many different kinds of dog skin problems, and understanding the cause of these problems is an important part of getting the right treatment for your pet.
Some breeds are especially prone to particular skin issues, and some dog skin disorders are so common that any breed can suffer from them. It is very important to recognize these common skin problems so that you know how to treat them and when it's time to take the animal to the veterinarian.
Probably the number one cause of skin problems in dogs is fleas. Of course fleas cause excessive scratching, and if the scratching gets very severe, you may find your dog with a hot spot.
A hot spot is an area that has been scratched and bitten so much that the fur has fallen off of it. Also the area may be red, and the dog may scratch it until it bleeds. A hot spot is commonly caused by a flea bite, although it can also be caused by mange, gland problems, or allergies.
Mange is caused by a malfunctioning immune system, which brings too many mites to the surface of the dogs skin.
Mange is one of the dog skin problems that is not contagious, although scabies, which is related to mange, is contagious. Scabies is caused by an infection of a very specific mite, which is the Sarcoptes mite.
Another common dog skin disorder is an allergy, and allergies can be a bit more difficult to diagnose. The dog could be allergic to the food, or it could be allergic to pollen, dust, or other common allergens that affect humans. The animal could also be allergic to fleas or other insects that are found in your home.
Of course the proper treatment depends entirely on what is causing the skin problems. The easiest way to avoid any kind of problem with fleas is to treat your pet with flea medication every month.
Some common flea medications include Frontline, Advantage, and Advantix. These medications should be applied at the back of the dog's neck in an area where he is unable to scratch or lick. Also there is a new chewable flea medication available, which is called Comfortis.
Dog owners in various parts of the country use all of these brands with varying degrees of success.
If the dog skin problems do not seem to be caused by fleas or if your dog develops a large hot spot, then it is time to see the vet.
In the case of a hot spot, sometimes antibiotics are necessary because it can get infected. Also the vet may require your dog to wear a large collar that prevents it from being able to reach the hot spot.
In cases of mange or scabies, the veterinarian will prescribe medication and further treatment to take care of the problem.
If the vet determines that allergies are causing your dogs skin problems, then you will need to spend some time figuring out what the dog is allergic to.
Since food allergies are the most common, the vet will probably recommend that you start with an elimination diet, which involves eliminating foods one at a time from your dogs diet.
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