Sensitive skin, skin allergies, dermatitis and a general propensity to the skin becoming sore or irritated with ease are all chronic if not usually overly serious health issues that affect a reasonable number of dogs in the UK.
Some dog breeds are also more prone to developing long-term or recurrent skin issues too, such as the English bulldog – and for owners of dogs that suffer from skin issues, keeping the problem under control and keeping the dog comfortable can be an ongoing challenge.
If your dog does suffer from regular skin issues or if they seem to have sensitive skin, you will need to work with your vet to get to the bottom of the issue where possible, and to establish what can help your dog in order to keep the issue under control and minimise the frequency and severity of flare-ups.
This can take time and a reasonable amount of trial and error, and what works for one dog might make little to no difference to another – but most dog owners who have been dealing with dog skin sensitivities and related issues for the long term soon develop a good understanding of what is needed at various times, and the types of thing that can help them and their dogs to cope with the issue.
With this in mind, this article will share with you six useful products that you might want to keep to hand or try out if your dog suffers from skin sensitivities or allergies, which can help you to cope and help your dog to feel more comfortable.
It is important to speak to your vet before trying something new if they are under treatment for the condition in question, but with this caveat in mind, read on for our top six picks.
First of all, feeding your dog the appropriate diet for their age and life stage is important even for dogs with no health issues, and getting the balance right is even more vital if you’re also trying to tackle or keep on top of a skin problem.
Whether the right diet for your dog simply means one that contains all of the nutrients they need and the right balance of ingredients or if they need a special diet to avoid triggering allergies, you should work with your vet to determine the right type of food for your dog and why, and also bear in mind that treats or scraps can affect things as well.
Certain types of dietary supplements can help to support healthy skin and a natural balance of bacteria on the skin, and whilst these won’t usually stop allergy flare ups or unexplained or chronic skin issues in and of themselves, they can improve the general resilience and health of the skin.
This in turn means that potential damage or issues caused by the underlying problem will be lessened in terms of impact, and that your dog’s skin will recover faster and more effectively in between bouts.
Bathing a dog with skin issues is usually an integral part of managing the condition, but bathing your dog too often or with products that are overly harsh will be counterproductive, and may worsen things.
Choosing the right shampoo for this is important, and in some cases, your vet may prescribe a special shampoo that is appropriate for your dog’s skin, coat, and the issue that they are facing.
However, if you don’t have a prescription shampoo, or to use in between bathing with this product, you need to choose a shampoo that is gentle and nourishing but that won’t trigger any further issues in and of itself.
Products that are of the right pH for your dog’s skin and that are very mild and nourishing are best, such as oatmeal shampoos and other similar variants.
A skin and coat conditioner can help a lot too when it comes to keeping your dog’s skin supple and comfortable and avoiding the dryness and tightness that often accompanies or triggers irritations, and this needs to be chosen with care too.
A good conditioner for a dog with skin issues needs to be light and gentle and not clog the skin and pores, and be nourishing too, as well as not containing any potential allergenic triggers.
Topical creams and gels might help to ease localised skin flare-ups, and these come in a variety of different formats to tackle different issues.
Some dogs may benefit from a prescription hydrocortisone cream for short-term use, a thick barrier cream, a nourishing emollient or a cooling, soothing gel – talk to your vet about the most appropriate option for your own dog, and always follow their directions.
Finally, not all skin problems in dogs are triggered by allergies, but a significant number are – and this may be the case even if you cannot pinpoint the precise allergen in question.
Antihistamines that can be given to counteract flare-ups or on a daily basis when allergies are particularly active can go a long way towards helping your dog to feel happier and more comfortable, and to avoiding irritations of the skin that will worsen if left untreated.