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The Poodle is of course a very distinctive and instantly recognisable dog breed, and one that we still see a reasonable number of within the UK, although they are not as popular today as they were a couple of decades ago. However, if you added up all of the dogs in the UK that have one poodle parent or a significant amount of poodle within their gene pool, you would reach a number that is on a par with the most popular pedigree dog breeds.
This is because the poodle is one of the most common dog breeds used in deliberate hybrid crossings, to produce types like the Cockapoo and Labradoodle, both of which are so popular that these cross-breeds are more common than many full pedigree dog breeds.
The poodle is so widely used in hybrid crossings because the coat of the poodle is fairly unique, in that it doesn’t shed hair that is naturally lost from the coat but instead, retains it tangled up in the poodle’s wiry fur. This makes the breed and cross-breeds that retain the same coat type very popular with people who are sensitive to allergies or that often find themselves allergic to dogs, as the non-shedding trait of the poodle helps to reduce the amount of allergenic dander that they shed.
However, despite the poodle coat being low in allergens for people, the poodle breed as a whole is prone to a few skin and coat problems and irritations of their own, which poodle owners and potential owners should be aware of.
In this article, we will look at some of the most common skin and coat problems that can arise in the poodle dog breed, and how to identify them. Read on to learn more.
Sebaceous adenitis is an inflammatory skin condition that is rare across the canine population as a whole, but more common in poodles. The condition is not contagious between dogs, but neither can it be reversed or cured, which means that poodle owners whose dogs are affected must learn to manage the condition and deal with the symptoms to keep the dog comfortable. Sebaceous adenitis tends to flare up from time to time in affected dogs, often interspersed with long periods without problems.
Sebaceous adenitis in poodles can lead to hair loss and irregular clumps of matted and tightly tangled hair, regardless of how vigilant you are about grooming your dog.
The fur itself may develop a distinctive funky smell, and the texture of the fur changes over time too, becoming brittle and coarse and generally, looking dull and unhealthy.
The condition can cause the dog’s skin to become itchy and irritated, as well as prone to bacterial infections of the hair follicles. The skin itself may become dry and scaly, and may develop lesions that can be irritating and painful.
Hot spots is a wide-reaching term used to describe inflamed, red or sore areas of the skin, which may be harbouring pus underneath. Hot spots sometimes arise as a secondary complication of other systemic health conditions, and should be checked out by your vet as the underlying pus that is present in some hot spots will need to be drained or treated with antibiotics.
Because the poodle coat is wiry and holds onto hair that is shed, brushing and grooming to remove this loose hair is important to keep your poodle’s skin and coat in good condition. If this doesn’t happen, the fur will become matted and tangled up very quickly, particularly in hard to reach areas like the underbelly and the armpits.
Matts of fur can pull on the dog’s skin as well as causing the underlying skin to become sore, so be vigilant about grooming and check your dog over regularly for signs of problems.
It can be hard to part the poodle fur right down to the skin, but this is an important part of checking your dog over and grooming them, to prevent matting, tangling and other problems. Dried-on dirt settling into skin creases can lead to sores and irritation, as well as clogging the pores and hair follicles, which can lead to spots and infections.
Cushing’s disease occurs more often in the poodle dog breed than most other breeds, and can cause a range of systemic symptoms as well as issues with the skin and coat directly.
Dogs with Cushing’s disease may begin to lose fur, and suffer from dull, dry skin that flakes easily. They are also likely to develop spots and congested pores, and develop other symptoms related to other areas of the body too, so it is important to get your vet to check your dog out and get the condition under control.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that arises when the dog’s thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough regulatory hormones, which can have an impact on your dog’s whole body as well as their skin. Poodles again have slightly elevated risk factors for the condition.
Thyroid disorders can cause changes in the look and feel of your dog’s skin and coat, including very dry, flaky skin and shedding hair, as well as thickening of the skin or darkening of certain areas of the skin and coat.
Fortunately, this condition can be managed with medication, so again, ask your vet to examine and diagnose your dog.
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