You know what it’s like to deal with an irritating rash or itchy mosquito bites: Annoying, miserable, and frustrating! Now think about your dog who may be dealing with hot spots and other irksome skin conditions. As you watch your pup frantically scratch and lick, all you want is to provide relief. Fortunately for Fido, there are some natural solutions to address the problem and get your pet on the road back to healthy skin.
The root causes for a dog’s skin problems can be endless. A hot spot—technically known as acute moist dermatitis—is a localized area of skin inflammation and bacterial infection. The red, inflamed skin lesion is made worse by scratching, licking, or chewing the area. Because hot spots are common and can appear quickly, they can also become infected easily. This is problematic since a dog’s skin makes up an important part of its immune system, acting as a natural barrier to germs. That’s why optimal skin health is crucial for your pup’s overall health.
For chronic to occasional skin issues, it’s a good idea to have an animal-specific comfrey cream on hand. Backed by numerous studies and a rich history of use, comfrey can extinguish inflammation and ignite cellular repair. But while this herb has been used to treat skin conditions in the past—for both people and their pets—research has discovered a dark side to traditional comfrey. It turns out that certain compounds in the plant called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) can trigger liver damage. Fortunately, modern science has cultivated a PA-free form of comfrey known as Trauma Comfrey for topical use that provides all the skin benefits without the dangerous side effects. In fact, while it makes sense to try and prevent your dog from licking a topical cream, it’s not harmful if ingested—an important consideration when it comes to canine topical care cream. Applying a Trauma Comfrey cream not only relieves pain, it also speeds healing. To make sure you’re getting a safe and effective cream, seek out a PA-free cream containing GMO-free comfrey, which is specifically grown in foothills of the Bavarian Alps.
Essential fatty acids also help with skin problems by ensuring adequate moisture content in your dog’s skin and fur. Omegas-3s, -6s, and -9s are essential fats for a dog, but aren’t produced in the body. That makes supplementation critical. In a two-month clinical research study, dogs with atopic dermatitis who received supplemental fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, showed improvement in the structural layers of their skin. Another food study found that adding a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 to food stopped severe itching (pruritus) due to atopic dermatitis in as little as seven days. Other research reports that, over a 12 week period, increasing healthy dietary fats resulted in a significant improvement in hair coat glossiness and softness. Look for a full-spectrum of fatty acids that include omega-3s, -6s, and -9s from organic plant oils such as flax, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame. The addition of cod liver can also be helpful.
When it comes to canine skin, it’s smart to address any problems immediately. Keeping your dog itch-free makes for a happy pup and a happy pet parent too!
The Most Common Causes of Canine Skin Problems
- Food allergies
- Contact irritants (soaps, shampoos)
- Stress or boredom leading to licking
- Dirty or matted coat
- Ear or skin infections
- Atopic dermatitis
- Fleas and parasites