One of the most common issues I come across here at the salon is the huge number of dogs with itchy or sensitive skin. I wanted to talk about and go over a few of the common problems, some of the most common causes and how a better diet can help cure or prevent these problems. In saying that, I understand that many dogs have mild or severe medical issues and I believe that you should always follow the advise of your Vet - these are just steps you can take at home that could help aid in the repairing of damaged skin, improving itchy skin, chronic allergies and ear infections.
Some of the most common skin and ear infections can be caused by the following:
Atopy (allergies to pollen, moulds or grasses)
Flea -allergy dermatitis
Dry and unhealthy skin
In some cases sensitive skin and ear infections are usually worse in the summer months, which could be due to your pet having a mild allergy to several of the above points, but in the summer months can hit all at once causing a severe affect.
Switching to a Grain Free Diet
One of the easiest changes you can make is switching your dog's food and bickys to a “grain free” option. It doesn't need to be expensive, i know a lot of people cannot afford the premium foods for their pets but i have seen improvements in just switching the grocery store brands to a grain free option. For more information and brands you can try that are grain free you can read my article on grain free diets.
Sardines, Fish and Omega 3 oils
Another easy and cheap option is adding a can of Sardines in spring water 2- 3 x a week. Also switching our grain free biscuits or can food to a product with fish protein or fish option in it. Omega 3 is great for skin healing, shinier coat, dry or flaky skin, hot spots, ear infections and immune health.
Raw diets can be overwhelming for people and a lot of Vets don't recommend it because you need to know the correct nutrients, vitamins your dog needs for its age, size or stage in life. Which I agree with but… I believe that you can improve your dog's health by feeding a high quality biscuit and raw food diet. Commercial foods have been under scrutiny lately for all the bad products that has been put into pet foods and can often cause cancers, obesity and severe long term health problems. A new study has shown that on a trail in America, by adding fresh unprocessed food to your pet's diet, can reduce the risk of cancer by 80%.
For more information on raw feeding check out Dr Karen Becker one of the leading veterinarians on the raw food movement Click here
Follow this link to an easy raw food recipe you can try at home Click Here
I would recommend bathing your dogs at least every two weeks, or weekly with chronic skin conditions. Allot of the dirt, grime and yeast can build up on the dog's skin causing irritations. A good bath with a high quality shampoo and conditioner should help to clean the skin of impurities and help, affectively, detox the skin and coat.
Chemical/Soap Free shampoo and Conditioner
Skin allergies and conditions can lead to itching and infections. A weekly bath using highly moisturising ingredients can help soften the skin and reduce itching. It will also help to remove the dirt build up in the pores and remove any nasty yeast that accumulates.
Conditioner is so important when bathing your pets. Shampoo can often strip the coat, of its essential oils and opens up the pores in the hairs. A good quality Conditioner will put nutrients back into the coat, helping to moisturise the skin and close the hair follicles which prevents breakage and damage.