Dog Skin Care Basics
Your dog needs to be comfortable in her own skin. A skin-care regimen can help to make that happen by protecting your dog from the discomfort of dry skin, skin infections, matted coats and related conditions. Preventive measures can go a long way towards assuring your dog's skin health and her overall well-being.
A quality balanced diet void of fillers and artificial ingredients plays an important part in your dog's healthy skin. Look for foods that include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as they are necessary for proper skin and coat health. With guidance from your veterinarian, consider adding oils that are rich in these essential fatty acids like linseed oil or sunflower oils to her diet. Nutritional supplements that contain fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and fish oils can also help your pet to maintain skin and coat health
The best shampoo for your dog is not the shampoo in your shower, PetMD notes. The reason: Human shampoos are designed for a skin pH level of 5.2 to 6.2, on the acidic side. Your dog's pH level falls between 5.5 to 7.5 -- more of an alkaline concentration. Human shampoo can create an improperly balanced pH environment on a dog, and all sorts of nasty bacteria, parasites and viruses can party down on your girl's tender epidermis. Certain pet shampoo manufacturers set the pH level at 7 and make that clear on the label, while others will simply state that the shampoo is pH balanced for dogs. Check the labels for the pH information, as well as for artificial fragrances -- to be avoided -- and look for natural skin moisturizers, such as vitamin E or aloe vera.
Daily grooming with a brush or comb keeps your dog's hair and skin in show dog condition. Brushing encourages natural oil production -- keeping her skin clean and irritant free and her coat soft and shiny. Grooming before her bath rids her coat of excess fur and prevents her hair from matting, which can cause hot spots -- dry irritated patches of skin -- and lead to harmful scratching.
The itching and scratching resulting from flea infestation, and the repeated flea shampoo treatments for these infestations, can be hard on your dog's skin. Implement a parasite prevention program to minimize harmful flea-treatment episodes. Flea collars, powders, foams and sprays are not nearly as effective or long lasting as prescription applications or pills. When the inevitable need arises for an effective flea shampoo, apply a natural flea shampoo made with oils such as d-Limonene, citrus oil proven to be effective for killing fleas and ticks without irritating your dog friend's sensitive skin.
By Joe Gordon
About the Author
Joe Gordon is a writer who divides his time between Tampa Bay, Florida and Western North Carolina. Gordon has been published in local and regional newspapers and magazines, including VisitFlorida.org, "Oceanfront Magazine," "Sarasota Herald Tribune," "The Bradenton Herald," "Sarasota Scene Magazine," " Biz 941 Magazine" and "U Manatee Magazine." He studied journalism at Ohio University.