How to Avoid Dog Skin Problems

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How to Avoid Dog Skin Problems

Does your dog always having a lush, soft coat?

Does your dog’s skin remain rash and itch free?

If you said yes to either or bdog skin allergiesoth of the above questions, yours is a very fortunate dog.

More likely, like me, you said “No”, or, perhaps “Sometimes”. Most of our dogs suffer from a dull coat and/or dog skin problems or skin irritation of some type from time to time. Some poor dogs seem to be plagued by dog skin conditions, which often causes them to molt, or even to pull their own fur out in an attempt to relieve the itchiness.

This can be caused by a number of things, including a vitamin deficiency.

Even if you think you’re feeding your dog an ideal diet, it may not be so. For years my vet complimented me on the great health of my dogs due to the largely raw diet I fed them, but little did I realise that down the track they would begin to develop degenerative conditions which I can now only attribute to a failure to supplement with vitamins and/or other supplements.

Of course, diet can impact on your dog’s skin condition and the look and feel of your dog’s coat in a major way. But sometimes even an ideal diet is not enough in and of itself.

Kara, my Rottweiler, has pretty sensitive skin – she gets a rash from coming into contact with the pollen from certain plants, and she develops an immediate allergy to even one flea bite. And sometimes she’s itchy for no apparent reason at all. Yes, Kara really suffers from dog skin allergies, and often has incessantly itchy skin – poor dog.

My Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Jet, is more hardy in the coat and skin department. Jet’s pretty lucky. She doesn’t get incessant itches very often at all, although she has been known to molt once or twice in her 12 years. It hasn’t happened for several years now, though – not since I started giving my dogs supplements for their skin and coat.

So what is the most effective way to look after dog skin problems? Well, in addition to your dog’s diet, you should use a two pronged strategy – dog skin supplements and an excellent dog shampoo.

To keep your dog’s skin and coat in tip top condition and health, these two areas are really important:

ONE – to treat the skin from the inside – I recommend a wonderful fatty acid supplement which contains all the nutrients your dog needs for a healthy skin and shiny coat. It also reduces shedding if your dog’s coat is prone to that. These great tasting tablets really do reduce itchiness, and work on the cause of the itch – whether it be due to allergy or other skin condition. They contain Omegas 3, 6 and 9, plus OptiMSM and other Vitamins for a healthy coat.

dog skin allergies Dog skin allergies
(Just click on the bottles of Dermatrix above, or click here).  You’ll love the results of Dermatrix on your dog’s skin and coat!

TWO – a good dog shampoo is the second really important aspect to a healthy skin and coat. When my dogs were younger I sometimes used cheap shampoos from discount stores. I came to the conclusion that this was really false economy. They cleaned the coat reasonably well, but weren’t particularly beneficial to the skin. Now I use a wonderful oatmeal shampoo which help relieve itching and dry, flaky skin. And the coat comes out really silky and it really seems to have a lovely shine. Oatmeal shampoo for dogs is also all-natural, and contains no chemicals.

dog skin allergies Doc Ackerman’s Oatmeal Shampoo 20 oz. – $ 9.99
Doc Ackerman’s Oatmeal Shampoo 1 Gallon – $ 49.99 
A penetrating shampoo that contains 3.8% Colloidal Oatmeal. Can be used for itching, dryness, scaling of dandruff, and certain types of dermatitis. Excellent for routine bathing to help control body odors.

Or if you really like the smell of oranges, there’s a particularly good dog shampoo and conditioner formulation. It’s called the Herbal Orange Cream Shampoo and Conditioner, and it’s a favorite with dog groomers and vets, and has been for 20 years. Again, it’s all-natural without any chemicals, and it also has a great aromatherapy soothing effect on your dog!

dog skin problems Doc Ackerman’s Orange Cream Shampoo – $ 9.99
Doc Ackerman’s Orange Cream Conditioner – $ 9.99

This shampoo and conditioner are used extensively by groomers and veterinarians. Deep cleaning, with a fresh citrus aroma, to give your pet the ultimate shiny coat.

Or, if you’re wanting to keep fleas at bay, try the herbal shampoo and conditioner below:

dog skin allergies ONP Herbal Defense Shampoo – $ 12.99
ONP Herbal Defense Conditioner – $ 12.99

Shampoo and conditioner for a luxurious coat and contain essential oils to help repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, flies, and other insects

If your dog is anything like my Rottweiler, Kara, your dog’s fur is probably often dusty and not so great to stroke. Kara loves rolling in the dirt outside.

When the dirt in the backyard is dry, I can brush out the dust and dirt without too much trouble. But when it’s damp, Kara needs to be washed to really get her coat clean again.

And when it’s been pouring rain for a day or two, I actually try to keep her inside the house as much as possible. Because, yes, she rolls in the wet, sticky mud, when she gets a chance. You should see the mess she gets in. She can be covered in mud from head to toe. And she’s most put out when I won’t let her in the house in that state!

That’s when the shampoo really comes in handy!

And for the fatty acid tablets which your dog will love to take, which will promote a lush, shiny coat and itch-free skin, you’ll want to try Fatty Acids for Dogs.

Let me know if you have any questions/comments/feedback.

I’d love to hear from you.

Just post your comments below!

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7 thoughts on “How to Avoid Dog Skin Problems

  1. Lois Karasek

    Hi, Brigitte,

    Thanks for the “personal reference” in your current newsletter. I want to compliment you on your writing style, by the way. It’s very easy reading and the content is excellent.

    I might like to mention something that I found years ago that is the best “cure” for seasonal allergies on the market….bee pollen granules. I had a Schnoodle for 17 years (he passed last year), and early on in his life he developed severe allergies from spring till winter, totally unrelated to fleas. Not knowing any better, I followed the vet’s advice, which was Prednisone and periodic Depo-Medrol injections. Little did I know at that time how poorly dogs tolerate repeated steroid treatments. Once I became “educated,” however, and having always been a proponent of alternative or natural treatments (and prevention), I subscribed for several years to a pet health newsletter out of the East Coast. In one newsletter they talked about using bee pollen granules to treat seasonal allergies. I immediately purchased some from and began shaking some on Boogie’s daily breakfast, along with a 25mg generic Benadryl, extra Vitamin C, and a skin-and-coat supplement. I gave this to him for the balance of that season and began again in the spring of the following year. He made it all the way through that year without any Pred or Depo, and he was “cured” thereafter. I didn’t even have to continue the bee pollen. Since that experience, and several similar, I have suggested to all of my clients (and anyone else who asks) that they try this regimen if they have a dog with allergies.

    It’s unfortunate that most vets still will not suggest alternative/natural forms of treatment when they know the potential side-effects and harm the repeated use of some drugs can cause. It’s like they totally forgot the reason they became vets in the first place: to put the animals’ best interests first.

    Well, so much for my soapbox speech on that subject. Oh, and by the way, I use simple fish oil capsules for my dogs with dry skin issues. It’s a lot cheaper than the “formulated” supplements noted specifically for pets, which in my opinion is mostly hype. I used to buy Linatone…did for years…but no more. 🙂

    Take care, and have a great weekend……Lois

    Lois Karasek, Dog Program Director
    Dowagiac MI 49047

  2. Brigitte Smith

    Hi Lois,

    Thanks for your tip about bee pollen. It’s not one I’ve heard before.

    I do know that it’s good for a variety of conditions in humans, so I’m sure it can be very useful for dogs as well.

    Just one precaution with bee pollen, though – if your dog has even a hint of asthma or any breathing problem, don’t use bee pollen without first consulting with your vet.

    I don’t know that animals have the same kinds of reactions as humans, but if they do, bee pollen could be very dangerous for asthmatic dogs.

    I’m asthmatic myself and had a very bad, and severe, reaction to a bee pollen product once – only just made it to the medical center for urgent treatment, in fact.

    I’m glad you’ve brought up the issue of steroids (Prednisone), Lois.  Steroids are really bad.  Yes, they can be useful in a few very limited cases, but in many cases they do more harm than good.  Read more about the Dangers of Steroids for Your Dog.


  3. Shirley

    Hi Brigitte,

    Its me again with another problem even though last time I said I would not do this to you again and I am sorry, but I do not know who else to turn too except the Vet and they do not always lead down the most holistic path.

    My concern is this. I have purchased another female Kelpie puppy, Charlee,10 weeks old tomorrow who is constantly scratching and trying to bite herself. On arriving home with her I immediately noticed this behaviour and sprinkled her with Pyrethrum based flea powder for puppies. The next day she was still scratching and biting so I shampooed her with a very diluted dog shampoo and did not find any fleas in the water or evidence on her skin, no bite marks etc.

    Two days later she was still scratching and biting and so I went to the pet food man who is very knowledgable about dogs, has had dogs all his life, and he sold me some Advantage ‘pour on’ which I used .4 of a ml (she weighed 4 kgs).

    It is now a week since all of this treatment and still she is scratching and biting, so today in desperation I have taken her for some hydrotherapy, she was very dusty again, but she is still scratching etc.


    What can I do, she wakes up crying and scratching at night and this morning I took her to bed with me at 4 am just to see what was happening and she was very restless, trying to sleep but moving position all of the time, then scratching and biting. I am not able to see if she has a rash because she is mostly black except on her tummy, and there does not appear to be anything wrong with her skin there.

    I have had Eczema at times in my life and I know that it is not always visible, could this be the same with her?

    I could take her to the vet, but do not want her injected with drugs just to see if that works.

    Do you have any idea on what I could do as I do not know of any holistic animal healers in this area.

    I look forward to your reply.
    Many thanks

  4. Brigitte Smith

    Hi Shirley,

    Itching is most often caused by an allergy of some type.

    Fleas do cause itching, of course, but if fleas are the problem it is usually an allergy to flea bites, and if so, all it takes is ONE flea to cause the problem.

    And if you treat one dog for fleas (by whatever method you choose – natural or chemical), you should ALWAYS treat ALL your pets, because if there was one or more fleas that you get rid of, if your other animals have even one flea it can transfer to your affected pet and restart the cycle continuously. You should also treat your pets’ bedding and the carpet to make certain you have gotten rid of all fleas and eggs.

    In your case, though, it’s likely that you have eliminated fleas as a possible cause at least in the immediate short term.

    The itch can continue, of course, even though the cause is eliminated, as the skin may have been very irritated, and still cause problems for at least a few days.

    There can be many other causes of allergy resulting in itchiness – the food you are feeding would be the first thing to look at. Almost all commercial foods can and often do cause allergic reactions resulting in itchiness. I prefer raw food, followed by home cooked, followed by the healthy alternatives listed here –

    It could be vaccinations (although it is my understanding that puppies should be vaccinated until the age of 1 year) – overvaccinating can cause this problem.

    It could be a plant in your backyard, or a chemical you use in your home (floor cleaners, etc.)

    Your best bet is to get your dog as healthy as possible, starting with a healthy diet, and preferably a supplement – see e.g. –

    Immune suppression can also cause allergy related itchiness. See here – for information.

    Hope this helps.


  5. Shirley

    Hi Brigitte,
    Thankyou for your advice. I hear what you are saying about diet, but as I have just got her from the breeder 10 days ago who was feeding dry packaged food, I am in the process of changing that to bones and raw food but am only able to do that by 1/4 at a time.

    Last night in desperation as an ex-aromatherapist I blended some JoJoba massage oil with some pure German Chamomile essential oil diluted to baby strength and massaged her legs and tummy. To my complete relief it had the desired effect, and I now conclude that it was in fact a grass allergy which I understand can happen when a puppy has contact with grass for the first time. She came from drought country where there is no green grass only dust and dirt.

    She has only had her first C3 vaccination at 6 weeks and worm tabs so far so I was pretty sure it was not drug related.
    I really appreciate your prompt response, thank you.

  6. Shirley

    Hi Brigitte,

    I forgot to add that I had treated all of the bedding (twice) and the other dogs to eliminate them as being the cause of the itching and scratching.

    Thanks, Shirley

  7. Kim

    Since you just picked your pup up from the breeder it could be a mange mite. Mites can be transmitted at birth through the pups mom. Although the aromatherapy oils have worked it could be temporary. I would take her to your vet for a skin scraping,if it’s mange mites their is no treatment that will work other than ivermectin. Some times you’ll have temporary relief only to find that the underlying problem is still their. Good Luck

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