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How to Recognize and Treat Dog Skin Infections « Whole Life Pets Blog

Your dog’s skin is actually a protective organ – the largest organ in the body. When this barrier is compromised,the stage is set for infection. There are three types of organisms that can cause skin infections – bacteria,fungus and yeast. Often there will be an underlying health issue that sets the stage for skin infections,so be sure to address the primary cause when you treat for a skin disorder or you will find yourself dealing with a chronic problem that continues to return – possibly worse every time.

Underlying conditions can be allergies – particularly to parasites,hormonal imbalances such as hyperthyroidism,immune deficiencies or autoimmune conditions. Anything that makes your dog itch intensely can set the stage for infection – if they scratch or chew their skin enough bacteria or yeasts can reach the deeper layers of skin and grow out of control – causing more itching and scratching and a vicious cycle begins. Proper diagnosis is important so you know exactly what you are treating.

Bacterial Infection

Healthy skin is teaming with bacteria; it is only when there is an underlying health issue as discussed above that pathogenic bacteria can take over and cause infection and lesions. Staph bacteria are the most common organisms found in infected areas of a dog’s skin. These bacteria are not contagious to you or other pets – they are already present on the skin and only become an issue when things get out of balance.

Typically you will see itchy,yellowish raised areas. The skin often looks red and irritated around the pustule. Eventually they erupt and become crusty – leaving a red,irritated patch of skin beneath. As the condition progresses you will notice a foul smell and patches of missing fur.

Sores can appear anywhere on the body,but frequently appear first on the trunk – eventually spreading to the legs and neck. Infection can also set up between the toes or in the ear.

Both the external lesions and the internal immune imbalance must be addressed. Allergies are often the original culprit – so be sure to follow the steps outlined for treating itchy skin: Dogs with Itchy Skin – Why They Itch and How to Help.

  1. Healing the external lesions begins with a bath. Visit your veterinarian for an anti-bacterial shampoo and rinse.
  2. After the bath when the fur has dried you will need to trim the hair around every lesion to allow good air circulation.
  3. Apply a topical antiseptic such as diluted Apple Cider Vinegar,Povidone Iodine,or my personal favorite – Bee Propolis Tincture mixed with coconut oil. Treat twice a day until the lesions heal completely and watch for any developing lesions and treat before they erupt.

After the initial healing is complete,keep your pet’s skin in good health with weekly baths using a gentle,soothing shampoo such as colloidal oatmeal or itch-busting tea tree oil shampoo. Contrary to what many pet owners believe,frequent bathing will not dry out your companion’s skin if you use the proper shampoo and rinse. For dogs with sensitive skin that are prone to infection,a weekly bath can be the one thing that prevents re-infection and the vicious cycle of the itch.

Yeast Infection

Malassezia pachydermatis is a yeast commonly found on the skin and in the ears of dogs. When a dog’s immune system becomes stressed,Malassezia yeast can multiply until it becomes pathogenic in susceptible dogs.


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What kind of dog?

2007-12-20 21:07:16 by frequentrider

If it's a dog that's lower to the ground and his belly is rubbing thus the chaffing, then a dog sweater will help the problem. There's thin ones for summer and thick ones for winter. You also need to HONESTLY evaluate your dog's weight; is he is overweight, that would definitely not help with his belly dragging the ground, among other things. You need to get him on a diet ASAP not just because of his chaffing, but for quality of life, longevity, reduced blood pressure and pressure on his lungs, etc.
Stick your thumbs on the middle of his back and your fingers down the side on his ribs

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