What should normal skin and hair look like on your dog? What are the most common parasites that cause skin disease? What are the most common causes of skin allergies? How do you diagnose a food related skin allergy? How can Omuu help your dog?
What Should Normal Skin Look Like?
It is very important to recognise what healthy skin looks like on your dog. Your dogs skin can vary in colour. Some dogs have nice pink skin. Other dogs have areas of black pigmentation. Both can be normal. The amount of black pigmentation varies depending on your dogs breed or their genetics. A dogs skin can also change colour over time which can also be normal. The skin should be nice and smooth with no areas of crusting or raised black/white spots. There should be no reddened, itchy areas.
Your dog’s coat should be bright and soft with no areas of hair loss (alopecia). The thickness of your dog’s coat can vary depending on breed and genetics. Your dog may shed it’s coat all year round, but it is more common for shedding to occur in the summer months due to the heat.
What Are The Signs Of A Skin Allergy
Red, itchy areas of skin with hair loss are tell-tale signs that your dog is suffering from skin disease. Usually your dog will be irritated by the areas of inflammation and will excessively bite or scratch at this area for some relief. A black or white crusty appearance on the surface of the skin may also indicate a disease process. A dull greasy coat which lacks luster may indicate the start of a skin allergy.
Skin allergies may also affect your dogs ears and/or anal glands. Your dog may be constantly shaking his head or scratching at his ear(s). You may also smell a pungent yeasty or infectious smell from the ear(s). If your dog suffers from anal gland problems you may notice them rubbing their bottom along the ground to relieve the itch. You may also notice a fishy smell coming from the backend.
What Does Alopecia Mean?
Alopecia is basically the loss of hair and it can be a clinical sign of skin disease or a skin allergy. Alopecia is usually caused by self trauma (your dog is constantly scratching or biting). However the underlying reason for the scratching can vary. Alopecia can be the result of common allergies or infectious causes like ringworm, bacteria or parasites. Some hormonal changes can also cause alopecia (natural and abnormal hormonal changes).
Dogs may also self traumatise themselves due to anxiety or underlying pain (from arthritic joints for example). It is important to note that some causes of alopecia can insect humans (such as ringworm, mite infections and some bacteria).
Does My Dog Have Skin Parasites?
Skin parasites can either be fleas, mites or ticks. Usually your dog will present with inflamed and itchy areas of skin with hair loss. Most of these can be easily treated but sometimes your dog will require some long term treatment. Different species of parasites can common infect certain areas of your dog.
For example, one species of mites (otodectes cynotis) commonly infects your dogs ear canals, causing severe itchness which leads to self trauma. Dogs can also be allergic to flea bites (to the proteins found in the saliva of the flea). This type of skin disease will usually present itself along your dog’s back, causing red, inflamed, thickened areas.
What Causes Skin Allergies In Dogs?
Skin allergies in dogs usually occur when your dog is exposed to something which your dog’s immune system sees as foreign. This causes an immune reaction which leads to the clinical signs listed above. There are many things which can cause an allergy flare up in dogs, some of which include:
- Flea bites as mentioned above (specifically the proteins present in the saliva of the fleas)
- Environmental allergens, which can include anything from dust mites, to pollen, to different species of grasses or weeds.
- Contact dermatitis which is usually caused by a chemical substance reactive to the surface of your dog’s skin. These can include different soaps or shampoos, flea collars, household cleaning products.
- Food allergies which are commonly caused by the protein source in your dog food. If your dog suffers from a food allergy then they can unfortunately suffer from skin problems all year round.
How Do You Diagnose And Treat A Skin Allergy?
This depends entirely on the cause of the allergy. As mentioned above there are 4 board causes of skin allergies in dogs. If you dog suffers from a contact dermatitis and you are lucky enough to link the skin disease with a particular soap used, then the fix is simple. You may have to preemptively treat you dog for fleas and ticks if you are worried about your dogs suffering from flea allergic skin disease.
Alternatively if your dog suffers from a food allergy, the most accurate way to diagnose this is through a food elimination trial. This entails putting your dog onto a special diet for a minimum of 12 weeks. This is the minimum amount of time it takes for the old protein sources to leave your dog’s body. It is extremely important that you do not feed anything else during these 12 weeks, which may interact with your dogs immune system (like other protein sources).
If your dog does not suffer from any allergy flare ups, you can accurately diagnose a food allergy. If you want to find out which food your dog is allergic to, you can introduce these common food allergy causes one by one, to see which causes a flare up. Blood testing is an inaccurate way to diagnose a food allergy.
How is Omuu a Perfect Hypoallergenic Dog Food For Allergies?
Omuu uses insect protein as a novel protein source. This is a protein which your dog’s immune system has never come into contact with before. This makes Omuu a perfect hypoallergenic choice for dogs suffering from food allergies.
On top of this Omuu contains a high Omega 3 and high anti-oxidant level in the recipe which helps protect the skin barrier and prevent damage. This can be of particular interest in dogs suffering from environmental allergies as it will help relieve the inflammation on the surface of the skin. There is also particular interest in the scientific community about the bacteria in your dog’s gut (the microbiome).
There are studies showing a link between and unsettled population of bacteria in the gut and anxiety. Omuu contains a good mix of prebiotic fibers to feed the good bacteria in the gut which could help if your dog suffers from alopecia due to anxiety.
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