The happiest dog can easily become quite miserable when they develop a skin or coat problem. Dogs, which have required nothing beyond simple grooming and a healthy diet for years, can be struck by disease or old age and the effect is often evident in their coat. It may lack the healthy sheen you are used to seeing. Or maybe the dog has developed spots on his skin that itch and have become irritated. The problem could be the result of changing nutritional needs due to his age.
Or it could be the result of a disorder that requires treatment, such as endocrine disorders, congenital or inherited disorders, parasites, trauma, infectious disease or an immune disorder. For some dogs, the problem can be something simple like an allergy to something in the environment. Allergies can strike dogs at an early age or upon exposure. It is hard for a dog to ignore itchy skin. Without treatment, the dog may keep scratching to the point that its skin becomes inflamed. Once that happens, the dogs skin may not heal quickly and infection sets in.
The answer can be as simple as skin and coat supplements, which provide the skin with the nutrients it needs to be healthy. These supplements contain fatty acids, which are natural anti-inflammatories, vitamins and minerals all needed to ensure your dog has a shiny, healthy coat and skin. Or the dogs condition may require skin and coat medications. These come in various strengths and formats lotions, shampoos, conditioners and sprays.
Some lotions, like Resicort Leave-on Lotion, contain 1 percent hydrocortisone and are indicated for the relief of inflammation and pruritus. You should massage it deep into the dogs coat to soothe allergic skin. The lotion leaves a film behind that continues to treat the skin and coat long after its been applied.
Just as children with chicken pox have found that an oatmeal bath can provide a lot of relief, it can do the same for dogs. Oatmeal-based conditioners, like Epi-Soothe Oatmeal Cream Rinse, are used after shampooing to help relieve itchy or sensitive skin by restoring the moisture and natural oils to the skin. As a side benefit, it can also make longer coats more manageable and less likely to tangle. There is also Relief Cream Rinse, which combines colloidal oatmeal and proxamine HCL, to soothe itching caused by a variety of skin conditions. Its emollients and Omega-6 fatty acids will continue to nourish the dogs skin if it is not rinsed out.
With almost all of the dogs body covered with fur, finding the right shampoo is important. With myriad varieties of dog shampoos, there is one for almost any canine condition. For outdoor dogs, there are shampoos like Adams Flea Shampoo, which kills fleas, ticks and lice. Skunk-Off shampoo is as mild as tearless baby shampoo with the deodorizing ingredients found in the original Skunk-Off liquid. Products like Douxo Calm Shampoo are for dogs suffering from allergies. It gently cleans the allergens from the skin and protects against further attack by helping the skin heal. Allegroom Shampoo cleanses without heavy stripping of the lipid layer and adds moisture to the surface. Allergroom contains no fragrances, soaps or detergents, and is pH controlled. There are also high-lathering shampoos, such as Keratolux Shampoo, that help remove scales and crust common to seborrhea and other skin disorders.