Causes & Signs of Skin Conditions in Your Dog

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What causes skin conditions?

Your veterinarian may recommend tests to identify the exact reason for your dog’s skin condition. Common causes include:

Allergies: Your dog may be allergic / intolerant to either dog food or environmental factors like dust, pollen or mold.

Parasites: Fleas, lice and mites can all cause mild to severe skin irritation.

Hormonal Imbalances: Dogs with too much or too little of certain hormones are prone to skin problems.

Infections: Bacterial infections can cause skin problems.

Does my dog have a skin condition?

Your dog’s skin should be smooth and soft with no flaking, redness or signs of irritation. It should be neither too dry nor too oily and have no areas of hair loss. Signs of skin disease include the following:

  • Red patches, spots or pimples
  • Scabs, crusts or thickened skin
  • Hair loss
  • Flaky or scaly patches
  • Bad skin odor
  • Itching, scratching, licking or rubbing
Common signs of dental disease

IMPORTANT: Skin discomfort can have many causes. If your dog is showing signs of irritation, consult your veterinarian who will be able to diagnose the condition.

How can the right dog food help?

Some skin conditions can be cleared up quickly, while others need lifelong management. The good news is, most dogs with skin conditions can be helped if you feed the right dog food, even if the cause of the condition is not nutritional. Consult your veterinarian for the appropriate dog food recommendation for your dog’s needs.

Some important nutrients that can help heal and protect your dog’s skin include:

Protein: High-quality protein provides the building blocks to repair damaged skin. Feeding unique protein sources, such as venison or duck, can also help reduce reaction in dogs with a food allergy or intolerances to more common ingredients.

Essential Fatty Acids: A dog food containing high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, found naturally in fish oil, will help nourish and protect your dog’s skin, prevent dryness and help control inflammation.

Antioxidants: Vitamin E and other antioxidants are vital in helping to maintain your dog’s healthy immune system, and protect it from cellular oxidation caused by free radicals.

Combining these nutrients in a single dog food provides a convenient way to manage your dog's skin condition.

The importance of nutrition

The food your dog eats plays an important role in his overall health and well-being. Balanced nutrition is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle. When your dog has a skin condition, it’s even more important to feed the right dog food.

For accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian and ask them to recommend the best food for your dog’s skin condition.

Ask Your Veterinarian About your Dog’s Skin Health:

  1. How do I know if adverse reactions to foods are causing my dog to lick and scratch?
    • What causes adverse reactions to foods?
    • What are the different treatment options available?
  2. How does food affect my dog’s adverse reactions to foods?
    • What is a novel protein food?
    • How can fatty acids in dog food help?
    • What are the different dog food options available for dogs with adverse reactions to foods and skin issues?
    • Is it okay to supplement my dog’s dry food with canned food and treats?
  3. Would you recommend a Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ dog food for my dog’s skin issues?
    • Ask about special nutritional concerns for your dog
    • How much / how often you should feed the recommended food to your dog
  4. What kind of dog treats can I feed my dog to avoid adverse reactions to food?
  5. Can you provide me with written instructions or a booklet for skin conditions for my dog?
  6. What is the best way (email/phone) to reach you or your hospital if I have questions?
    • Ask if you need a follow-up appointment.
    • Ask if a reminder email or notice will be sent.

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