Skin Support, One Step at a Time

Pets can suffer from a large variety of skin problems caused by allergies, parasites, bacterial and fungal infections, metabolic issues, and immune disorders. Learn all about skincare for pets and keep their skin and coat healthy.
–by Dr B Nagarajan

Dr B Nagarajan
Dr B Nagarajan

Did you know there are some common sources of skin problems in pets that can cause itching, scratching, or licking areas of the skin excessively?

There are two kinds of skin disorders in dogs—curable and incurable. Even curable skin illnesses can take weeks to resolve since it takes a new, healthy skin cell roughly four weeks to mature. Controlling a chronic skin problem with specific diets, drugs, shampoos, sprays, fatty acids, and vitamin supplements is the best we can do for incurable instances.

Curable Chronic Skin Disorders

Bacterial dermatitis is the most commonly seen skin disorder in pets. In bacterial dermatitis the dog displays circular patches alopecia (hair loss), scales and crusts, and tiny inflamed eruptions that evolve into additional crusty patches. Cultures and antibiotic sensitivity testing are required in the most severe instances of bacterial dermatitis.

Malassezia (yeast) infections, fungal (ringworm) infections, seborrhea (oily and flaky skin), dry skin, hair loss, and dermatitis/alopecia caused by parasites such as fleas and mites are other causes of curable but persistent skin problems. If not treated properly, many curable illnesses can persist throughout your pet’s life and become incurable.

Incurable Skin Disorders

Incurable chronic skin disorders can be a nightmare for pets as they can be fatal. Hormonal abnormalities in dogs, such as hypothyroidism in Golden Retrievers and cushings disease (adrenal gland condition) in small breeds, are not curable. But they can be treated and will show significant improvement once adequate therapy is implemented.

Royal Canin has a formula called ‘Skin Support’ which helps support the healthy skin cell generation. The formula is specifically designed and approved by scientific experts in pets’ nutrition and contains complex skin targeting nutrients enriched with omega-3 and omega-6 and synergistic complex of antioxidant to support cellular health.

Atopic dermatitis, or atopy, is another incurable illness that causes inflammatory skin in pets. Contact allergies are the most common cause of this disease. It causes pets to lick and scratch themselves regularly. Atopic dermatitis frequently affects the ears and feet, causing smell, discharge, and crusting. Because of the allergens that cause them, these infections could be seasonal.

Skincare is the new self-care: Take care of your pet’s skin

Just like you follow a skincare routine, it is important to take care of your pet’s skin and coat as well.

  • Regular grooming sessions at home are the foundation of good pet skincare. Brush your pet as needed to remove tangles and dirt. Check for scabs, dry skin, and pimples on their skin. If your pet’s skin has folds, gently clean and dry them every day or two. Examine your pet’s ears from time to time. Examine the paw pads for cracks and dryness between the toes, and make sure they appear clean and healthy.
  • Always use a gentle vet-approved shampoo and conditioner (if needed) for your pet. If you are at the park and the pet gets a cut or scrape, attend to it as soon as you get home.
  • Regressive cleaning routine and expensive grooming sessions are not the only solution to achieve your pet’s prime beauty, it’s a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet behind a well-groomed pet. Their diet must contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids as well as GLA along with key nutrients, such as B-vitamins, amino acids, zinc and copper. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid. It’s found in various plant seed oils such as borage oil. These nutrients are ample to ensure that the fur of your pet is not brittle or coarse, rather it is healthy.

Make sure to consult your vet before including any new skincare product for your pet. It is rarely permissible to use a human skin product on pets, such as shampoo. Human products can contain compounds that are absolutely safe for humans but not at all safe for animals, thus using animal products on your pet would be the best!

(Dr B Nagarajan. MVSc, PhD, is Chief Veterinary Officer at Ballo Multispeciality Pet Clinic, Chennai)