Eczema in dogs encompasses a number of different inflamed skin disorders.
Generally, eczema is caused by an adverse reaction of the dog’s immune system to some factors. Various forms are called different names:
(a) Nutritional dermatitis is usually caused by insufficient nutrients in the dog’s diet. Poor low-quality dog food is usually the culprit of this. A dog’s coat and skin usually exhibits loss of hair or patchy spots.
(b) Environmental dermatitis is normally caused by irritants found in the environment. Different dogs have different reactions to the things that they interact with in the environment – pond water, fields with wild grass or thistles, or even lawn grass.
(c) Flea bite dermatitis is obviously caused by flea bites. When dogs are frequently exposed to fleas, such that fleas already live in them by hiding in their fur, they develop hypersensitivity, causing not just a simple allergy, but what is termed as an allergic dermatitis caused by the saliva fleas leave with every bite.
(d) Infectious dermatitis is usually caused by fungi, bacteria, and yeasts infections. This typically happens when the dog gets in contact with carriers of these microorganisms. These are highly transmittable, so dog owners must immediately have a vet check their pets to minimize transmission. For bacterial dermatitis, this usually occurs when a dog is taking medication like antibiotics that eliminate most bacteria that live and usually put a balance with other bacteria in the skin. The types of bacteria that remain start to “invade” the skin, since it becomes a “dominant” bacterium. Thus, dermatitis happens.
Irritants and allergens, aside from the ones mentioned above, include but are not confined to: pollens, skin care products that contain alcohol, detergents, some vegetable proteins, paints, industrial chemicals, and acidic foods. Sudden changes in temperature, boredom, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle can also cause eczema in dogs.
Eczema in dogs can easily be detected as it is manifested in the skin. When a dog’s scalp turns red and itchy and his skin gets dry with scaly rashes, these are symptoms of eczema. Another symptom is a dry skin with scaly skin rashes. In some dogs, pruritus and small bumps that show moisture and oozing can be seen. They are called “hot spots,” wherein bacteria may multiply and create further infection.
Eczema in dogs can easily be avoided or reversed. A main consideration is the dog’s diet. Commercial synthetic dog foods can trigger eczema, as well as low-quality dog foods. It is important to feed your dog high-quality, meat-based dog food. This change in diet will actually show an effect only days after, as you will notice a difference in the dog’s quality of coat. The dog’s hair becomes thicker and softer.
Supplements definitely help, as it not only improves the dog’s coat, but it also boosts the immune system of the dog. It is also important to let the dog stay away from environmental irritants that may trigger any of the forms of eczema. Here, being assisted by a vet would greatly help you identify eczema triggers from the environment.
If the eczema already manifests in the dog’s skin you may want to try organic solutions such as adding primrose oil and neem leaf tea to the dog’s food. Neem oil and potassium permanganate have also been known to decrease the dog’s discomfort from itching and also improve the appearance of scarred skin areas. Tepezcohuite, which forms the foundation of one of my pet related products has also been found to be very effective.