Skin problems in your schnauzer can make him unhappy and affect his health. Often the first evidence of a skin problem will be noticed when you see your dog scratching, digging or biting at his skin. It is important to seek immediate medical attention to determine the cause and work on a treatment plan to restore your dog's skin to a healthy condition.
The schnauzer is prone to multiple skin conditions. Contact dermatitis is a condition that presents as an irritation or hot spots on the skin. Allergies show up on the dog's skin in the form of itchy rashes. Fungal infections can appear as baldness, skin lesions and ulcerations. Fleas are a common problem and cause rashes and itching. Hormonal imbalances usually appear as bald patches on both sides of the dog's body. Parasitic skin infections, such as mange, cause patchy bald spots, itchy rashes, crusts and nodules.
Contact dermatitis is caused by a number of external offenders, including bug bites, detergents, cleaning products and fragrances and dyes in shampoos. Allergies in dogs are usually attributed to food sensitivities and inhaled irritants. Many dogs, including schnauzers, are allergic to grains, corn, dyes and artificial preservatives in their food. Like humans, dogs have allergies to many environmental factors, including pollen, grasses, mould, mildew and dust. Bacterial infections usually appear as a secondary infection due to a suppressed immune system. A dog with a fungal infection or compromised skin due to flea bites is the ideal candidate for bacteria to enter and cause an infection.
Treatments of skin problems in schnauzers are dependent upon the cause. Contact dermatitis can be remedied by switching to unscented and dye-free shampoos and cleaning products. Bug bites are less likely if the dog is kept inside most of the time. Mosquitoes are particularly opportunistic at dusk. HEPA filters can be used to filter dust and pollen from your indoor air. Dehumidifiers reduce the moisture in the air that can contribute to mould and mildew. Fleas can be eliminated from your schnauzer by placing him on a flea treatment and prevention program. Your veterinarian can recommend a good one. Dogs in warm climates will need a year-round prevention program. Placing your schnauzer on a quality diet can help prevent food allergies. Look for a dog food that lists meat as the main ingredient. Exclude any foods that contain corn, grains, dyes and artificial preservatives as part of their top ingredients. Ideally, it is best to choose a food that contains none of these offenders.
Treatments and Medications
Medications are available to soothe and heal skin conditions found in schnauzers. Steroid creams, prescribed by your veterinarian, will help to heal the inflammation and itching. Antihistamines, available over the counter, will reduce any swelling and itching. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids added to your schnauzer's diet can also help to reduce inflammation. Fish oils are a good source of these fatty acids. Allergy shots, administered by your veterinarian, are often an effective treatment. Cool baths, using antibacterial, antifungal or colloidal oatmeal shampoos, are helpful in soothing and healing the irritated skin. Dogs that suffer from hormonal imbalances can benefit from hormone injections and creams.
Hair loss that happens as a result of skin conditions can become permanent. Some dogs will develop a habit of scratching; continually irritating the skin after the original problem is healed. Secondary bacterial infections can result when skin problems are allowed to continue unchecked. Bacterial infections are a serious complication. Once in the dog's bloodstream, they can lead to other illnesses and even death.
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