For owners of short coated breeds of dog, you are lucky in the fact you will quickly see if your dogs coat or skin is in poor condition. We easily see dull coat, dandruff, hair loss, lumps, hives etc For those owners with longer coated breeds, more often than not your groomer is the first to know if their are problems.
I can not remember to list everything on here, but here are a few ideas to learn from.
I trained several years ago at the Milton Animal college and learnt all about animal care, and dog grooming. Having wrote papers on skin, fur, parasites, even down to the diet of the dog it helped me to go one step further In knowledge for my own dogs. So worth every hour sitting at a computer writing papers.
1) Run your hands over your dogs body and get used to the feel of the dogs body. Does it have any unusual lumps?
(By running your hands over your dogs body you will get used to the feel of the skin, and if anything changes you will pick it up quicker)
2) Check weekly the skin of the dog, checking ears, check toes on the dog and between the toes.
(By checking the ears often you will make sure the dog doesn't get infested with ear mites. If your dog has ear mites it will shake its head, and scratch its ears. The ears will bleed, look red, have smelly wax inside, and the skin will be damaged from scratching)
3) Look at the skin, is it supple? Or is it dull with dandruff?
(A dog with dandruff can be purely a dog thats on the wrong diet. But also if you have recently bathed your dog and you have not removed the grooming products properly during the rinse, can cause dandruff on the skin. Also poor quality shampoo’s can be detrimental to skin. Never use human shampoo products on a dogs coat.
4) Is the dog loosing coat ?
( A dog will moult the worst time as a puppy coat changes to adult. For example a Vizsla coat can appear yellow, with dark spots on it. It can take a good 12 weeks to come right. If not longer. Once the coat has fully changed it wont moult in the same way again. Ideally bath your dog, and blast the coat with a professional drier. Do not be tempted to over groom the skin, other wise you can damage new hair coming through and skin. Add in omega 3 oils to the diet, to help.
Parasites: Their are many kinds of parasites which can cause problems to the skin and hair. If left untreated it will get worse as these parasites breed quickly. Lice, Fleas, Ticks, Mange, ear mites, walking dandruff to name a few.
Allergies: Often allergies present in either swelling of the skin, or hives. In some cases the hives burst. Allergies could be down to an insect sting, food, plant, or chemical.
Hives: Hives are raised lumps under the skin. Often brought on by stinging nettle or insect sting.
Cancers: Skin cancers can be mast cell tumors, lymphoma is large swollen lumps under jaw at back of scull, under arms and possibly elsewhere.
Infection: Its easy to see infection in the skin. It can be large spots which burst to oozing and weeping sores. Swollen skin.
Thyroid: A dog with an under active thyroid could present with symmetrical hair loss, hair colour change, brittle hair.
Hormone: Bitches after a season can have hair loss, or change in coat colour. To rectify use Primrose oil capsules in the diet every day. Buy from www.dorwest.com If in doubt ask your vet.
Addisons Disease can present with hair loss on the tip of the tail. Some call it a rat tail.
Skin tags are nothing to worry about unless changing colour. Skin tags can be tied off, or frozen off if causing a problem Speak to your vet for advice.
Histiocytomas are skin lumps which are roundish in appearance, They can grow to the size of a small raspberry. They go on their own, but always have it checked by a veterinary surgeon, to confirm this is what it is.
Spots on skin is common with puppies as they are always getting their heads somewhere mucky and just like we can get zits so can your dog.
So what is important is to check your dogs skin often, and to use good shampoo products not cheap ones, and conditioners to the skin. Give your dog a pamper session, after all they are worth it!
injury is easy to see if a dogs ripped its skin. If it has then vets asp.
So to recap, if your dog has skin problems, first make sure its not parasites, look at diet, and use good quality grooming products and never over groom a coat which is poor quality.
Mrs Rachel Savage