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Skinny on Hairy Health Issues

Skinny on HairyA good part or your dog's healthy coat comes from care and feeding. A well-cared-for dog with a good diet will have a bright, shiny coat with natural resilience. Sometimes, despite receiving excellent care, your dog's coat might not look its best. Her skin might be flaky, giving her dandruff. She might have bare spots caused by parasites or allergies. Many reasons exist for a dog's coat to be imperfect. Some of them can't be corrected by simple grooming.


Fleas and flea allergies: With all the products on the market, most people effectively protect their dogs from fleas. However, sometimes parasites can take us by surprise. When Carnelian the Doberman moved from Connecticut to Georgia one December day, only a week after arriving he was naked from his hips to the tip of his tail! His front end still supported healthy mahogany fur, leading his owner to think immediately of parasites, even though he'd had his usual flea bath, followed a new flea collar before they moved.

Carnelian had flea allergy dermatitis. Fleas were never a problem in Connecticut during the winter, so the flea bath and collar provided sufficient protection. His flea collar was actually working. The fleas simply moved beyond its sphere of influence. Carnelian was not only unused to the quantity of the fleas present in the mild Southern winters, he was also having a strong reaction to their saliva, causing itching and raising pustules on his body. Bathing soothed the itching and applying topical flea prevention prevented the problem from getting worse. Carnelian quickly regained his coat. If your dog has unexplained bumps on his skin or suddenly seems to be chewing even though you don't see evidence of flea dirt, she might be suffering from flea allergy dermatitis.

Ticks: Ticks are blood-sucking parasites, often harbored in tall grass and in foliage. These parasites can carry disease, such as Lyme disease. They can also carry eggs of other parasites. Fortunately, ticks are easily controlled by application of a topical tick preventative and by inspecting your dog for evidence of ticks when she comes in from outside. To remove a tick, grasp it firmly with a pair of tweezers and pull straight back from your dog's body. Twisting the tick will kill it, but will also leave its head buried in your dog's body.

Mange: Mange is caused by mites. Different kinds of mange exist. Sarcoptic mange mites are carried from animal to animal through direct contact. The parasites that cause sarcoptic mange typically live beneath their hosts' skin for their entire lives. When these parasites burrow, they cause severe irritation under your dog's skin, so she will bite, scratch, and chew at the affected areas causing sores and scabs all over her body. Sarcoptic mange is easily treated with topical and oral/injected medications if caught early. Demodectic mange is a less disfiguring variety of mange caused by a different kind of mange mite, usually passed from mother to puppy. Demodex primarily affects juvenile dogs. Flare-ups of demodectic mange are frequently caused by stress, although what causes some dogs to be affected while others in the same household remain unaffected is not known. Dogs may recover without treatment from mild infestations of this parasite; however, others are severely affected and may require prolonged treatment to recover.

Tapeworms, Hookworms, and Roundworms: Internal parasites usually infest your dog through insect bites or stool eating. These parasites lodge themselves in your dog's intestine, absorbing the nutrients her body requires to fuel itself. Your dog's condition can suffer, as can her general health. If your dog's coat is dry, dull, and brittle or if she scoots her rear across the floor, take her to the vet to have her stools microscopically examined.


Dry coats, dandruff, excessive shedding and sores can result from allergies. If your dog is free of parasites, you might want to investigate the possibility that she has allergies. Some dogs have allergies to grass or to certain household cleaners and detergents. Other dogs have food allergies to wheat, corn, or certain processed proteins like beef or soy. Your vet can refer you to a specialist, who can determine what allergens are causing your dog to react.

Dietary Deficiencies and Genetic Causes

Sometimes dogs simply lack the inability to absorb the nutrients in their foods. Other dogs may have genetic conditions that cause skin inflammation or the inability of the skin to support the coat. A condition called "sebaceous adenitis" actually destroys the sebaceous glands that produce the necessary moisturizing for the skin and coat to be maintained.

If your dog has a condition that prevents her from having a healthy coat, then look for simple things that might be causing a problem first. If you've change laundry detergents, for example that you use to wash her bedding, or if the formulation of her food has changed, those simple things may cause a problem. If you can not find a simple solution, your vet may have the answer that you need.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you are a business owner get listed at Best Dog Care Site, part of Localwin Network.
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