Help for Dogs with Itchy, Sensitive Skin
Some dog breeds just seem to have sensitive skin. All breeds of dogs (including mutts) can have skin problems. But Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and some breeds of hairless dogs are particularly known for skin problems, including hot spots, allergic reactions and eczema.
A friend recently told me about problems her otherwise healthy Scottish Terrier has developed. Poor Scottie is scratching all the time and has developed patches of dry skin and “doggie dandruff.”
It turns out, these problems arose immediately after Scottie’s most recent grooming and hair cut. It seems my friend took Scottie to a different groomer this time, and she could not be sure what products they used for Scottie’s grooming.
Skin Problems Resulting from a Reaction to Grooming Products
It could be that Scottie has experienced a bad reaction to the shampoo the groomer used. Unless you specifically ask for something different, groomers often use soap-based shampoos. These tend to irritate the skin of dogs that are prone to skin sensitivities.
Being a Labrador Retriever mix, Frankie has had his share of skin problems similar to the ones Scottie is experiencing. He would get dry, scaly patches on his skin that he would scratch. With all the scratching, he often had the “doggie dandruff” as well. Even when those symptoms were not obvious, he would sometimes flinch when we tried to brush certain areas on his back. It was clear that something was irritating Frankie’s skin and causing him a lot of discomfort.
Hypo-Allergenic Dog Grooming Products are Best
Our veterinarian recommended we avoid any soap or detergent based shampoos and use only hypo-allergenic products on Frankie’s skin and coat. We switched to an oatmeal-based shampoo containing fatty acids. We follow that up with a skin and coat conditioner containing colloidal oatmeal. We avoid bathing Frankie unless he really needs a bath – usually every other week. And on those rare occasions when Frankie visits a grooming salon, we specify an oatmeal-based shampoo and conditioner.
For regular baths, we use GlenHaven brand products, which are available only through Banfield Pet Hospitals; however, there are many other soap-free dog shampoos and conditioners on the market. In addition to soap, it is also a good idea to avoid grooming products that contain added colors and fragrances.
The changes we have made in grooming products have gone a long way toward giving Frankie relief from itchy, scaly skin. He has been free of the “doggie dandruff” since we stopped using soap-based shampoo, and he never flinches or otherwise shows signs of pain or irritation during brushing any more.