This is a collaborative post by Maria about pet health.
If your dog is suffering from some kind of health issue, one of the first places it will show is on his skin. Like humans, the health of a dog’s skin reflects what’s going on inside his body. That’s why it’s vital to keep an eye out for anything unusual.
Signs of unhealthy skin generally include flaky spots, red patches, dandruff, and any areas that are irritated or sensitive to touch. A dull coat and/or constant scratching are major indicators that all is not well. You can secure a pet insurance plan to add coverage for your dog’s routine vet expenses. Check out Bivvy’s blog to discover how much pet insurance costs.
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Common causes of unhealthy skin
Skin conditions can be caused by a variety of factors, but the most common include allergic reactions or bacterial/parasitic infection. A poor diet is also a typical cause. In some cases, seasonal changes can be to blame. It’s important to note that many of these symptoms can cause your dog to scratch, rub, bite, or lick the affected area excessively, which only makes it worse.
Natural remedies to manage dog skin conditions
While it’s tempting to reach for a packaged product that claims to treat your dog’s skin condition, remember that these products are generally designed to only treat the symptom, not the cause. This means the results will only be short term at best! Fortunately, there are plenty of natural solutions to treating the root cause of your dog’s skin condition.
A raw food diet
Any skin health issue should be treated from the inside out—not the other way around. The best place to start is with a raw food diet. After all, this is what canines ate before they became domesticated. A raw food diet comprises fresh, raw, meaty bones and organ meats such as liver and kidneys. Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery are also recommended, particularly broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, and zucchini, which can help filter toxins. You can also add raw eggs, apples or other fruit, and even probiotic dairy foods like kefir or goat milk. If there are still nutritional gaps, consider supplements such as multivitamins for dogs from Lively Paws.
Avoid feeding your dog carb-laden commercial pet foods. Many of these contain high amounts of sugar, starch, and artificial ingredients that trigger inflammatory reactions in the body and worsen a skin condition.
Potential benefits of the raw dog food diet include a shiny coat, healthy skin, cleaner teeth, better energy production, and smaller, firmer stools.
Improved gut health
When Hippocrates said ‘All disease begins in the gut,’ he meant for dogs, too! Probiotics are the good bacteria that reside in your dog’s gut. They’re responsible for healthy digestion, proper immune function, detoxification, and dozens of other important processes. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are the ‘food’ that fuel these good bacteria. They’re present in fiber-rich foods such as cruciferous vegetables, apples, kiwifruit, and chia seeds.
You can support your dog’s gut bacteria by supplementing his diet with probiotic foods such as unsweetened yogurt, kefir, raw goat milk, and fermented vegetables.
Herbs are a great way to help stimulate your dog’s liver and flush toxins from his gut, lymphatics, and kidneys. Some of the best herbs to help with organ detox include calendula, chamomile, parsley, burdock, nettle, and dandelion. All you need to do is make a kind of ‘detox tea’ that you can give to your dog each day. Be sure to purchase organic!
Simply mix all the herbs together in equal parts in a large glass container or jar. Place two tablespoons of the herbs in a cup of boiling water to make a brew, and allow to steep overnight. Add the strained liquid to your dog’s drinking water each day.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and also crucial for your dog’s natural detoxification processes. This is another reason to feed your dog a variety of meats, including fish and eggs. However, if you feel your dog still isn’t getting the nutrients he needs, you can fill in the gaps with supplements.
Remove environmental toxins
Reduce the toxic load on your dog’s body by avoiding commercial lawn care supplies, household cleaners, and body care products. These tend to contain chemicals and toxins that are potentially harmful to your dog’s system. Instead, grow your own organic vegetables and source organic, raw meat where possible. Use only plant-based products to groom or wash your dog, and never educate yourself about the risks of using commercial tick treatments or flea treatments before giving them to your dog.
See also: What to Do When Bitten by a Dog: A Guide
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.