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Have you ever heard of dog eczema? Yes, it’s a thing! Similarly to humans, a dog with eczema can display the following symptoms:
- Skin redness
- Hair loss
- Licking, scratching, biting, chewing at affected areas of skin
- Face rubbing
- Weeping skin sores
- Oozing skin
- Crusty skin
- Scaling; dandruff
- Skin dryness and flaking
- Abnormal skin pigmentation
- and much more…
Cause of Eczema in Dogs
The most common form of dog eczema is actually dog atopic dermatitis, which causes the immune system into overdrive, which in turn causes inflammation. There are also various external allergens, substances or stimuli that can cause eczema in dogs, such as:
- Parasites or mites
- Food allergies
- Change in weather: hot, dry or humid
- Impacted anal sacs or anal sac disease
- Licking at an area that is in pain
- Vitamin deficiency
- Exposure to irritating chemicals, plants, or other substances
- Viral, bacterial, or fungal infection
There are many dogs that are actually more prone to dog eczema than others such as Chinese Shar Peis, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds.
Ever heard of hot spots? This wet scab can also be caused by allergic reactions, insects, mite or flea bites. Also known as moist dermatitis, hot spots can be considered similar to wet or weeping eczema in humans.
Do you have a dog with eczema or moist dermatitis? Read on to learn how to help your pet.
Natural Treatments to Avoid for Eczema in Dogs
Although there are many natural treatments that can be used to relieve your dog’s eczema, as we’ll discuss farther down, there are a variety of natural ingredients that should be avoided when working treating a dog with eczema.
Zinc oxide can be found in both skincare and clothing. In dogs, it can cause both vomiting and diarrhea if digested. To be safe, we strongly recommend avoiding the use of zinc ointments and sunscreen around your dogs whether dealing with eczema in dogs or not.
You probably already know that chocolate (which is derived from the cacao tree) is considered toxic for dogs, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that cocoa butter is also dangerous for your furry friend and should always be avoided. However, shea butter is actually considered beneficial for eczema on dogs. Just make sure that you wash out your dog’s shampoo or blend lotions in well to prevent your dog from eating the shea butter. For eczema on dogs that is dry and cracked, make sure to check out this all natural shea butter balm for dogs.
Avocado Oil – Safe
This one is tricky. Although some dogs experience indigestion and other issues with avocado pits and sometimes flesh or skin, using avocado oil eczema in dogs is perfectly fine as long as they are not drinking it up in large quantities. This Burt’s Bees for Dogs Care Plus+ with avocado oil is a great soothing and nourishing option for dog eczema.
Grape Seed Oil – Safe
Another tricky one! While grape skin and flesh is poisonous to dogs, the seeds and oils produced from grapes are perfectly safe and in fact rather healthy and nice for skin care.
Treatment of Eczema on Dogs
Prior to finding a remedy to treat your furry pal, you’ll want to visit a veterinarian in case the eczema is part of a larger issue. If a dog is suffering from parasites, fleas, food allergies or has vitamin deficiency, you can work with a vet to find a suitable treatment to cure the underlying issue. If your dog is suffering from contact dermatitis then consider changing their bed or perhaps keeping certain allergens away from them.
To treat eczema on dogs naturally, there are a variety of treatments that can also be used.
There are many hot spot shampoos out there that will work equally well for eczema or dermatitis of most types. We particularly love this Furry Friend Cat and Dog Shampoo for Skin Allergies because it contains just ten natural, really lovely ingredients that are both gentle and healing for a dog with eczema.
The best all around topical treatment we’ve found is this Furry Friend Cat & Dog Rash Cream. A base of sunflower oil and beeswax is blended with four therapeutic herbs to provide soothing relief for your pet. It works best when used along side the Furry Friend shampoo we mentioned just above.
If hot spots or red, oozing eczema is a concern, check out the Little Itchy Red Rash Treatment, which was made specifically for hot spots, but works amazing for people too.
If your dog has rough scaly skin, then make sure to check out this EczeHerbal #3: Dry Eczema Treatment that contains olive oil and a mix of several Chinese herbs that work to soothe dry, scaly and itchy skin.
Alternatively, if your furry pal’s skin is red, itchy and dry, we recommend checking out EczeHerbal #2: Itchy Skin Rash Treatment.
Since eczema and hot spots are ultimately open wounds, we love Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream which contains Manuka honey and oil known for their wound healing abilities. It also contains grapeseed oil, which as we discussed above is great for dog skin care.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a home remedy for eczema in dogs, aloe vera is a great option as well.
The trick is how, do you keep ointments on dogs when all they want to do is lick it off? Apply the ointment and cover with a bandage like this eczema sleeve made with TENCEL, a fully sustainable fiber made from eucalyptus wood and free from hazardous chemicals. For very small dogs, try tiny baby sized tube socks with a whole cut out in the toe end.
Diet for Dog with Eczema
Similarly to humans, you’ll want to figure out whether your dog’s food might be causing a reaction. Luckily, eliminating high-risk ingredients like wheat, corn, soy, rice and beet pulp while identifying single proteins they are able to tolerate can manage their eczema. In other cases, cutting out all glutenous grains from food and treats can solve the problem.
In order to determine your dog’s food sensitives, you might want to try an elimination diet specifically for dogs while working with your vetinarian. For more information on how to carry out this elimination diet, check out this post.
If you are deciding to change your dog’s food, make sure to also run it by your vet. Changing a dog’s diet drastically can cause symptoms such as vomiting, indigestion and skin issues. While researching dog food to raise our puppy on, we found one that really stood apart in terms of ingredients, sourcing and quality. We chose Open Farm’s Sustainable Organic Dog Food and are using their Salmon recipe and alternating with the Lamb recipe. All ingredients are traceable to the source, which is amazing and non existent before in a pet food. All their products are grain free and contain single proteins which is perfect for dogs that might be experiencing eczema due to food sensitivities.
As with any skin condition, eczema on dogs can be tough to treat. But with a proper diagnosis and discussing our tips with your veterinarian, you should be on the right track to healing your best furry friend.
Do you have a dog with eczema? Let us know how you treat your furry little pal in the comments below!
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Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.