Today we’re going to discuss chronic skin irritation. Chronic skin irritation is a blanket category that can cover everything from ongoing yeast infections to chronic itching, licking, and chewing. I came upon a post in a forum that made me realize I had to address skin irritation from a new angle. The post read:
“My one mini-dachshund is having yeast issues. Had yeast infections in both ears when we got him, still has yeasty ears. Chews on paws/legs quite a bit too. The vet thought seasonal allergies and put him on Zyrtec, which has cut down on the chewing but not eliminated it. He’s got Frito feet. We recently switched to Fromm Small Breed. My dogs all get coconut oil twice daily. I bathed him earlier in apple cider vinegar (diluted a bit), and cleaned his ears with it as well. What else can I do to help him feel better?”
This dog suffered from chronic yeast infections in both ears and chews at its paws and legs. Her vet suggested possible seasonal allergies and prescribed Zyrtec. I was quite surprised that with ear and body involvement, the vet did not touch on food allergies. Even on the Zyrtec, symptoms sill persist, which makes me think that food allergies are almost certainly the culprit. Let’s take a look at chronic skin irritation.
Chronic Skin Irritation – What Is It?
Chronic skin irritation can include chronic infection, itching, purulence, dry and flaking skin, or oily skin. Chronic skin irritation is never a condition that stands alone. It is always a side effect of an underlying, undiagnosed condition, which must be addressed before the itching can be alleviated.
Chronic Skin Irritation – What Causes It?
The two most common causes of chronic skin irritation are environmental allergies and food allergies. Both of these present with similar symptoms, so it can sometimes be difficult to determine which is which. The only real way to determine if a dog has environmental allergies or food allergies is to treat for skin allergies and see if the problem resolves. If not, the skin irritation is more than likely food allergies.
Symptoms of Environmental and Food Allergies
- Chronic ear infections
- Chronic itching
- Excessive licking and chewing at the paws, body, and anus secondary to itching
- Dry, flaky skin
- Oily skin
Chronic Skin Irritation – What to do About It
The first thing to do is see your vet. Your vet can help you determine if your dog’s chronic skin irritation is due to environmental allergies. It’s important to get that part hammered out as quickly as possible because the treatments are so different.
Environmental allergies generally require an antihistamine like Zyrtec for long-term control, and always require regular bathing with a high-quality aloe and oatmeal shampoo. In addition, severe cases of environmental allergies may require short bursts of corticosteroids and a corticosteroid shampoo.
Food allergies require a food change. It takes longer to get skin irritation due to food allergies under control because finding the proper food requires time and trial and error. Your vet can help guide you to the hypoallergenic foods that are most likely to help your dog get on track to relieve of its chronic skin irritation due to food allergies.
Chronic Skin Irritation is no Fun
So if your dog has chronic skin irritation, get it to the vet as soon as possible. The sooner you determine the cause of your dog’s chronic skin irritation, the sooner you can treat it. The sooner you treat it, the sooner your dog will feel better.