Rashes are a common problem with German Shepherds. Though the symptoms of this ailment are usually easily recognized, correctly identifying the underlying cause of the irritation can be much more difficult. Allergies, parasites, bacterial infections and chemical sensitivities can all be potential causes of an abrasion or dry skin; each condition requires a specific treatment to effectively relieve potentially painful symptoms and further medical complications.
Symptoms of Canine Rashes
How do you know if your German Shepherd is suffering from an dermal irritation? The evidence will most likely first be seen on the belly or the legs, where the fur is not as thick and the infection can easily be seen. The area may be inflamed, red or scabby; lumps are also common. The dog will probably scratch, lick, or even chew at the source, or rub his face against hard surfaces in the home.
Many German Shepherds are actually allergic to flea bites, which can cause the site to become even more inflamed, leading to other medical problems. It’s important to not only treat the dog with a medicated bath or other flea treatment, but you also have to kill the parasites that may have infested the carpeting or other fabrics in your home. Frequent cleaning and vacuuming is essential, and there are many chemical products available that will kill these insects and their eggs without harming your dog.
Dogs are carnivorous by nature, and many breeds develop allergies to certain fillers that are frequently added to many commercial brands. Wheat, corn, and soy are the most common culprits, and some are even sensitive to the chicken content in their kibble. If you suspect that dietary allergies are causing your dog’s skin woes, you may need to switch to a higher-quality, organic, brand of dog food. Read labels carefully to find out exactly what he is ingesting, and be sure to talk to your vet for some professional recommendations. He or she may also prescribe a topical medication to help alleviate symptoms in the meantime.
Sensitivity to Chemicals
People love to wash and groom their pets, especially in the warmer months when playing in the dirt and mud may leave Fido looking less than distinguished. But did you know that many grooming products available today contain harsh chemicals that can lead to a sensitive carapace? One of the great things about a German Shepherd is his wash-and-wear grooming needs: a simple bath when he gets dirty is usually all that’s required.
Over-bathing and using unnecessary grooming products can actually worsen existing predicaments, inducing a case of eczema. Look for gentle, natural bathing products designed for the canine anatomy. Avoid human products, show your pet he is special with his very own organic shampoo.
Hot Spots and Bacterial Infections
Hot spots (or wet eczema) happen when too much time is spent licking and scratching the epidermis. The constant moisture leads to a bacterial infection that can spread to the underlying tissue. The resulting sore, or hot spot, is characterized by red skin that appears wet, and may be accompanied by hair loss in the area. You can apply an antiseptic spray followed by a hydro-cortisone cream to help stop the itching, but a trip to the vet for a prescription of antibiotics will inevitably have to take place. Remember, if a rash or arid area worsens dramatically, or if lick dermatitis occurs, it’s always best to seek the advice of a veterinarian; for topical canine treatments click here.