Did you know that German Shepherd Dogs visit their vets often because of skin problems? Excessive scratching, itching may lead to skin infections that may eventually deteriorate your GSD’s health. Having knowledge on the basics of German Shepherd skin problems will help you treat and prevent them from happening.
Introduction on German Shepherd Skin
German Shepherds have double coats. Their outer coat tend to be thick and straight while their inner coat can be wiry and soft. Originally, they were bred as working dogs that can withstand harsh weather. Thus, having double coat. But having double coat is the reason why they are considered as “great shedders”. And as shedders, GSDs tend to have more sensitive skin than other dog breeds.
Possible Reasons why GSDs tend to have Dry Itchy Skin
As mentioned above, GSDs have more sensitive skin than most dog breeds. There are many underlying reasons for their dry itchy skin.
One of the reasons of German Shepherd red itchy skin, is food allergies. Processed foods are more common and more convenient but they may contain ingredients that may cause dermatitis or eczema.
Things as trivial as carpets, paints, laundry detergents and even dog shampoo may cause German Shepherd puppy dry skin. Your GSD puppy’s immune system is not yet developed. Thus, they are more predisposed to different allergy triggers.
German Shepherd dry skin and hair loss are due to flea infestation. These parasites can drive your GSD at its wit’s end due to unending itch. Untreated flea infestation may lead to skin infection due to excessive scratching resulting in infected open wounds. It may also cause anemia, neurogenic dermatitis and tapeworms.
Too much of a good thing is bad. If you see dry flaky skin on German Shepherds, that means their skin have been stripped of their natural oils.
Yeast Overgrowth and Skin Infections
Hot and humid places can encourage yeast growth in GSDs and so does bacterial infections. They are more seen in skin folds. Yeast overgrowth encourages excess oil production. The oil build-up in skin may result to severe itchiness that will eventually lead to skin infection.
Untreated open wounds usually result in skin infections which are caused by bacteria. Their skin may appear to be red, moist and sometimes with pus. Depending on your GSD’s immune system, it may worsen over time.
Change of Season
As seasons change, so does the GSD’s coat. They will grow more coat in winter to warm themselves up. German Shepherd dry skin in winter is more common. Indoor heaters can make their skin too dry and uncomfortable.
GSDs are more vulnerable to hormonal disorders attributed to their genetics. It is believed that one or both parents may carry the faulty gene. Listed below are some of the common hormonal diseases.
- Pituitary Dwarfism is a growth disorder characterized by retention of puppy coat longer than usual but will eventually shed off resulting in baldness. They usually have shortened legs and scally, hyperpigmented skin due to very poor immune system.
- Cushing’s Disease is the overproduction of cortisol. It mostly affects middle-aged and older GSDs. Some symptoms are, panting, hair loss, weight gain, drinking more water than usual and urinating more often.
Research and modern medicine have helped us to discover proper treatments for different kinds of skin issues our GSDs are currently suffering. There are different approaches in healing certain skin irritations. Some may be resolved quickly, though some may need long term observation and oral medications.
Identifying which foods cause your GSD allergies is the first step.Feed your GSD one food at a time. This way, you can monitor if it will develop intolerance. Don’t forget to keep a diary of what you feed your GSD. This can help determine the exact allergen that’s causing your GSD to have itchy skin.
Changing your dog’s diet may help stop your dog from scratching and itching. Wet foods may cause them more sensitivities, so you need to choose the best dry food with essential nutrients that can promote growth and gut health.
Giving correct vitamins and mineral supplement is a good German Shepherd dry skin remedy. A vet-recommended dose of Omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial for your GSD’s skin and coat. It will also help strengthen your GSD’s immune system making wounds to heal faster and fight off skin allergies.
Using German Shepherd dry skin coconut oil orally or topically can help improve their skin conditions. Packed with lauric acid, it helps stimulate healthy skin and coat, normalizes thyroid functions, and encourages better digestion. When applied topically, It can soothe dry, itchy skin, disinfects open wounds and moisturizes. Since coconut oil is a known deodorizer, expect your GSD to smell better.
Medicated Shampoos and Topical Creams
Looking for the correct German Shepherd itchy skin cure may look like finding a needle in a haystack. You’ve got to identify your GSDs symptoms to match what they need. You can purchase anti-flea shampoos formulated for GSD’s sensitive skin to end flea infestation. Using topical antibiotics created for particular German Shepherd skin conditions is a must, especially for infected wounds.
Some German Shepherd skin problems are caused by hormonal disorders and may require oral medicine for a longer period of time, if not for a lifetime. Your vet will give proper dosage to your GSD and it needs to be followed religiously to prevent recurrence or worsening.
GSDs are known to shed for life. Bathing them everyday will induce excessive dry skin. The best way is to use a special brush, comb or glove for grooming. Deshedding gloves are far more easy to use. It helps clear debris and dirt, removes dead hair and stimulates oil production for healthy coat and hair.
It is often believed that prevention is better than cure. So, how do we avoid German Shepherd skin problems?
- Never give your dog low quality food.
- Always clean your GSDs surroundings
- Treat wounds
- Use natural oils to combat dry skin
- Have regular visits to the vet
- Regular grooming
- Avoid feeding food that your GSD can’t tolerate
- Religiously finish oral medications to prevent or worsen other diseases
GSDs may not be able to convey to you how they feel. But seeing them scratch and itch constantly is a sign that they may be suffering from various skin problems. There are many available products for GSDs’ skin conditions in the market. Just patiently check their symptoms to see which product matches your beloved GSD. Remember that a GSD with a healthy skin is a sign of a loving owner.