The skin is the largest organ of your pets body and reflective of what is going on in the body. Regularly brush your pet looking for fleas, lice or ticks. The hair coat should be soft and shiny.
If you are seeing areas of excessive shedding in your pet then you may be dealing with certain skin conditions such as mange, ringworm, hypothyroid disease or allergies; treatments for these are discussed in detail Veterinary Secrets Revealed e-book and/or MP3.
If your pet has areas of hair missing around the face that are not itchy, then he may have a type of mange called demodex. This small parasite shows up in pets with depressed immune systems.
One very safe effective treatment is Vitamin E given at 400IU per 40lbs once daily for 3-4 weeks.
If your pet has an excess of flaky skin (dandruff), then she may be in need of a essential fatty acid supplement. Flax is the best source for dogs at a dose of 1 teaspoon per cup of dog food. For cats use the liquid supplement (such as fish oil).
Take note of any palpable lumps or bumps.
Lipomas (benign fatty tumors) commonly occur on the chest wall. If your dog has a soft movable lump on her chest, then it is probably a fatty tumor.
Sebaceaous cysts are another common lump; they can often be distinguished by squeezing out a cheesy substance. They are also very soft. Lumps and bumps become more prevalent as your pet ages and their immune system weakens.
The most important thing in helping your pet is having them on a premium quality diet and supplementing with additional antioxidants. The ones I suggest using are Vitamin E and Vitamin C and specific flavanoids.
Any lumps that are firm, rapidly growing, not easily movable should be considered serious and examined by your veterinarian.
Allergies are one of the most common reasons that I see pets. There are a huge number of allergens. The 3 main classes are, Food, Fleas and Environmental. The most common signs are excessive scratching, paw and anal licking, hair shedding and excess dandruff.
If you suspect that your pet has an allergy, then the first 2 things that I suggest are to eliminated external parasites as a cause, and to feed a hypo-allergenic diet for 4-6 weeks (there are many available).
Some very helpful at home remedies that I often use are:
TO THE BATH. An oatmeal shampoo with cool water will ease the itchiest skin. Leave the shampoo on for 10 minutes then rinse well. With the most severe allergies, bathe your pet twice weekly.
SOOTHE IT TOPICALLY. Calendula ointment is a herbal medication that has been successfully used to relieve the itch. Apply a thin coat twice daily to affected areas.
THE SUPPLEMENT CONNECTION. Fatty Acid supplements are very helpful in decreasing the level of inflammation. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are most important. A great, inexpensive source is ground Flax Seeds; I give 1 tsp per cup of dog food. Cats are unable to metabolize Flax, so I only recommend the liquid supplement for them. Other sources include fish oil, primrose oil and specific veterinary supplements.
Dr Andrew Jones
Author of Veterinary Secrets Revealed