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Dry Skin in Dogs and Cats

Dry Skin in Dogs and Cats

Herbal remedies to help address and help relieve itchy, dry skin in dogs and cats.

The immune system is a complex army of cells found through out your pet’s body that provides a fortified defense against unwanted invaders. It is an intricate system that keeps your pet healthy and protects them against allergens, viruses, bacteria, microbes, parasites, toxins, foreign fells and cellular mutations (healthy cells which have mutated into irregular cells). The immune system is tasked with protecting EVERY cell in the animal body. With so many pet parents wondering why and how to best support immunity in their dogs and cats, this article will highlight its role and provide practical suggestions. 

A healthy immune system is resilient and powerful and up to the task of supporting normal, balanced function. The immune system is not intended to be suppressed or stimulated.  But even an animal with a highly developed immune system can experience dysfunction or failure. In cases of dysfunction, an animal body requires whole body systemic support. If your pet’s immune system is weakened, every bodily system is at risk for disease. 

An animal’s coat is the first sign of health and vitality. An animal’s skin is sensitive to the environment and may need extra special care to remain in good condition. The furry coat of your pet is kept moisturized by natural oils in the skin that help to lubricate the skin and promote skin elasticity. Dry skin on dogs and cats may appear flaky, brittle and dry.

Did you know that dogs and cats have more mast cells than humans, which are triggered when your pet is exposed to an allergic sensitivity. Dry skin is often related to allergies and in our pets, tends to display as a rough, dry coat and can often be accompanied with gastrointestinal problems.

Underlying and un-diagnosed diseases or disorders can strip your pet's skin of essential oils, but the most common reasons for dry skin is related to poor diet or poor grooming. If you are feeding your pet foods that contain corn, wheat or soy, or include colorants, preservatives and other additives, food may be directly contributing to dry skin. Dry skin can result from an intolerance to food and/or environmental allergies and can lead to scratching, hair loss and a dull coat.

Excessively bathing your pet may also result in dry, flaky skin which causes itching or scratching. Dry skin related to over bathing occurs when the production of natural oils on your animal’s skin is disrupted, causing the glands to overproduce oil.  

Dry skin causes inflammation to the skin and may also include a rash, may be itchy and uncomfortable and your pet may scratch excessively at the affected area for relief. Unfortunately, scratching leads to more lesions and can worsen the condition.

Symptoms most commonly associated with dry skin:

Persistent scratching of a particular area

Persistent licking of a particular area

Appearance of a red, painful-looking sores (often suddenly)

Scaly, rough skin, accompanied by hair loss

Oozing areas on the skin, usually accompanied by hair loss

Dry skin can be related to the following types of dermatitis: 

Atopic dermatitis: A common allergic-type reaction that is accompanied by wheezing, asthma, and very dry skin

Flea-bite Dermatitis: Caused by flea saliva residue on your pet’s skin

Allergic contact dermatitis: Your pet experiences a hypersensitivity to allergens such as dryer sheets, bleach, fertilizers, carpet cleaners and flea collars

Seborrheic dermatitis:  Your pet will display yellow, greasy scales, similar to dandruff, especially in wrinkles or in the folds of the skin

Auto sensitization dermatitis: An itchy rash that happens in a strong inflammatory response in the body; commonly related to fungal infections

Lichen simplex chronicus: A rash caused by long-term scratching of an area and thickened skin forms

Pyotraumatic dermatitis:  Commonly known as a "hot spot," it will appear red, moist, oozing, hairless and can occur in one or many parts of the animal body

Acral lick dermatitis: Common to dogs who continually lick the same spot on a leg and an infected wound occurs at that site.

Canine Sarcoptic mange: An extremely painful and irritating condition caused by Sarcoptes mites; most commonly affects the abdomen, chest, legs and ears

Feline notoedric mange: Microscopic mites, called Notoedres cati, which infests the skin of cats around the ears, face, and neck

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal remedies can help provide symptomatic relief to safely and gently reduce inflammation, help to boost immunity, help soothe itchy skin and relieve skin allergies and irritations, help relieve itching, scratching, redness and infection, help promote healthy skin and shiny, glossy coat health; help fight skin infections, and help expel toxins to restore skin and coat health. 

Internal Herbal Remedies:

Seal ‘Em & Heal ‘Em – (learn more) promotes healing for all types of wounds, including hot spots, abrasions, bites, cuts, scrapes, skin irritations, infections, bleeding & hemorrhaging conditions, ulcers, GERD, esophaghitis & other degenerative conditions of the larynx & throat; provides cellular support of tissue, skin & coat; for gastrointestinal distress; as a neurasthenic that blocks the activation of nerve fibers & tissue response to inflammation, supporting the body's tissue repair mechanism to stop mutations (important in the treatment of all types of Lyme disease, including Lyme borealis, burgdorferi, borreliosis & Chronic Lyme disease (CLD).

I Feel Good –  (learn more) promotes healthy immune response, reduces all types of inflammation, provides dermal support and growth of healthy cells and tissues in the body’s natural defense mechanism, reduces the histamine trigger for contact allergies, seasonal and chronic allergens, pathogens, skin rashes, infections, hot spots, inflammation, swelling, hair loss, itching and geriatria (dull coat, lethargy), for all types of arthritis, including Degenerative Joint Disease, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and symptoms associated with rheumatism, including pain, strains, injuries, muscle pain, swelling and lack of mobility; plus contains prebiotics and probiotics useful in balancing digestive health and function and much more. Recognized as one of the most important medicinal plants of the whole world, particularly related to supporting balanced immunity and limiting inflammation and inflammatory conditions.

Bionic Body – (learn more) is used holistically for its immune boosting and anti-inflammatory support; as an antioxidant and for its free radical scavenging (disease preventing) actions; for its nutritive content which may help to nourish the body and strengthen and revitalize bones, eye, teeth, skin and coat; works to stimulate collagen production, a primary building material of bones; may  help prevent dental disease; for its plant actions to help strengthen bones, cartilage, joints, muscles, connective tissues & blood vessels & helps to reduce joint inflammation, while activating a cartilage-protective biochemical, potentially helping to preserve healthy cartilage in aging joint; for its prebiotic and probiotic content to help support native gut flora and healthy digestion; may help to fight off allergies and infections.

External Herbal Remedies:

Skin Nirvana – (learn more) functions as a natural antibiotic, antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immune modular and antioxidant to help  repair the effects of topical skin wounds, scars, burns, hot spots, allergies, insect bites, environmental exposure to toxins, antigens and microorganisms, both bacterial and viral, containing a natural antibiotic base capable of fighting skin bacteria related to Escherichia Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomona Aeruginosa and Propionibacterium acnes.

Seal ‘Em & Heal ‘Em – (learn more) promotes healing for all types of wounds, including hot spots, abrasions, bites, cuts, scrapes, skin irritations, infections, bleeding & hemorrhaging conditions, ulcers, GERD, esophaghitis & other degenerative conditions of the larynx & throat; provides cellular support of tissue, skin & coat; for gastrointestinal distress; as a neurasthenic that blocks the activation of nerve fibers & tissue response to inflammation, supporting the body's tissue repair mechanism to stop mutations (important in the treatment of all types of Lyme disease, including Lyme borealis, burgdorferi, borreliosis & Chronic Lyme disease (CLD).

Bionic Body – (learn more) is used holistically for its immune boosting and anti-inflammatory support; as an antioxidant and for its free radical scavenging (disease preventing) actions; for its nutritive content which may help to nourish the body and strengthen and revitalize bones, eye, teeth, skin and coat; works to stimulate collagen production, a primary building material of bones; may  help prevent dental disease; for its plant actions to help strengthen bones, cartilage, joints, muscles, connective tissues & blood vessels & helps to reduce joint inflammation, while activating a cartilage-protective biochemical, potentially helping to preserve healthy cartilage in aging joint; for its prebiotic and probiotic content to help support native gut flora and healthy digestion; may help to fight off allergies and infections.

Conventional Remedies:

Dry skin is typically diagnosed based on the history and appearance of the rash or dry skin. Your vet will inspect the affected area to determine the exact type of dermatitis presenting, such as contact or atopic dermatitis or fugal infection. 

If your pet’s dry skin results from flea bites, action should be taken to rid the home of fleas. Corticosteroids such as injectable dexamethasone and oral antibiotics may be given to calm the itching and inflammation.

Drugs such as steroids and antihistamines may be prescribed to relieve the symptoms of itchiness and inflammation in pets, however, like any synthetic drug, are usually accompanied with side effects, whose long-term effects are unknown.

The drugs that are usually prescribed for animals have been developed for human use. The problem is that animals metabolize medications at approximately a 50% faster rate than humans, and the drugs can be damaging to the liver, kidneys and gall bladder. Use caution when administering synthetic medications for your pet.

Long-term steroid use is discouraged because these drugs work by suppressing the immune system. This means that over time your pet may be left vulnerable to infection, diabetes, and other conditions.

 

 

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