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Top five factors that affect your dog’s skin and coat:

Prevent potential skin infections
By Expert Tips
Date: March 31 2016
Editor Rating:
Factors that affect dog skin
A dog’s skin is much more sensitive than our own and requires careful attention when grooming. Along with a lower pH level than our own, dogs have a thinner layer of skin, which can make them more susceptible to environmental disturbances that may harm their skin. Here are five environmental disturbances to be aware of and my top tips on how to prevent potential skin infections:  
 

1. Sulphates – The human skin pH is generally more acidic (ranging from 5.2 to 6.2) than dog skin (generally ranging from 5.5 to 7.5) and tending toward a more alkaline concentration. Use of human shampoo formulations on dogs may disrupt skin their barrier functions causing skin irritations. In addition, many dog and human shampoos contain harsh chemicals and sulphates which are used as foaming agents and which dries and strips the natural oil from the skin, leaving it open to irritation and infections.

Instead, make sure you look for a specifically dog formulated sulphate-free shampoo which will gently clean your dog’s coat and avoid further irritation and help reduce the risk of infections. Consult your vet to find out which shampoo best suits your dog’s skin.
 
NOTE: Environmentally, sulphates are sourced from palm oil plantations and if palm oil plantations are cultivated in a non-sustainable process, as a result, deforestation, animal habitat loss and air pollution from the excess burning of forests may occur.
 
2. Environment – Some backyard garden plants may cause skin issues for dogs so it’s important to know which plants may be harmful. 
 
Poison ivy (leaves, bark &fruit) 
Brunfelsia (yesterday, today tomorrow plant) 
Poison sumac – shrub & small tree
Wandering jew  (weed)
 
These plants can cause skin infections if your dog has close contact. Safe guard your garden by familiarising yourself with your plants and remove any potential hazardous flora. 
 
3. Fleas or Mites – Insect bites such as fleas can cause irritation and incessant scratching which can tear the skin and cause an infection. If the skin is broken, red or swollen it’s best to use shampoo and conditioner that are derived from oatmeal for repairing and protecting action. Fleas procreate quickly where the eggs spawn in carpets, sheets and rugs. If you notice small dark insects on your dog, make sure you wash them immediately, vacuum your carpets and wash your sheets.
 
4. Lack of Activity – If a dog is not living in an environment that allows him to be active, such as in a high rise or a property with little garden space, he may suffer from stress or boredom. This could lead to frustration for the dog and they may take it out on their skin by licking excessively. Solutions for this are to take your dog for daily walks for them to run and provide dog toys to keep them entertained when you’re not at home. 
 
5. Diet – If the skin of your dog becomes dehydrated or depleted of key nutrients, such as essential fatty acids, the protective barrier breaks down which can lead to dry, itchy skin and more serious skin complaints. Make sure your pet is receiving a diet rich in omegas which act as anti-inflammatories for your dog’s insides as well as their skin. There are multivitamins for canines in the market that are tasty kangaroo based chews that contain vitamins, mineral and antioxidants to help maintain general health, wellness and vitality in dogs.
 
 
ABOUT THE EXPERT
Dr. Alister Webster is a third generation vet from the Webster family, who is renowned by vets for creating quality pet products for over 80 years. Dr. Webster developed Pure Animal Wellbeing (PAW), a natural pet healthcare range from Blackmores Animal Health division. To know more about your pets health and 
wellness, visit askpawl.com.au.
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