How To Care For A Dog With Sensitive Skin [Common Causes For Itchy Skin In Dogs]

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We’re back to talk more things grooming because whelp, when you’re a dog mom you are obsessed with your dog’s grooming.

Whether you are constantly carting your fur kid off to the groomers for haircuts - like I do with Paris - or if you opt to fight sudsy battles with your dog at home -like I do with the twins - your dog’s cleanliness is never far from mind.

While I have been raising dogs for over 15 years now, I have been blessed with not dealing with any skin issues in my fur kids…until now.

My poor little 6 lb bit bit Delilah has some skin issues.  Since she’s still so young (18 months at the time of writing this post) there’s still a good chance she’ll grow out of this stage. Especially since she just started developing skin sensitivities within the last few months.

Puppies are often prone to allergies which can cause irritation, redness and dry itchy skin

So what’s a dog mom to do?

What Causes Sensitive Skin In Dogs?

Just like humans, dogs can suffer skin irritation for different reasons.   Most people think of mites or other parasites when they think of dog skin conditions.  And while that is definitely a common cause, our fur kids can have skin sensitivity for other reasons as well.

Food allergies, environmental allergies, skin yeast or other infections can all cause irritation. In addition, whether you realize it or not, dog skin types can vary as well and cause issues.  Just like how humans can have oily, dry or combination skin, so can dogs.

For some pups extra dry skin can cause itchiness while others with extra oily skin may be more prone to microbial issues.

For more information about sensitive skin in dogs check out these articles:
“Sensitive Skin In Dogs” by The UK Kennel Club
“Why Is My Dog So Itchy” by The AKC

What Do I Do If My Dog Has Sensitive Skin?

Your first stop when you notice potential skin issues with your dog is a visit to your vet.  Report all observations that lead you to believe your pup’s skin is irritated.  Excessive scratching, chewing limbs or skin patches, scaling, hair loss and skin redness are all possibilities.

In addition, some behavioral changes too can indicate a problem. Like refusing to be touched, excessive lethargy or irritability.

You want your veterinarian’s opinion to pinpoint the cause and help you map out an appropriate plan.  They also can prescribe medications to help with any inflammation or itchiness while your pet’s skin heals.

It’s important to first check with your veterinarian if you suspect your dog is showing signs of skin sensitivities.

Shampoos For Dogs With Sensitive Skin

One of the best things you can do for your dog with an active skin issue, under your vet’s direction, is to bathe them in medicated shampoos.  This is especially the case when your dog is dealing with an active skin issue.

For Delilah my go to shampoo is Curaseb. When bathing your dog be sure to let the medicated shampoo sit lathered up on the skin for at least 5 to 10 minutes.  This allows the medication to work on any fungi or microbes irritating your pet.

Also be sure to thoroughly dry your pet afterwards, especially between their paw pads.  Infections and etc tend to want to hang out and grow in moist places.

Over time, hopefully, you and your vet will be able to figure out the root cause of your pup’s skin issues.   At that time you may want to switch from regular medicated shampoo baths to something else.

Delilah’s sensitive skin suddenly had me on the hunt for less harsh, unscented natural soaps.  I wanted something that was 100% natural, soothing and formulated for her skin.

For that I turned to WashBar - a New Zealand based natural pet products company.  Not only do they specialize in natural ingredient unscented pet shampoos, but they carry products especially for pets with sensitive skin.

WashBar is an excellent 100% organic dog soap which has a Manuka formula made especially for dogs with sensitive skin

When she’s not having medicated bathes, I use Washbar’s Manuka WashBar For Dogs which is designed for pets with itchy skin. And even though the Manuka WashBar is unscented, it does have a naturally fresh smell due to its ingredients like Neem Oil and Lemon Myrtle.

As with any product though, whether you opt to try the medicated Curaseb shampoo and the gentle cleansing line of products by WashBar, be sure to spot test any shampoos for your dog.  After all their little sensitive hearts are wrapped in the most cuddly, lovable sensitive skin.

For more dog shampoo recommendations check out our related blog post: 5 Healthy Dog Shampoos To Buy Online Or DIY