American Pit Bulls and related breeds like Staffordshire Terriers can suffer from any of a host of skin problems. These can be caused by sunburn, food and environmental allergies, and deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals. Some illnesses may also cause pit bull skin problems.
The ideal treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Finding a suitable and effective treatment starts by determining the root cause of the problem. Let’s take a deeper look.
Identify The Cause Of Skin Problems
Although pit bulls are especially susceptible to skin complaints, any breed can suffer. Pit bull-type breeds are genetically predisposed to certain conditions that can encourage dermatitis, flaking and itchy skin, it also comes down to their coat colors. The blue-gray coat color is caused by a recessive gene, and this gene also means that your pit bull is prone to skin disorders. White coated dogs are far more likely to get sunburn.
Other possible causes of skin problems in your pit bull include:
Dogs can suffer sunburn just the same as people can. Although white pitties suffer more, any color can burn in the sun. Apply sunscreen if your dog will be out in sunny conditions for long periods. Aloe-vera and witch hazel can be applied topically and externally to your dog and can alleviate the problem.
Zinc is used to form enzymes, proteins, and hormones, and the production of all of these is hampered if your dog suffers from zinc deficiency. It is also used in immune system functioning and for the healthy operation of the thyroid. Skin conditions are the visible face of zinc deficiency, but it could also be causing a host of other physiological problems that need addressing.
Your dog might be suffering from an allergic reaction to its food. Ingredients like beef, dairy, chicken, eggs, or even yeast, which are just some of the allergens commonly found in commercial dog foods, could be the cause. Identifying and removing allergens from your dog’s diet could be enough to prevent allergic skin reactions.
Environmental irritants are all around us. Your dog could be allergic to the dust in your home, the grass in your garden, or the plants on his daily walking route. They also suffer sensitives that are similar to our own, so they could be experiencing a negative reaction to washing powder or shampoo.
Fleas are the most common form of dog parasites, and one of the major causes of skin problems in any breed. They may be more common during warm months but can invade at any time. Other parasites include mange and mites, fungal and yeast infections, and any of these infestations include skin complaints as a side effect.
Skin Irritation Treatments
If your dog is suffering from skin complaints, you can try the following techniques to alleviate the complaint and prevent it from reoccurring in the future.
1. Check Their Diet
Change your dog’s diet. It could be an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in his food. If you always feed beef food, change to chicken. If the food you feed is grain-inclusive, try a grain-free alternative.
An elimination diet means starting out with a very basic food that does not include any known allergens. If your dog’s skin problems and other symptoms clear up, you can start to gradually reintroduce ingredients until the problems start again and you can identify the ingredients he is allergic to.
2. Bathe With Dog Shampoo
You shouldn’t use human shampoo on dogs, and you can get medicated and sensitive canine shampoo for use on dogs with allergies and skin complaints.
Change your dog’s shampoo, and, after checking with your vet, consider monthly or even fortnightly bathing. A lot of owners are concerned about bathing too often because they have heard that it strips the natural oils from a dog’s skin. However, done properly and with the right shampoos, it can help prevent skin complaints.
3. Wipe Their Feet
Many environmental irritants are picked up while out on walks because you cannot control what is in the grass or on the floor. Once your dog has these irritants on its paws, it will scratch and transfer them onto other areas of the skin.
Consider wiping feet using a towel, and then wash the towel immediately afterward. If this is the root cause, change your exercise area.
4. Check For Fleas
Fleas are a major irritant and even if the fleas themselves do not cause skin complaints, your dog’s itching and biting to eradicate the fleas can be a major source of problems.
Look for signs of fleas and apply flea treatment according to the instructions on the treatment package or given by your veterinarian.
5. Introduce Fish Oil
Fish oil contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These play a key role in good health, immune system health, and they also encourage healthy eyes, skin, and coat. If your dog is not getting enough omega oils, it will start to suffer from flaky and itchy skin.
Ensure that the food you give includes a reasonable amount and add omega fish oils to their diet using supplements or by adding fish oil directly to their food.
6. Consider Medication
Always consult with your vet before administering any over-the-counter medication to your dog, but Benadryl has proven an effective antihistamine, so it could help combat skin complaints that are caused by allergies and allergic reactions.
Benadryl can cause tiredness and drowsiness, but it could be an effective treatment.
7. Clean Up
If anybody has picked up any allergens while out of the house, they will have settled on the floor. Alternatively, your dog could be allergic or sensitive to dust or even to the carpet or rug itself.
Make sure you dust and vacuum regularly. Use an air filter to remove pollen and other potentially sensitive ingredients.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is something of a cure-all and a holistic solution to a wide range of problems. Not only is it effective for humans, but it can also be used as an effective treatment for dogs.
Make up a spray consisting of diluted cider vinegar and mist your dog daily to help prevent itching and scratching. It won’t work with all dogs, and some may dislike the misting itself, but it could provide relief for your canine friend.
9. Visit The Vet
If all else fails, or if your dog is suffering serious skin problems, consult a vet. They will be able to help identify the most likely cause. They can provide a prescription for steroid creams when required, and they can even prescribe grain-free foods and other foods that are suitable for dogs with sensitive skin.
Above all, though, a vet can identify whether a skin complaint is a surface symptom of a much deeper and potentially more serious underlying problem.
Pit Bull Skin Problems
Pit Bull breeds are more susceptible to skin problems and skin complaints, but any breed can suffer. Although the tips above are geared towards Pit Bull breeds, you can try them with any breed in the hope of alleviating itching, biting, and other skin complaints.
Featured Image: Oyls, Shutterstock
- Identify The Cause Of Skin Problems
- Skin Irritation Treatments
- Pit Bull Skin Problems