Mange And Other Parasites
Mange is a catch-all term for itchy skin infections caused by mites. Mites are microscopic creatures that live on the surface of the skin or in hair follicles. They cause hair loss and itching by burrowing or chewing on skin. Some mites, like the scabies mite, are extremely contagious to both humans and other dogs, notes the Merck Veterinary Manual. Other mites, like demodex mites, aren’t contagious but still cause hair loss and may require treatment.
Fleas are a very common reason for a dog losing hair. Fleas can make dogs itchy to the point of scratching their hair off in places. Mites and fleas are extremely contagious, so any parasites you find on your dog may have already spread to your home and other pets. If you find evidence of mites or fleas, your vet can prescribe an antiparasitic medication and offer tips for ridding your house of pests.
How To Help My German Shepherd From Itching And Scratching
Treating a German Shepherd with itchy skin at home can help decrease their itching and scratching so they are more comfortable and regain healthy skin.
To help your German Shepherd from itching try to:
- make sure they are free from fleas and ticks ask your vet for parasite treatments
- use medicated shampoos made for dry skin
- apply moisturizing sprays and creams
- stick to a regular grooming and brushing routine
- and add in supplements to increase skin moisture
Sometimes, you just cant figure out why theyre having allergies or itching like crazy, so go through the tips above and seek your vets advice if needed.
The Causes Behind Excessive Shedding
There are myriad reasons why a dog or cat sheds excessively. One of the first things to do if it occurs is to look at the animals hair. Does it have a healthy sheen? Does the skin beneath the fur appear normal, or is it flaky, dry, or discolored?
Feeding an Imbalanced Diet
The number one reason for excessive shedding is a poor diet, said Cruzen. People go to discount stores, by a 40-pound bag of cheap food, and then see their pets shedding increase. Even though the food meets the minimum quality requirements, it may not have enough protein or nutrients for your pet.
Although you shouldnt buy the cheapest pet food, you also dont need to spend $8 a pound, said Cruzen. A quality pet food generally costs about $4 a pound, he estimated.
Besides the quality of food, the number one pet peeve I have is giving pets gluten-free diets, said Pete Lands, DVM, of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. A grain-free diet may actually cause health issues in the pet, said Lands. There are very few breeds that are gluten intolerant.
Using the Wrong Shampoo
If the pet sheds excessively but you dont believe food quality, intolerance, or allergies are to blame, consider grooming.
I cringe when people tell me they use their own shampoo on animals, said Mouser. Its too harsh on their skin and coats.
Stress at Home
If eliminating or lessening the stress does not help, a veterinarian will consider the judicious use of drugs, supplements, and even acupuncture, said Cruzen.
Common German Shepherd Skin Issues
German Shepherds are well-known for their intelligence, confident disposition, and luxurious double coats a soft inner guard coat hidden beneath a glossy outer layer. Although their medium-length fur provides considerable protection, German Shepherds are far more susceptible to uncomfortable skin conditions than many other breeds. Skin conditions are some of the most common German Shepherd health issues.
The average lifespan of German Shepherds is 10 to 12 years . So during that time, expect health problems every now and then. If your German Shepherd seems to be scratching more than usual, if you discover lesions, rashes, hair loss, or any other skin problem, its important to take immediate action. Knowing the three most common causes of German Shepherd skin issues can help reduce the risk of recurrence and potential complications.
Avoid Using Room Or Fragrance Sprays
Some German Shepherd allergies are brought on or worsened by unnatural, chemical-laden room and fragrance or perfume sprays.
Avoid using these items, including the plug-in room fragrance models, if you suspect your German Shepherd has allergies or is itching constantly.
Remove any fragrance plug-ins and dont burn any candles or incense.
Your dogs nose is much more sensitive than your own and they can smell even the lightest of fragrance which can trigger allergies. Try forgoing your perfume and fragranced body sprays and deodorants to see if this makes a difference in your GSDs allergies and scratching.
Apply A Moisturizing Skin Spray Or Ointment
Moisturizing sprays keep your pets skin hydrated and bring more immediate relief to their irritation.
They are also convenient and easy to use throughout the day. Look for a spray that contains aloe vera and vitamin e, both of which moisturize the skin.
I use this spray for my itching German Shepherd and her skin felt moisturized and looked healthier after only a few applications. Spray on your dogs hot spots to reduce constant itchiness and provide soothing moisture. This spray was formulated for dogs with allergies by veterinarians, so its a clinical formula for home use.
For areas you think are infected or extremely irritated, try a thicker cream that also offers pain relief, like this Sulfodene ointment.
I wouldnt get caught without this spray and ointment, not only for itchiness and dry skin but for cuts and sores. My GSD immediately shows signs of relief upon application!
Treating Dry Skin On Dogs
Treatment of your dogs dry skin depends on the cause, so the first step is a diagnosis. While the Internet is full of valuable resources about canine health, consulting your veterinarian is the best way to determine the cause of your dogs skin problems.
In some cases, dry skin might be a symptom of a larger cause, in which case your vet will treat both the dry skin and the condition. Demadex mange is often associated with Cushings disease, which means your vet will need to treat both the mange and Cushings. Treatments and testing for these diseases vary, but most can be controlled with medication.
Treating allergies that cause dry skin on dogs can get tricky. For canine food allergies, your veterinarian might prescribe an elimination diet, as there is no reliable diagnostic test for diagnosing food allergens. The most common ingredients that cause food allergies in dogs are beef, soy, corn, wheat, dairy, chicken, and eggs.
Environmental allergies can be tested for, but there is no cure. The three common treatment options for allergies are:
- avoidance of the allergen
- immunotherapy options, such as allergy shots
Usually, veterinarians use a combination of these treatment options to control canine allergies.
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Benefits Of Managing A German Shepherd Losing Hair
If your German Shepherd is losing hair, then you need to take immediate action to manage the issue.
When your German Shepherd loses too much hair it can become a nuisance since it seems itll never stop.
But spending time grooming your GSD has benefits beyond reducing the amount of hair loss in your home. Taking the time to brush and groom your dog is fun and gives you time to bond together.
Its also a great chance to check your dogs skin and fur for:
The result of managing your German Shepherds hair loss is a happy, healthy dog and much less shedding around the house.
Other Causes Of Bald Spots In Dogs
- Foreign body reaction. Glass, thorns, even a dogâs own coarse hair can all cause inflammation and bald spots if they lodge in your dog’s skin. Along with hair loss, signs of irritation by a foreign body include swelling and licking the area repeatedly — for example between the toes. Treatment may require lancing under local or general anesthesia to remove the irritant, and antibiotics if there’s a secondary bacterial infection.
- Post-clipping alopecia. For some dogs, especially densely-coated breeds like the Alaskan malamute, Siberian husky, and keeshond, clipping — for example in preparation for surgery — can lead to persistent bald spots. A fairly common condition, there really isn’t any treatment for post-clipping alopecia except patience while the hair grows back.
- Hypothyroidism .With hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland doesnât make enough of a a hormone called thyroxine that controls metabolism. the result effects your dog’s coat and can result in hair loss. It affects all breeds, but it is often found in golden retrievers, Doberman pinschers, Irish setters, dachshunds, boxers, and cocker spaniels. It usually happens in middle-aged dogs of medium to large breeds. Neutered males and spayed females also have a higher risk, but vets are unsure why.
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Keep Your Dog As Healthy As Possible
While there is little you can do to reduce the amount of fur that sheds during the seasonal blowout, there are some things you can do to reduce how much your German Shepherd sheds the rest of the year. One of the things you can do is to keep your dog as healthy as possible.
A top suggestion is to spend a little extra money feeding your dog a higher-quality diet. Why?
Cheap dog food is the equivalent of junk food for humans. It includes poor-quality ingredients and lots of filler that may keep your dog full but dont have much nutritional value.
If you arent already aware of the health problems that people who eat too much junk food can face, check out the documentary Super Size Me. Dogs can suffer many of the same health problems, and shedding is one more side effect of eating a low-quality diet.
Another way to reduce how much your dog sheds is to keep them on a flea and tick preventative, such as Seresto or Frontline Plus. Flea infestations can cause intense itching, and the more your GSD scratches themselves, the more loose hair theyll kick out of their fur and into the air of your home.
One overlooked cause of itching in dogs is food allergies. If your vet has ruled out fleas or skin problems, food allergies may be causing your dog to be itchier than usual. Some ingredients that are more likely to cause allergies in dogs include grains, corn, beef, and chicken.
Common Causes Of German Shepherd Skin Issues:
One of the most common causes of German Shepherd skin issues is CAD or Canine Atopic Dermititis. Several factors can lead to this skin disease which include the following:
- Patches of Missing Hair
If any of these symptoms present themselves, make sure visit your vet to identify and remedy the problem. In certain cases, an over the counter medicated pet grooming product may do the trick.
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German Shepherds With Skin Allergies
The versatile German Shepherd is one of the most popular and recognizable dog breeds. Eye-catching and impressive, this breed is smart and capable with an unmatched penchant for courage and loyalty. The German Shepherd has a wide range of capabilities, including military and police service, guide and therapy work, search and rescue, herding, drug detection, and competitive show and obedience. Despite the German Shepherds incredible aptitude and quality companionship, the breed is prone to allergies that often manifest in uncomfortable and painful skin conditions. Genetic, environmental, and food-related allergies can put a damper on your German Shepherds quality of life.
But Doesnt Scratching Mean Your German Shepherd Has Fleas
Greencross Vets explains that a flea infestation is only one possible reason why your German Shepherd might be scratching.
It is true that fleas can irritate the skin to the point where other opportunistic bacteria, fungi, or parasites can get in and cause further irritation and itching.
But often a dog that is itching doesnt have fleas at all. The itching is caused by something completely different.
However, if your dog does have even a minor issue with fleas and has an allergy to the bugs, this can cause more intense itching. When this happens, it is called flea allergy dermatitis.
Flea allergy dermatitis is a specific type of allergy to flea bites.
While getting bitten by fleas will cause itching for any pet , in affected dogs the itching becomes severe and is often concentrated around the tail area.
For dogs with severe flea allergy dermatitis, all it can take is a single flea bite to set off the itching.
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If Theres No Food Or Seasonal Allergy Are There External Parasites Present
Lets assume that you have completed the skin examination and youve found that all checks out no apparent abnormalities anywhere but your dog is still itchy. Now its time to check for external parasites .
To test for external parasites, simply get a flea comb and carefully run it through portions of your dogs fur. Its unlikely that you will comb out a live flea, as they are rather elusive, but if fleas are present you will almost certainly comb out an egg or two.
Flea eggs can also be difficult to see, so clean the comb out over a white piece of paper. The eggs are dark in color, so they will be easier to see on a white background.
If you do not come across any fleas or flea eggs, then there is a good chance that you will come across a louse. Louse, singular for lice, are about the size of a small sesame seed.
If you have determined that fleas or lice are present on your dog, the next step here is to wash all of your dogs bedding, as well as your sheets and anything other fabric that your dog may lie down on.
After you do this, its time to treat your dogs flea or lice problem directly. You will need to purchase a good quality flea shampoo to treat your dog effectively.
Regardless of whether your dog has fleas or lice, a flea shampoo will be effective to treat the issue. Most flea shampoos contain either pyrethrins or organophosphates, which are both effective at getting rid of both lice and fleas.
Routine Care Diet And Exercise
Build her routine care into your schedule to help your GSD live longer, stay healthier, and be happier during her lifetime. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine.
- Supervise your pet as you would a toddler. Keep doors closed, pick up after yourself, and block off rooms as necessary. This will keep her out of trouble and away from objects, she shouldnt put in her mouth.
- She needs a thorough brushing at least weekly most of the year. Twice a year she blows her coat and loses crazy amounts of hair daily brushing is recommended during this time.
- German Shepherd Dogs generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!
- Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Dont worrywell show you how!
- She has a high prey drive, so she needs to be leash walked and a fenced yard is a must.
- She’s a large, smart dog with lots of energy, so keep her mind and body active, or she’ll get bored. That’s when the naughty stuff starts.
- Naturally a bit wary, she’s distrustful of strangers bond her to children early to trigger protective behaviors.
- Keep your dogs diet consistent and dont give her people food.
- Feed a high-quality diet appropriate for her age.
- Exercise your dog regularly, but dont overdo it at first.
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Your German Shepherd Dog’s Health
We know that because you care so much about your dog, you want to take good care of her. That is why we have summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you over the life of your Shepherd. By knowing about health concerns specific to German Shepherd Dogs, we can tailor a preventive health plan to watch for and hopefully prevent some predictable risks.
Many diseases and health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your pets breed. There is a consensus among canine genetic researchers and veterinary practitioners that the conditions weve described herein have a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed. That does not mean your dog will have these problems it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs. We will describe the most common issues seen in German Shepherd Dogs to give you an idea of what may come up in her future. Of course, we cant cover every possibility here, so always check with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.
Symptomatic Treatment Of Allergies:
Symptomatic treatment is necessary when we cannot identify or remove the cause of the allergic response. It may be that the dog is allergic to a type of foodstuff which is impossible to identify, or a type of pollen which we cannot stop the dog being exposed to.
In these situations, your veterinarian may prescribe medication such as corticosteroids or antihistamines to limit the bodys overall allergic response. As a German Shepherd owner, there are many other ways in which you can help your dog feel more comfortable by treating the symptoms they are suffering from.
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What Causes Canine Atopic Dermititis
CAD can have multiple causes and numerous factors can play a role in the onset of the disease and how serious it is. Allergies are the main culprit but according to a study performed in 2017 by PLOS ONE, environmental and genetic factors can contribute to the disease as well.
- A single dog in the home increases their chances of getting CAD. Conversely, multiple dogs in the household decreases the risk.
- Living in a detached house.
- Living in large urban cities, where the dog is more prone to be indoors, increases the risk for CAD. Conversely, living in rural areas decreases the risk.
Genetics also play a significant role in dogs developing Canine Atopic Dermatitis. A recent study found that fifty percent of the risk associated with the onset of CAD was a result of the dogs genes. The risk is low if neither parent has the disease and subsequently increases if one or both parents have the condition.
The main contributors to German Shepherd skin issues and specifically Canine Atopic Dermatitis are allergies found in dogs. These are the most common skin allergies that may be causing your dog to itch.
The German Shepherd was number eight on the PLOS ONE studys list of dogs most likely to contract Canine Atopic Dermatitis with 31.3% of owners reporting the symptoms of CAD.