Many skin conditions can affect your dog’s skin. Often, the condition of his skin and coat are good indicators of his health. If your dog begins developing skin conditions, it is important to find the underlying cause right away. Getting to the root of the problem will allow for proper treatment, such as dog psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that can affect dogs of all ages. Although it is rare and not dangerous, it can be an indicator your dog’s immune system has been weakened. When it comes to canine psoriasis, there is an underlying cause. Finding that cause is essential.
It is important to note that canine psoriasis is not contagious. It cannot be spread to other animals or humans.
Many dog owners confuse canine psoriasis with other skin conditions because it is so rare. This can be problematic. Without a proper diagnosis and treatment, psoriasis in dogs can begin to worsen over time and become more difficult to treat.
What Is Canine Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects both canines and humans. Like an autoimmune disease in dogs, psoriasis occurs when a dog’s immune system becomes compromised. The immune system begins attacking healthy cells, causing cells to overproduce, which leads to thick patches of scaly skin. This issue can last for a short time or become chronic.
When a dog has psoriasis, its skin color will change. The skin will also become overly irritated, red, scaly, and itchy. Unfortunately, psoriasis, if left untreated, can lead to secondary skin infections, especially if your dog begins to scratch a lot.
Psoriasis can affect dogs of all ages and breeds. Any dog that is immuno-compromised can get psoriasis. Although this skin condition can affect any breed, there are some breeds that are more prone to developing the condition.
- Chinese Shar-Pei
- West Highland Terrier
- Doberman Pinschers
- Standard Poodles
- Golden Retrievers
- English Bulldogs
What Are the Symptoms of Dog Psoriasis?
Being aware of the symptoms of canine psoriasis is essential. The following are some of the most common symptoms you may notice with your dog if he has psoriasis.
- Excessive levels of dandruff
- Patches of red skin
- Excessive itching
- Scaly patches that may develop on the head, legs, tips of the elbows, and the sacral area
The symptoms of psoriasis can often be mistaken for other skin conditions, including eczema, seborrheic dermatitis , and food allergies. It is important to find out if psoriasis is the proper diagnosis so treatment can begin immediately.
How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed by the Vet?
Psoriasis can only be diagnosed properly by a vet. The vet will examine your dog’s skin and talk about any symptoms. The vet may also take some skin samples and examine them under a microscope.
Your vet is looking for the telltale patches of silvery scales and redness in the usual places, such as the tips of the elbows. Once a full diagnosis has been made, the vet will immediately suggest treatment that is meant to take care of the topical issues and the underlying cause.
Both topical and internal medications will need to be used to treat psoriasis. The symptoms will typically only respond to both internal and external medications. The following are some treatments that can be used for canine psoriasis. The goal of these treatments is to stop the underlying cause and heal the topical wounds that have developed.
First, you are going to want to ask your vet about psoriasis shampoo for your dog. This type of shampoo works to loosen the flakes of psoriasis and ease the irritation and discomfort.
Look for a shampoo that contains ingredients like tar, primrose oil, or sulfur. You will also need to find a topical cream.
Psoriasis creams may contain ingredients like primrose oil, potassium, and permanganate. These ingredients help your dog’s skin to begin to heal and help alleviate the itching and irritation. It is important to apply these as directed by your vet.
There are a few commercial topical sprays and creams that can be used to treat your dog’s psoriasis, including Zymox Veterinarian Strength Cream, Pet MD Hydrocortisone Cream, and Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Spray.
If you try over-the-counter shampoos and topicals and do not see improvements in your dog’s skin condition, it is important to see the vet. The vet may prescribe topical sprays or creams to help the condition improve rapidly.
Because food allergies are sometimes an underlying cause of canine psoriasis, it is necessary to make some dietary changes for your dog. Commercial dog foods are often full of fillers that are known to be the cause of allergy symptoms in dogs, including corn. However, you can sample some of the best dog food for allergies in the market.
Dogs that are fed unprocessed and natural foods are more likely to get relief from their psoriasis symptoms. You will need to make sure your dog’s diet is unprocessed and low in carbs, high in protein, and moderate in fiber.
Make sure to avoid feeding your dog any of the following dog food ingredients.
- By-products of any type
- Wheat or rice flour
- Gluten, which is found in wheat and corn products
- Preservatives like BHT, BHA, and Ethoxyquin
For the best results, make homemade dog food or choose the best organic dog foods, but make sure the ingredients are all pure and the food contains none of the above ingredients.
The food your dog eats is more important than supplements, but your dog can certainly benefit from specific dietary supplements that are geared towards improving his immune system function and making his skin healthier.
Instead of giving your dog a multivitamin, it is best to stick with vitamins and minerals that have been proven to offer skin health benefits, including the following.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids as absorbed in the best fish oil for dogs
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin C
When deciding which best dog vitamins and mineral supplements to give to your dog, makes sure to research carefully. Learn about the brands and how the ingredients are sourced. The more you learn about the vitamin and mineral company, the better equipped you will be to make the right choice for your dog’s skin health.
Your dog also needs boosted vitamin D. The best way to increase your dog’s vitamin D levels naturally is to allow him to spend a lot of time in the sunshine. Allow him to play outdoors as often as possible. The added sunshine will also be highly beneficial to his skin.
Is It Possible to Prevent Dog Psoriasis?
While it is not always possible to prevent canine psoriasis, a strong immune system is a goal. Psoriasis will typically only develop in a dog that has a compromised immune system. Supporting your dog’s immune system will greatly reduce the risks of him developing psoriasis.
If your dog’s breed is genetically disposed to developing psoriasis, it would be wise for you to talk to your vet and learn what steps you can take for prevention. Preliminary changes to your dog’s diet may help reduce the risks of psoriasis development.
Start with the supplements listed above. Feed your dog high-quality foods. Understanding dog nutrition is key.
You should also make sure to help your dog get plenty of exercises. Spending time out in the sunshine can do wonders for your dog’s skin health. It is especially helpful to allow him to spend time outside when it is not overly hot.
When your dog is fed the right food, gets vitamins, and receives exercise in the sun, he is less likely to develop skin conditions like psoriasis.
Human and Canine Psoriasis Are Surprisingly Similar
Psoriasis is often a condition known to only affect humans, but it can also occur in dogs. Both humans and dogs share some of the same symptoms and causes. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of canine psoriasis .
FAQ About Canine Psoriasis
Now, you know a lot more about canine psoriasis than you did before but you may still have lingering questions. The following are some of the top questions asked by dog owners regarding canine psoriasis. Allow the answers to these questions to further inform you.
1. Can a dog have eczema or psoriasis?
Dogs can develop both eczema and psoriasis. Because the symptoms are often very similar, you may confuse the two. If your dog develops scaling, redness, and itching, and irritation, it is important to seek the vet for a diagnosis. Your vet will perform specialized testing to determine what is causing your dog’s skin condition symptoms. A proper diagnosis will allow for the right treatment.
2. Is psoriasis in dogs contagious?
Although psoriasis is a painful and irritating condition, it is not contagious to other dogs, animals, or humans. You should still practice caution when touching your dog. Because his immune system has likely been compromised, you may find he can easily develop secondary infections.
3. What does dermatitis look like in dogs?
Canine dermatitis can also sometimes mimic the symptoms of psoriasis . The main causes of this condition are allergic reactions to fleas, pollen, grass, or dust mites. Your dog may also develop a skin infection. You may find redness and rashes on the ears, tummy, paws, and armpits.
4. What are the symptoms of dog psoriasis due to?
The main underlying cause of canine psoriasis is a compromised immune system. Psoriasis generally does not flare up unless your dog’s immune system is not functioning properly. Psoriasis may also arise as a result of your dog’s diet. It is important to determine the cause of your dog’s psoriasis symptoms. Once you know what is causing his symptoms, you can seek proper treatment.
Seek Vet Treatment
If your dog has developed the signs of psoriasis, seeking a diagnosis is important. Your vet is the best professional to determine what is causing your dog’s skin condition. Although psoriasis does not have a clear cure yet, you can put this skin condition into remission by taking care of your dog’s immune system.