Caring for Your Pet's Eczema
The health of your pet's skin is very closely related to your pet's overall health. The skin and fur of your pet make up a large part of its body mass and need for nutrition. Although cats and dogs can have a variety of skin issues, one of the most common is eczema. Pet eczema is quite similar to human eczema. However, the options for eczema treatment are much more limited in pets.
In pets, eczema is usually the result of an allergic reaction. While humans experience allergy symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, and congestion, pets almost always have a reaction which is localized to the skin. Two types of eczema are commonly seen in pets: dry and moist. Dry eczema is characterized by dry, scaly, reddened and itchy skin around the ears and eyelids. Moist eczema, on the other hand, results in warm and tender skin with little pus-exuding sores along the back, head, forelegs, base of the tail, or abdomen. The hair will often become dirty and matted, resulting in hair loss and sometimes damage to the follicles.
As mentioned earlier, eczema in pets is the result of an allergic reaction. Pets can be allergic to a number of triggers, the most common of which are fleas, pollen, dust, wool and feathers. Most cases of eczema can be controlled by limiting your pet's exposure to the offending allergen. Just as some people are prone to allergies from genetics, some dog breeds are more prone to developing eczema due to genetics. While any breed can be affected, Poodles, Dalmatians, and white haired Terriers are particularly susceptible.
Soothing the Symptoms of Eczema
Eczema in pets can be a tricky malady to treat. A large portion of the creams and lotions suitable for human eczema treatment are toxic to pets. Your veterinarian may suggest several options for treating your pet's eczema, possibly with steroids. However, if you wish to stay away from potentially harmful medications there are several natural remedies for soothing your pet's eczema. One of the safest methods for soothing your pet's skin is with the gentle application of aloe. The best source of aloe is straight from the leaves of an aloe plant, which can be obtained relatively inexpensively from most greenhouses. You can also use bottled aloe, but be sure to check the ingredients. If it contains anything more than aloe and water, ask your veterinarian before using it. Another natural remedy is the use of moisturizing oils. As with an aloe treatment, make sure the oil you choose is safe for pets by checking with your veterinarian first, because many bottled oils contain other ingredients which may be toxic to your pet. To keep your pet healthy and eczema-free, be sure their diet includes quality pet food and vitamins. Pet skin health is very closely related to their diet and therefore many eczema cases can be prevented or treated with proper diet. You can also wash your pet less often in the drier months of winter, using a very mild shampoo, to maintain skin moisture and prevent eczema.
Photo Credit: The Likely Lass