A Q&A with Dogtor A!

Hi gang! Wow the year is flying! So, looking back on the year, I thought I’d share with you the skin questions I’ve been asked most often as a Vet so far.

Q1. How often should I bath my dog?

A. So this one comes up a lot and the answer varies depending on the dog’s coat, skin and lifestyle. My rule of thumb is to wash your dog every 2 weeks. I’ve taken this advice from a veterinary dermatologist who made the comparison to washing our own hair. If we wash too frequently then we will strip the hair of its natural oils, especially if we are using shampoo with poor quality ingredients.

But of course, if we don’t wash frequently enough then all the things our dogs roll in will build up in the skin and coat. This can lead to skin problems for our pets and smelly couches for us! If a fortnightly dog-wash with a natural dog shampoo isn’t holding the smells at bay then you can go to town with a good quality dry shampoo in between baths.

Q2. Part 1 - Do I need to use a conditioner after bathing my dog?

A. Yes.

Q2. Part 2 - (From the husband in the consultation room) Really?

A.Yes! We’ve just talked about how washing can reduce the level of naturally occurring oils in the coat and it takes time for the body to produce more of these protective oils. A quality conditioner is the fastest way to get some back in the meantime. Just make sure to use a dog conditioner with natural oils that are gentle on the skin.

Q3. How do I stop my dog from chewing its feet?

A. Dogs chew their feet for a number of reasons. Allergies, infection, pain, boredom, anxiety or habit. Quite often the inciting cause is itchy, allergic skin. If a dog’s feet are itchy from allergies, then they can keep the skin inflamed by chewing and licking at the feet. This creates a cycle where the skin remains itchy and sensitive so the dog keeps licking at it. In time, the moisture from licking can lead to bacterial and fungal infections which are also itchy. If the problem goes untreated it can lead to licking out of habit which is more difficult to stop.

If your dog is chewing or licking its feet, pounce quickly. When the irritation is mild then early and regular application of a topical treatment can break the cycle. I try to start with natural products for mild symptoms. The Dr Zoo Crusty Nose, Itchy Toes Nose & Paw Butter is perfect in this case.

Sometimes there are other causes and different treatments are required. An infection may have been present from the start (it can be a chicken or the egg situation). If you don’t see improvement quickly, have your dog’s skin examined at the vet.

Q4. Is it safe to use a hairdryer after bathing my dog?

A. Honestly guys, I’d leave this one to the professional groomers. Causing nasty skin burns is easier than you think and of course, there is the risk of electrocution with an excited, wet doggo having a wrestling match with a hairdryer. If you find towel drying similar to watching paint dry then give the Dr Zoo Shammy a try. It dries the coat really fast plus you don’t have to wash a huge bath towel that now smells like a wet dog. #winning

These are just a few of the questions I’ve received this year and this is one of the things I love about my job – getting inside the pet owners mind. If you’ve got a skin related question burning you up like cats on a hot tin roof, leave it in the reply below. Who knows, maybe I'll answer it on my next Q & A with Dogtor A!

Xo Dogtor Andy