Q&A: Soothing itchy dogs

  • Q: My terrier is an itchy dog with dry skin and is prone to skin complaints, such as mange. My vet said it is typical of his breed to suffer from skin conditions and gave me some Episoothe shampoo.

    Is there anything I could feed him to help improve the condition of his skin? His coat is lovely and shiny and his nails and teeth are all in good condition so I’m certain he is getting all the nutrients he needs. I currently feed him Bakers Complete with added oil.

    Baileys nutritionist Liz Bulbrook replies: Unfortunately, as your vet has mentioned, some breeds of dog are more prone to skin problems, despite feeding them quality balanced diets as you are doing.

    Do ensure that you are feeding the recommended quantities of food for the size and weight of your dog, as this should mean that your dog is then receiving adequate quantities of vitamins and minerals for overall health and condition.

    You do not mention what sort of oil you are feeding and how much. Standard blends of vegetable oil may well be adding additional calories to the diet, but unless they contain good levels of omega 3 oils and essential fatty acids such as lineolic then the oil with have a limited effect on skin condition.

    Adding herbal supplements to your dogs main diet could be beneficial, as herbs are natural substances that can generally be added without unbalancing the main diet.

    The easiest way of obtaining the ideal blend of herbs would be to use a specifically blended canine herbal coat & skin supplement such as Hilton Herbs Coat & Skin.

    These types of products usually contain herbs such as garlic, calendula, nettles, kelpand echinacea. Garlic, echinacea and calendula are reported to have antimicrobial action, which can help towards getting rid of bacterial micro-organisms than may be present on the skin.

    Evening Primrose capsules can also be a valuable aid tothe maintenance of good supple skin condition and hair growth. These contain the essential fatty acid GLA (gamma lineolic acid) and also additional vitamin E. Evening Primrose capsules are very palatable and can easily be added to your dogs food, I would suggest considering these in replace of the oil you are adding at present.

    In addition to feeding a healthy and balanced diet, daily grooming is also important as brushing not only removes the surface dirt, but also will massage the skins sebaceous glands stimulating and toning the skins condition.