Retriever Skin Problems

Retriever skin problems are fairly common and the vast majority are allergy related.  Fortunately, most of them are treatable or preventable through proper care and diet.

retriever skin problemsSkin problems are rarely serious enough to cause major health problems but they can be very distressing to your dog.

Common Retriever Skin Problems

There are several types of allergies that may affect a retriever’s skin:

By far the most common of retriever skin problems is Flea Allergy which can lead to acute moist dermatitis, otherwise known as ‘hot spots’.

  • Symptoms. Hypersensitivity to flea saliva can cause incessant itching, biting and chewing. One flea is enough to set off a reaction. If hot spots develop, they will present as inflamed patches of raised skin which might be pus filled.
  • Treatment. A thorough flea eradication program is called for. Vacuuming the whole house, treating the pet’s bedding, as well as shampooing the dog regularly with special shampoo is advised.

Contact Allergy

  • Caused by – contact with things such as chemicals, materials, flea collars etc.
  • Symptoms - itching and irritation on contact spot.
  • Treatment – eradicating the offending substance.

Food Allergies

  • Caused by – allergy to artificial ingredients such as preservatives, sugar, pork, fish, chicken, wheat, soy and corn.
  • Symptoms – dry scaly skin, dull coat, itching, ear inflammation, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Treatment – changing the diet completely or rotating foods can help cure food allergies.

Inhalant Allergies

  • Caused by – tree and grass pollen, house dust, mold, and mildew.
  • Symptoms – severe itching, coughing and sneezing.
  • Treatment – antihistamines can help with seasonal allergies.

Other Retriever Skin Problems

  • Sarcoptic Mange. An extremely itchy condition caused by mites, affecting the ears, abdomen, elbows and hocks and resulting in bloody crusts and bumps and hair loss.
  • Demodectic Mange. This is more difficult to spot as it may cause only moderate hair loss and itching. It usually attacks dogs with an undeveloped immune system like a puppy but in older dogs it signals a weak immune system.
  • Ringworm. This is caused by a fungus, rather than a worm infestation and causes redness, itching and scabbing. This requires immediate veterinary treatment to stop the spread and transmission of the disease from dog to human and back.

General Treatment for Retriever Skin Problems

Even though there is a long list of possible skin conditions in retrievers, it must be remembered that the skin is a reflection of the overall health and condition of the dog. Skin problems, even allergies, are far less frequent in dogs that are fed an adequate canine diet, exercised appropriately and groomed regularly. Lack of stimulation causes boredom and stress, whilst lack of high quality fats and other nutrients in the diet will adversely affect the skin.

It is advisable to consult a vet first to find the cause of the skin problem.  After treating the symptoms to get them under control, the first place to look is your pet’s diet.  If your dog’s skin is suffering, it is best to adopt a holistic approach to eradicating retriever skin problems.