Constant exposure to a wide range of environmental factors usually leaves dogs vulnerable to many types of skin diseases. These problems affect dogs of all breeds and ages, but senior dogs are more prone to old dog skin problems because of their advanced age as well as their weakened immune response.
It’s easy to determine if your pet is suffering from a skin issue by sight, touch, and even smell. Specifically, here are some indications of a skin problem:
- Scratching, licking, chewing, and other general signs of irritation
- Redness or inflammation
- Scaly or flaky patches
- Hair loss and bald areas
- Skin masses or lumps
Let’s go over some of these issues in greater detail.
Redness or Inflammation
Inflammation of the skin or dermatitis is usually associated with problems involving the internal organs, such as the pancreas, liver, and kidneys. In old dogs, liver disease and diabetes can cause necrolytic dermatitis, or superficial skin tissue death.
Scaling or Flaking
Senior dogs often exhibit scaling, which can vary between fine particles and sheets due to the physical changes brought about by aging. Scaly patches could also be caused by a number of other factors, including infections, vitamin or mineral deficiency, an allergy, parasitic infestation, hormonal disorders, and congenital defects.
Hair Loss (Alopecia)
In senior dogs, balding could just be a natural effect of aging and not a symptom of old dog skin problems. However, hair loss in patches, also referred to as alopecia, is worth looking into because the hair loss can be caused by parasites, bacterial or fungal infection, and even hormonal dysfunction such as hyperthyroidism. Alopecia in dogs can also be caused by poor diet and nutrition as well as inadequate grooming.
Lumps or Tumors
Lumps or tumors can develop in dogs regardless of the age. Although the exact cause of tumors may sometimes be difficult to determine, some of the factors that play a role in their development include parasites, irradiation, viruses, hormones, genetic predisposition, and chemicals.
As with humans, old dogs are more prone to exhibiting tumors, which are usually benign. These masses are generally left alone unless easily traumatized. On the other hand, senior dogs can also develop malignant tumors or cancers, which can be fatal if left untreated. Surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy are some of the treatment options.
Here’s How to Keep Your Dog’s Skin Healthy:
- Feed your pet the right diet.
- Old dogs need to be groomed more often, especially in the anal area. This will keep your dog clean and give you the opportunity to check for skin problems before they become too serious.
- Use shampoo specially formulated for dogs to prevent skin dryness, which is a common problem among senior dogs.
- Check for and prevent parasites, such as fleas, regularly. In case you should notice parasites, contact a veterinarian immediately.
- Check for and remove foreign objects attached to your dog’s fur or skin, such as burrs, foxtails, gum, and so on.
Most canine skin diseases can be treated or at least managed when caught early on, but old dog skin problems should be checked as soon as possible by a vet to prevent any age-related complications and to keep a simple condition from getting worse.
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