Natural remedies for pet skin issues

If your pet is suffering from basic skin issues, you may be able to provide simple treatments at home. Try these remedies made from inexpensive cooking ingredients, bathroom staples and garden produce.

Natural remedies for pet skin issues

Acne

If you find slightly crusty bumps under your pet's chin and around its mouth, it may be acne.

  • Wash the area with mild soap, rinse well with warm water and dry thoroughly – acne thrives in damp places.
  • Plastic food dishes can harbour bacteria that cause this problem, so use ceramic or metal bowls.

Skin irritations

Check with your vet regarding what may have caused the irritation. It could be fleas, contact with grass or plants (such as wandering jew or buffalo grass), mange mites, tick larvae, or an allergy to food or inhaled particles (such as pollen or house dust mites).

  • Wash your pet's feet with cool water after it has been playing on freshly cut or dew-dampened grass.
  • If your pet suffers from a grass allergy, make cotton booties from an old T-shirt. Secure the material with a sticky bandage so it won't be chewed off easily.
  • Give your pet a bath in cool water if it is scratching excessively. Warm water makes the irritation worse. Add a handful of colloidal oatmeal (available from some pet shops, pharmacists and health food shops) to the water. The oatmeal moisturizes the skin and soothes skin irritations.
  • Apply an oatmeal conditioner after washing, as this can also help reduce skin irritation.

Sunburn

Some pets are susceptible to sunburn. Dogs that are light- or white-skinned, such as Dalmatians, and those that have short hair are prime candidates. White- and short-haired cats are particularly susceptible too.

  • Try to ensure your pet doesn't spend the hottest hours of the day (usually between 11am and 2pm) in direct sunlight.
  • Watch out for cats and dogs that love to laze in the sun, as they can suffer from burnt ear tips and sunburnt noses. Repeated sunburn may lead to skin cancers.
  • Relieve the discomfort and sting of sunburn by spraying the affected area with cool water mixed with witch hazel – it has a numbing effect. You can also apply some cooling and soothing aloe vera gel directly on the skin.

For simple skin problems, you can often provide your pet with effective treatment at home. But remember: if any symptoms persist or if you are unsure about the nature of the problem, always seek veterinary help.

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