Chronic and intense itching, redness, skin licking and hair loss are all symptoms of atopy, a skin condition caused by allergies to pollen, mold or other substances in the environment. Giving your pooch regular baths will soothe his irritated, itchy skin and wash away the allergens responsible for your his symptoms. If bathing doesn't help, or if your dog develops open sores or other alarming symptoms, consult your vet right away. He may need a prescription-strength, oral medication to manage his allergies.
Bathe your dog once each week, or more often if your vet recommends it. Use lukewarm water to prevent drying out your pet's skin; hot water can make itching worse.
Choose a hypoallergenic shampoo designed specifically for dogs with skin conditions. Lather and leave in place for 10 minutes, or as directed on the bottle. If your vet has prescribed a specific antibacterial or other medicated shampoo for your dog, use that instead.
Opt for a diluted baby shampoo if your dog has raw patches on his skin that burn or sting when in contact with regular or medicated shampoos. You may need to wait until his skin heals a little before moving on to these products. Consult your vet if you have questions or concerns.
Rinse your dog's skin and coat very well after shampooing. Shampoo residue can worsen itching and flaking skin. Make certain you rinse under his neck and belly.
Pat your dog dry with a soft, absorbent towel. Allow him to shake to remove as much water as possible.
Apply any moisturizers to his damp skin, as directed by your veterinarian. If you are not using a moisturizer, allow his skin and coat to air dry. Use a blow dryer on low heat only when truly necessary because of weather or other concerns.
Use topical corticosteroids or other products or medications, as prescribed. It may be best to wait an hour or two after bathing to apply medications to ensure proper absorption.
Reduce or increase the frequency of baths if your pup does not favorably respond to your current schedule. An increase in itching may mean your shampoo is too harsh or you are washing him too often. No change in his condition may mean you need to bathe him more frequently.
Items You Will Need
- Hypoallergenic shampoo
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."