Skin is often one of the first places your dog will show signs of chronic disease. So it’s always important to pay attention to your dog’s skin health before skin conditions appear.
The health of your dog’s skin is an indicator of your dog’s deeper health … dog skin conditions are often the first sign of immune disease.
Signs of skin conditions can be subtle at first. And left untreated, they can progress.
The early signs of skin disease include:
- A dull coat without a healthy shine.
- Flaky skin with a small amount of dandruff
- A musty odor
These signs can progress to:
- Thickening of the skin
- Yeast infections
- Bacterial infections
- Hot spots
Unfortunately, itchy dogs are very common. Chronic skin complaints are one of the most pervasive (and hard to treat) health problems that we see in dogs.
Although dog skin conditions can appear in various forms, the underlying cause is always the same. Ear infections, chewed feet, hot spots and other skin complaints are always the tip of the iceberg … they all result from a deeper problem with your dog’s immune system or toxins in his body.
Often, it’s both.
Even though dog skin conditions appear to be superficial, they run much deeper. This means you’ll need to treat the inside of your dog to see changes on his outside.
Here are my top 10 natural steps to reverse your dog’s skin conditions from the inside out …
10 Natural Steps To Manage Dog Skin Conditions
#1 Switch Your Dog To Raw
This is the first step for any health issue. Dogs with severe gut problems may need to have their food lightly cooked, but this is rare. You should also add plenty of vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, and zucchini to help filter toxins.
Avoid starchy carbohydrates as much as is possible … they can aggravate skin conditions. And never feed any foods with preservatives, colorings or other chemicals.
#2 Use Herbs To Detoxify Your Dog
This will help clear toxins from his gut, liver, lymphatics and kidneys. Here is the best way to detoxify and support your dog’s gut and immune system:
– Feed a clean, raw diet (it’s worth repeating a second time)
– Buy the following dried organic herbs for your dog:
Mix all the herbs together in equal parts in a large jar. Every night, put two tablespoons of the herbs in 1 cup of boiling water, cover the cup and let them steep overnight. Strain the fluid and mix the liquid into your dog’s meals.
**These are gentle herbs and can safely be given long term. However, it is important to give the body a break. Give them for 3 weeks, then take a week off.
[Related] You can also use herbs to treat many of the most common skin conditions. Find the best ones here.
#3 Detoxify The Liver
Milk thistle is the go-to herb for cleaning out the liver. If you’re using human capsules, assume the dose is for a 150 pound person and give your dog an amount based on his body weight. For extra strength, you can add glutathione to the milk thistle (again, at the same dose if it’s a human product). If it’s a liver detox product for dogs, follow the directions.
Don’t use milk thistle long-term … give it only for 2 – 4 weeks at a time and then continue every month or two.
#4 Detox The Kidneys
Every month or two, you can make a tea to detox the kidneys following the same directions as above. The herbs you’ll use are:
#5 Detoxify The Lymphatic System
Regular exercise is great for this, as is massage and bodywork. You can also make an herbal tea to detoxify and support the lymphatic system with:
- Red clover
Note: If you suspect your dog has a bacterial overgrowth, she might need some help. Your holistic vet, homeopath or herbalist can help you out. There are also some good, ready-made products like the Leaky Gut Protocol that can help with yeast and its causes.
#6 Treat Your Dog With Homeopathy
This will address the deep distortions of your dog’s vital force. Homeopathy is the best way to address the deep down causes of dog skin conditions. Working with a homeopath is easy and can be done by phone. You can find a homeopathic vet at theavh.org.
[Related] Want to know more about homeopathy and how it works? Find the basics here.
#7 Repair The Gut
Since most of the immune system lives in your dog’s gut, you need to address his gut health. The best way to do this is to feed your dog high quality probiotics daily for several months. The probiotics will balance the bacteria in the gut and restore the health of the immune system. A high fiber diet will also help provide prebiotics, which are soil for the probiotics to grow on.
#8 Support The Immune System
Medicinal mushroom blends do a fantastic job of supporting the immune system. There are several good products for pets. Make sure the mushrooms are organic and follow the instructions on the packaging. You can also use human products and again, adjust the human dose for your dog’s weight
Vitamin C is also very helpful for healthy immune function. But don’t buy ascorbic acid … find a natural form of vitamin C from camu camu or acerola instead.
#9 Avoid Environmental Toxins
While you detoxify your dog, you’ll want to make sure you’re not adding new toxins … if you do, his skin condition will continue. Go through your home and remove as many chemicals and artificial fragrances as you can (they’re very toxic).
#10 Reduce Stress
Last, but not least, reduce any stress in the humans and dogs in the household. Emotional stress is a big trigger for skin conditions. Take time out as a family to relax, meditate and exercise. If there is major stress going on, get help to process and move through it. If your dog has stress, anxiety or trauma, think about training or body work. It will all help!