Prevent and Treat Dachshund Skin Issues
Are Dachshunds Prone to Allergies?
Dachshunds, like many other small dog breeds, are prone to dry, itchy skin and allergy issues. As a dachshund owner, it is important to learn more about the underlying causes for itchy skin and using prevention and treatment methods that work.
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Food and Environmental Allergies generally go hand in hand with many skin issues. My dog, Artemus, was severely allergic to anything Beef Flavored. We bought him a large beef flavored cow femur from the store and the next day he was vomiting, licking and itching his paws, and his face was bloated like a balloon. That was a pretty clear indication that beef was one of his allergies.
Food Allergies can occur in any dog, but there are some breeds that are more susceptible to developing food allergies including Dachshunds, Bulldogs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Pugs.
Common Causes For Skin Issues
When your Dachshund’s skin ailments include itchy skin, rashes, hair loss, scabs, small bumps, or flaky skin… it’s time to look for the real cause of the issue.
- Scabies (aka: Mange): The most common cause of severe itchy skin is Scabies. Small red spots (caused by tiny mite bites) are present usually located on the skin of the dog’s ears, elbows or their back legs. The tips of the ears can also develop a crusty appearance. These little bugs are spread from other infected animals and their bedding.
- Fleas: If your dog’s itching and biting around their tail or hindquarters, that is usually a sure indication of Fleas! Fleas are tiny, shiny little bugs that can jump like grasshoppers. If you don’t treat your dog for fleas, then Flea Allergy Dermatitis can set in. This is a very itchy and bumpy rash that develops around the dog’s arm pits and inner thighs.
- Ticks: Blood sucking arachnids that love to attach themselves to your dog and engorge themselves. These nasty critters can carry and spread several diseases when biting your dog’s skin. Learn more about Tick prevention and removal in our detailed Tick Post.
Luckily, Fleas and Ticks can be stopped and prevented with some powerful flea and tick control through your pet store or veterinarian.
Note: Some Dachshunds have been known to have an allergic reaction to the Leptospirosis vaccine.
Corn, carrots, wheat (gluten), rice, soy, dairy, and meat ingredients are the biggest food allergy culprits! Processed dog foods include additives, food coloring, and preservatives which may also cause allergy issues.
Smaller dog breeds, like Dachshunds, have a harder time digesting starchy vegetables like corn and carrots. Unfortunately, corn is a very common filler ingredient in dog food. Always check the dog food label and avoid foods that use a lot of starchy fillers, especially in the first 5 ingredients.
Common Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs
- Itchy paws
- Constant licking
- Hot spots
- Scaly skin
- Pink colored skin, Rash
- Elephant skin texture
- Eye discharge
- Red eyes
- Hair loss
- Ear infections
- Yeast infections on the skin or ears
Did you know that some Dachshunds can outgrow allergies that affect them as puppies? As they grow, their immune system gets stronger. On the other hand, some allergies can unfortunately worsen with age and cause more severe reactions.
What is the Most Common Food Allergy in Dogs?
Top Dog Food Allergens (source: BMC Veterinary Research)
|Dog Food Allergen||% Dogs With Reported Reaction|
Note: There is a lot of hype out there about switching dogs to Grain-free dog food to help with allergy issues. Grain-free is not always the safest route to take. This type of food has been known to cause heart issues. Please read more about Grain-Free Dog Food Risks here.
Sticking with a limited ingredient dog food or making your dog’s food at home DIY, is a safer option.
If your dog tends to lick or itch during certain times of the year, they may have an Inhalation Allergy or Canine Atopy. Symptoms include itching, rubbing their face, and licking their paws caused by seasonal pollen. This is a lot like hay fever in people. Instead of respiratory problems, doxies are more affected with itchy and inflamed skin issues.
The Dachshund is one of those Dog Breeds that is more likely to be affected by seasonal pollen than other breeds. Think about it, Dachshunds are lower to the ground. Their bellies, paws, and arms are all exposed to grass, carpets, dusty floors, etc.. making it more likely to cause skin irritation or allergies.
Allergies Can Lead to Other Issues:
Unfortunately, that constant licking your dachshund is doing to his paws or skin can make them more susceptible to a yeast infection.
What is a yeast infection of the skin? Also called Malassezia Dermatitis, a yeast infection of the skin can look like a pink rash, which can then develop into thickened elephant skin.
The yeast thrives in a warm and wet environment. Unfortunately, a yeast infection causes more itching and can turn your dog’s skin crusty and even have a stinky smell to it.
How Do I Know What My Dog is Allergic to?
Dog Food Switch: If you believe your doxie may be allergic to a certain meat like beef or chicken, check out some of the dog foods that have duck, salmon, turkey, and venison instead. Check out the Dog Food Advisor website for a list of recommended limited ingredient and hypoallergenic dog foods.
It is a good idea to switch up your dog’s food once in a while to ensure they are getting the proper amount of nutrition that different dog food recipes provide.
Visit the Vet: In my opinion, the most accurate way to find out what ingredients your dog is allergic to is to have them tested at the vet. Generally, your vet will do a blood or a patch test to find out what is bothering your poor pup. Your vet can then formulate a special allergy medication for your dog to help with their issues. They may also recommend a more limited ingredient dog food diet.
How to Prevent Dachshund Skin Issues:
How to Treat Dachshund Skin Issues:
Common Skin Conditions in Dachshunds:
Acanthosis Nigricans is a skin condition mainly found in the dachshund dog breed. Usually, this disorder will show signs before the doxie’s first birthday. Symptoms include darkening and thickening of the skin, bacterial skin infections, and hair loss. The skin may feel greasy to the touch or appear flaky. This condition may spread all over the dachshund’s body overtime. If your dachshund has this condition, your vet can prescribe special dog shampoos and medications to treat the symptoms.
Dachshunds are prone to yeast infections (Also called Malassezia Dermatitis). As stated above, symptoms can include a pink itchy rash, skin thickening, and have a musty odor. Consult your vet for medicated dog shampoo and anti-fungal medication to help get rid of the yeast infection.
Older Dachshunds can develop Hypothyroidism. This is when the thyroid glands aren’t producing enough hormones. Symptoms include itchy and dry skin, frequent skin infections, thickening and discoloration of the skin, and hair loss. Other symptoms include ear infections, lethargy, and even changes in their behavior. Consult your vet, they do have treatments that can help you dog with this disease.