PETS Magazine: Ask the experts column, by Desmond Chan (Singapore Special's skin woes)
Q: My black mongrel has greasy skin, really bad dandruff and smells funky super quick—within a day or two of being showered. I usually bathe her once a week, sometimes twice weekly if she smells really bad. However, I’m not sure if I’m worsening her dandruff and/or making her coat greasier by bathing her more often. What’s the best way to manage this?
A: Greasy skin could be hereditary, caused by bad diet, stress or allergy. Showering many times over short intervals may dry out the skin and result in increased sebum production. It’s recommended to bathe your dog with a natural, gentle, conditioning shampoo and conditioner about once a week or every fortnight to keep your pet clean without stripping his skin and fur of natural oils.
Dandruff refers to dead skin cells which may be caused by allergies, dry weather or poor diet. You can use an anti-dandruff shampoo which has ingredients to moisturise and hydrate the skin and coat, or brush your pet regularly to stimulate his body’s natural oil production. This may help to reduce or eliminate dandruff.
If your pet smells funky within a day or two of showering, either the showering isn’t properly done or your pet has a skin condition that needs to get checked by your vet. Focus on lathering more between the paws, nail beds, armpits, sanitary areas, neck and chest. These areas tend to trap the most dirt and grime. Rinse off the shampoo thoroughly as any residue left behind on your pet’s skin may lead to allergic reactions and may trap even more dirt. Ensure that your furkid’s coat is completely dry after showering as wet fur provides a potential breeding ground for bacteria, which may in turn aggravate skin issues. Moisture remaining in the fur may also lead to a build-up of undesirable odours.
A dog with skin allergies may require more frequent (once to twice a week) bathing and conditioning to keep his skin issues under control. For pooches with skin conditions, use a shampoo that is gentle and hypoallergenic. An ideal shampoo should be one formulated with minimal ingredients that are natural and contains no harsh chemicals. To better address the skin condition, medicated and anti-itch shampoos can be considered under a vet’s recommendation. Skin issues are complex and may imply underlying health conditions. If your dog has long-standing skin issues, it is best to work together with a veterinarian and develop a treatment that addresses the root cause.