Bacterial skin infections in dogs

Bacterial skin infections can have many causes, including allergies. Regardless of the reason, skin infections require swift action as they can cause itching and pain. Some dogs are more vulnerable to develop bacterial skin infections than others.

It’s important to check common areas like the paws, groins, and armpits. Skinfolds are particularly prone to skin infections, and dogs with heavy pendulous ears are very susceptible to infections. These infections happen because long, heavy ears can promote bacterial growth. However, any dog can develop a skin infection, so you should be on the lookout for warning signs.

Symptoms of skin infections include redness, itching, hair loss, bumps, pustules, and spots. We may be able to diagnose by looking; however, a conclusive diagnosis requires the examination of hair, discharge, and skin cultures. Some of the tests and procedures we may conduct include:

  • Skin scrapes and hair plucks.
  • A swab of the skin or pus to look under the microscope and culture for bacterial growth.
  • Looking down the ear with an otoscope to evaluate the ear canal.

If your dog is diagnosed with a bacterial skin infection, we will direct you to keep the affected areas as clean as possible. In certain dog breeds, it may be necessary to have their hair clipped to allow air to access areas to assist in the healing process. In many cases, prescription antibiotics will aid in recovery, however, we may also suggest topical creams or shampoos.

One of the most critical aspects of skin infection treatment is routine bathing which is beneficial because it:

  • Helps clean the skin, removing scaling and dirt that contains bacteria.
  • Can reduce any foul odours stemming from an infection.
  • May reduce itching and scratching.

We can direct you on the appropriate frequency of bathing for your pet and the type of dog shampoo to use. Bathing too frequently can irritate your dog’s skin, so the right balance is critical. Dog hygiene can be enhanced with the use of rinses and sprays in between baths.

How to prevent skin infections in dogs?

If you have a dog breed that is particularly susceptible to skin infections, consider speaking to us for a year-round plan to reduce the risks. Dogs with many skin folds might need maintenance treatment to keep these areas from becoming too moist and could require special wipes or shampoos to keep them clean. You can implement a routine where you inspect your dog for any visual signs of infection frequently.

If you suspect your pet has a skin infection, contact us for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Greenside Vets COVID-19 Update

Following the recent ‘stay at home’ and lockdown orders issued on 4th January 2021, we are continuing to offer as full a range of services as possible for our patients, whilst adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines.

As a practice, we have adopted a contactless approach to appointments. We will continue to provide the same high-quality services with the same friendly, caring people, just delivered in a way that protects our clients and teams from local outbreaks of COVID-19.

We are working in smaller teams to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and therefore lead times for appointments maybe a little longer than usual. Please bear with us at this time – we will do our best to make your appointment as smooth as possible.

Guidance for attending your appointment:

To keep everyone safe, please help us by:

·        Maintaining social distancing

·        Wearing a face covering where possible. If this is not possible, please contact us before your appointment so that we can discuss how best to support you and your pet

·        Sanitising your hands before and after your pet’s appointment

·        Using contactless payment methods wherever possible

·        Maintaining a safe distance from the practice entrance until you are contacted by a member of our team. If you are on foot, please ensure you are wearing suitable outdoor clothing to remain warm in cold weather spells. If you arrive by car, please remain inside the vehicle awaiting further instruction

When attending an appointment with your pet:

·        Be aware that our teams will be in full PPE at all times

·        Please phone us from outside the Practice to inform us you have arrived

·        A member of our team will alert you to when they are ready to collect your pet and how best to do this safely and without contact (i.e asking you to stand away, whilst your pet is retrieved from the car)

·        The vet will contact you by phone should they need to discuss anything with you during the consultation

·        Once the consultation has been completed, a member of our team will return your pet to you in a safe, contactless way, talk you through the appointment and arrange for payment to be made.

We have made these changes as the health and wellbeing of our patients, clients, and staff is our number one priority.

Thank you for your continued understanding during this time. We remain committed to delivering the best care for your pet and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Tips and advice for new puppy owners

As we get closer to COVID-19 related restrictions being slowly relaxed you’ll be looking forward to getting out and about more with your new puppy. Or, perhaps you’re thinking of buying a new puppy as life returns back to some kind of normal? Whatever your circumstances, we’ve put together a few tips for all new puppy parents.

First things first – vaccinations

Before embarking on any outdoor adventures, it’s essential, for the health of your puppy, that they have had their vaccinations. Initial vaccinations are usually given at two to four months of age, with a second vaccination two to four weeks later. Taking an unvaccinated puppy outside puts them at risk of canine diseases such as parvovirus and distemper which can, in some cases, be fatal. It’s better to wait until you can be sure of your puppy’s safety and wellbeing. Get in touch with us to book your puppy’s vaccination course – we’ll be happy to advise on timings and answer any questions you may have.

You may be interested in joining our Pet Health Plan – as a member, you’ll get vaccinations, monthly flea, tick, and worm treatments, and other benefits and discounts included under your monthly fee.

Find out more about our Pet Health Plan here

Puppy development

Puppies are the most receptive to new experiences between 3 and 18 weeks of age, so there’s plenty of time for you to help them develop before you even leave the house. During this time their brains effectively process any new sounds, smells, and situations they encounter. The memories of these experiences, good or bad, are stored away for future reference. As puppies mature, they rely on these memories to help them risk-assess new situations so they can react accordingly. Adult dogs who lack a memory bank of positive experiences are more likely to react inappropriately in a new situation by showing nervous or aggressive behaviour.

Separation

In the early days of puppy ownership, you’ll probably spend a lot of time with each other as you get to know them and watch their personality emerge. It is hard sometimes to separate but it is important to teach your new puppy how to be on their own. Separation anxiety can be a difficult problem if allowed to develop. To prevent issues developing as your puppy grows, we recommend the following:

  • Make sure your puppy has a safe space such as a crate or a bed
  • Spend increasingly longer periods of time in different rooms so your puppy learns to feel safe alone and knows you’ll always return
  • Encourage independence – as your puppy gains confidence, allow them to explore the garden alone
  • Provide interactive, interesting toys for your puppy to play with while you’re apart.

Noise

  • Gradually introduce your puppy to different noises around the house so they begin to accept, and not be scared of, a range of sounds. Make the experience positive for your puppy by rewarding them with a small treat each time you introduce a new noise. You could try dropping items, banging doors, singing, and shouting.
  • Sitting with your puppy near an open window or door is a good way to introduce them to traffic noise.
  • If your puppy is happy to be carried, you could both enjoy short walks together (while observing social distancing measures!)

Handling and grooming

It’s a great idea to help your puppy get used to being handled at a young age. Introduce a gentle grooming brush and spend a few minutes each day examining your puppy’s mouth, ears, and paws.

Play

Puppies learn a lot about social interactions through play. Short periods of energetic play are a good way for puppies to learn the basics such as ‘fetch’ and ‘hide and seek’. You could introduce your puppy to walking on a lead and practice in the garden in preparation for when you can venture further afield.

Socialising with other puppies and dogs

An important part of development for your new puppy is socialising with other dogs. Where possible, and in line with government guidelines, try to meet up with friends or family who have canine companions so your puppy will get to know them and how they behave. This will be essential for the future when you encounter other dogs on walks and public outings.

Children

If your puppy lives with children, this is a great opportunity for everyone to be involved in your pup’s socialisation and training. It’s helpful to teach children how to recognise when your puppy is tired. Tired puppies can become grumpy; they need a safe, quiet, space for uninterrupted rest.

Dress-up

When you’re out and about with your vaccinated puppy, they will encounter many different people with different appearances. It’s a good idea to try to emulate this during the early days whilst you’re at home. Try out hats, sunglasses, and veils; allowing your puppy to approach you in their own time and rewarding them when they do.

Cars

If you plan to take your puppy out with you in a vehicle, it’s a good idea to introduce safe travel to them early on. Get them used to a travel crate in the boot, or a doggy-seatbelt, even if you don’t actually drive anywhere. Gradually spend longer periods of time with your puppy in the car and give plenty of praise and treats each time. Feeding meals in the car is a good way for your puppy to develop a positive association with your car. You could start the engine too to introduce your puppy to the noise and vibration of a car.

If you’d like further advice on your puppy’s development, including diet, insurance, introducing a crate, or anything else, please call us. Our vets and nurses are happy to discuss any concerns you have. We’re very excited to meet your new additions and watch them grow into happy, healthy dogs.