Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment for Dogs

Seborrhea is a common skin condition in dogs, however is completely manageable with the appropriate seborrheic dermatitis treatment

Seborrheic Dermatitis versus Seborrhea

Seborrheic dermatitis is a subclass of seborrhea. In one kind of seborrhea, a dog's skin over produces oils that make his coat greasy, oily and extremely foul smelling. The other kind leaves a dog's skin very dry and scaly. Seborrheic dermatitis is a combination of the two; the dog will have dry skin along with the oily coat. It's very important to determine if your dog does indeed have seborrheic dermatitis versus the other kinds of seborrhea, so that treatment can be given accordingly.

Treatments Using Shampoos

Shampoos are an essential part of treatment for almost any skin condition. If your dog's skin is bothering him, he's going to bite, lick and scratch, which in turn is going to lead to many infections and open sores. Shampoos can assist greatly with this by providing immediate relief, as well as long-term effects if used as instructed.

For seborrheic dermatitis, look for a medicated shampoo with benzoyl peroxide. This shampoo should not contain any dyes, fragrances or other ingredients that may be irritating. These shampoos can be obtained from your local pet store or through your vet. When using these shampoos, be sure you follow all directions carefully. Wash your dog down with warm water (not hot) for 10 to 15 minutes before lathering them up. The shampoo should sit for about 15 minutes as well; this is the general rule of thumb, however always regard your bottle's instructions.

Keep shampoo away from the dog's eyes, inside of their ears, noses and mouths. If it helps, very gently place cotton balls into their ears to prevent shampoo and water from getting inside. Rinse out the coat thoroughly. Failure to do this can result in further irritating your dog's skin. Dry gently and repeat the bathing process as recommended by your doctor. 

Treatments Using Creams

While some dogs have seborrheic dermatitis most of their lives as a genetic trait, some others develop it as a result of an underlying problem that will need to be diagnosed by your vet. There are a number of creams you can purchase through your vet, pet store or even online to help alleviate some of the discomfort of dry, itchy skin. You might want to obtain an e-collar or a "no-bite" collar from your vet or pet store to ensure your dog doesn't ingest any cream you put on him.

Treatment with Nutritional Supplements

Many underlying causes of seborrheic dermatitis revolve around a lack of nutrients in your dog's diet, and the problem can be managed by supplementing these nutrients. Omega 3 fatty acids can be purchased in pill or liquid form. Either of these work, although some owners claim the liquid form to be more effective.

Along with the Omega 3 fatty acids, most definitely look into getting vitamins A, C and E. These are very beneficial to the health of your dog's skin and coat, amongst a variety of other things.

What Else Can Help

While treating the dermatitis, you should trim your dog's hair down to a more manageable level if they have long and/or thick coats. Note that you should not shave them, especially close to the skin. Shaving irritates even dogs with healthy skin, and would further aggravate any dog suffering from seborrhea.