How to deal with skin problems in a Newfoundland dog?

sta: Any good ideas for skin problems in a Newfoundland?
Our Newf has severe dry skin. It is dry and scabby. When I brush him the brush is full of white flakes, looks a little like oatmeal. He also has hard gray bumps on his elbows. We have tried steroids (made him pee all over the house), antibiotics, antibacterial sprays, anti-itch sprays. Nothing seems to help. He does not bite at it, but licks constantly.

newfoundland photo

Photo Credit: jeremytarling/Flickr
Answers and Views:

Answer by xoashxo36
Try changing his diet. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements are available and really help with skin problems. Bathe him in oatmeal shampoo or hypoallergenic shampoo. If none of these seems to help, he may need to have allergy shots weekly from the vet!

Answer by D D

Your dog may have skin atopy.

He will need to be tested to see what exactly he is allergic to, this is done in conjunction with vet advice.

The first thing they do is look at the dogs diet and will give you advice on best food and any supplements that may help as well as any restrictions and special breed needs.

Next is house and lifestyle ie carpets, furnishings, bedding, textiles and amount the dog is living indoors in centrally heated type houses. The biggest enemy being the house dust mite. Prolific cleaning, vaccum daily(yes daily), keep dog off bed and sofas, wash all bedding/towels at 60 degrees (which kills dust mites). Other such things as restricting use of VOC's and sprays used for cleaning products and all other household smellies that get into a dogs system and break it down can cause severe problems.Just use mild detergent and hot soapy water to clean surfaces. You'll also save loadsa money.

Once all this has been done for a number of months (3-6 months) and nothing found and condition worsening then they can do a series of test prick injections over the dog on a shaved bit which can then identify specific products/mites that may be contributing to the problem and then give monthly injections to help build his immunity to the thing that was found.
It can be a long haul but its worth it for the comfort of the dog for the quality of his life. The itching drives them crazy as the body producing antigens goes into hyperdrive. The licking can become behavioural and go onto chewing and biting and breaks the skin and then becomes infected.
Do try to stop him licking as it will increase as this goes on. Be gentle and patient, he will be in distress at times and driven to distraction, he may be temperamental and could get quite growly too if approached.

Viacutin supplement (essential fatty acids)in his food from vet may help to start with.Vet can give you shampoo too.

Oh yes -make sure you are insured, none of this is going to be cheap, if your dog has skin atopy then its a systemic condition and can lessen his overall immunity and will need lifelong vet care.

best wishes


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  1. Sound Bay Newfoundla says

    He could have allergies. You may want to try switching foods. Lamb based foods usually are good for dogs with allergies. He also might be allergic to the shampoo that is being used. Try a shampoo for sensitive skin with oatmeal and tea tree oil. He may also be allergic to grains or cleaning solutions used in the home. Try making some switches and see if it helps him.

  2. Crystal says

    He may have a food allergy so it would be worth testing this theory out by feeding an allergenic food like California Naturals or Natural Balance with only two ingredients. Choose a different protein source than the one you are currently feeding that he has not been exposed to. Beef, corn, soy and wheat are the most common foods dogs are allergic to.

    I would also suggest adding Omega 3 fatty acids to the diet with Salmon oil (available at petstores) or fish oil capsules. About 1500 mg for a dog of his size.

    The "gray bumps" are simply callouses which are common in large dogs. You can prevent them or keep them by getting worse by giving the dog a soft place to lay. I use a twin size mattress for my 150 lb. Malamute.

  3. Jessie4u says

    You need to be careful of different shampoos. Oatmeal has a drying agent in it and the skin is already dry. I raised West Highland terriers. They seamed to be notorious for having skin problems. Many of these skin problems have been created by the owners bathing them too frequently, and using the wrong shampoo. I used Dr Bronner's Equliptus shampoo. It has vitamin E and more good oils in it. The use of this helped cure any rash that they had. Also it would stop itching I'm a firm believer in this soap. You can order it on line. The Equliptus sent helps to repel fleas. Some dogs are allergic to fleas. I hate the use of Steroids in a dog. I also would try a natural lamb and rice food.

  4. Clarice says

    Omega 3 fatty acids can do wonders, fish oil too. A veterinarian once told me to use tuna oil ( from canned tuna ).
    Ask your veterinarian how much to give according to your dog's weight. If you're not giving enough, it won't do any good.

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