Is your dachshund scratching all the time? Is he biting and licking himself raw? Does he have a rash? Don’t worry – we’re going to help you figure out why your dachshund is so itchy.
Why is my dachshund so itchy? If your dachshund is constantly scratching, he might have fleas, a skin condition or allergy. Dachshunds are prone to dry, flaky and/or oily skin. They’re allergic to certain foods and things in the environment (grass and pollen), which can make their skin flare up.
Read on to find out what makes dachshunds itch, what skin issues they’re prone to and, most importantly, what you can do about it.
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Are dachshunds prone to skin problems?
Yes, dachshunds are prone to skin problems. Some suffer from dry, flaky skin and some have flea allergy dermatitis. Blue and Isabella dachshunds are prone to colour dilution alopecia, putting them at risk of skin disease, dermatitis and infection.
This is what you need to know:
When was the last time you gave your dachshund a flea treatment? It’s fairly easy to check for fleas and good to rule this out before you start worrying about skin conditions or allergies.
Get your dachshund to sit still and gently part his fur. Can you see any bites or red bumps? Is there any flea dirt on his skin? Can you see any live fleas in his coat? When you brush his hair, do any fleas fall or jump out? If so, apply a flea treatment (or ask the vet for flea pills) and wait a day or so to see if the scratching stops. If it doesn’t, it’s not fleas making him so itchy.
Flea allergy dermatitis
If your dachshund has had fleas, watch out for a rash on his legs or around the base of his tail. This is a sign of flea allergy dermatitis, which is basically when your dachshund’s skin reacts badly to fleabites. You’ll spot it because your dog will keep scratching even though you’ve given him a flea treatment. Don’t panic if your dachshund gets this – it looks nasty but the vet should be able to clear it up with a course of medication.
Some dachshunds are sensitive to the topical flea treatments themselves and this can be the cause of their itchy skin. You can get flea pills from the vet that can easily be hidden inside a chunk of cheese. Or you can look into natural flea treatment alternatives like ‘Billy No Mates’ – a herbal flea, tick and mite repellent you just add to your dogs food.
It’s normal for dachshunds to scratch every so often but, if he’s doing it all the time, he may have dry or flaky skin. He’ll probably have dandruff in his coat too and, if you part his fur to look at his skin, you may see that it’s cracked and crusty. If it’s really bad, he might even start scratching or moving his leg just because you’ve touched his skin.
Another thing to check for is smell. If his coat smells, and he has oily patches in any folds, he probably has a skin condition. You may be able to clear this up by changing his diet and moving over to natural skincare. But, if you notice any bleeding or scabbing (or anything else that looks painful), pop him to the vet to rule out any serious conditions.
Your dachshund’s skin issues could be down to something he’s eating. Some dachshunds are allergic to soy or wheat and eating too much of it can make their skin flare up. Human food is no good for them either as anything that’s processed, too fatty or salty can also cause issues. Changing their diet to an organic, natural or raw diet can really help clear up their skin.
Your dachshund’s skin issues could be down to environmental allergies. His belly is so low to the ground his skin comes into contact with grass and pollen all the time. If he happens to be allergic to either of these things, he’s definitely going to suffer with itchy skin.
The only thing you can really do is bathe him with soothing neem, aloe or oatmeal shampoo. Keep the grass short in the garden and clear up any dog poop that’s out there. If you’re going for walks, stick to the pavement or path and try to avoid long grass as much as possible.
Colour dilution alopecia
Dachshunds with dilute coat colours like blues or Isabellas are far more prone to skin conditions than those with natural coat colourings. They often suffer from colour dilution alopecia, which is basically where the hair follicle is so weak the dog’s fur falls out in patches and doesn’t grow back. This leaves the skin exposed, putting them at risk of developing infections, skin conditions, and even cancers.
Don’t buy dilute dachshunds – the way they’re bred is cruel! If you already have a dilute dachshund, apply sun cream to any bare skin when you take him out and make sure he’s getting the natural oils he needs from his diet. And if you notice any serious issues, go straight to your vet for advice.
How do you care for your dachshund’s skin?
Feed your dachshund a healthy diet (without too many grains and with plenty of natural oils). Groom him regularly and avoid using harsh products when bathing. Natural and organic shampoos that contain aloe vera or oatmeal work well to soothe the skin.
This is what you need to know:
Avoid processed foods
Whatever diet you feed your dachshund, try to avoid processed foods with artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives. It’s best to keep your dog food as natural as possible. Dogs weren’t made to digest artificial ingredients or things that are too salty and his body may not be able to deal with them. Also, make sure his food doesn’t have a high percentage of grains like soya and wheat, as some dachshunds can be allergic to them.
Change to a RAW diet
Moving your dachshund over to a raw diet can be a great way to improve the condition of his coat and skin. Maybe you could give it a try? There are loads of good raw dog food brands around nowadays and the food is easy to prepare. Frozen raw food is natural and chemical-free. All you have to do is pop it in your dog’s bowl and wait for it to defrost – easy!
Add Omega 3s
We all know the secret to good skin comes from within. So, a good tip is to add natural oils to your dachshund’s food for some extra Omega 3. Fish oil, coconut oil and flaxseeds are all great options to keep skin supple and moisturised, and your sausage dog will love the extra flavour too.
Some people also add probiotics to their dog’s food to help them digest the nutrients and reduce the chances of them developing allergies. It’s basically a supplement you get in liquid or soluble powder to mix in with the dog food. If you do decide to do this, make sure you check the instructions carefully and talk it over with your vet.
Give the changes time
If you do make changes to your dachshund’s diet, you’re not going to see immediate results but should start noticing an improvement within a few months. His coat will look more lustrous and, hopefully, he won’t be scratching any more.
Regular grooming is also important for your dachshund’s skin. Are you brushing his coat every few days? Smooth, wire and long-haired dachshunds have different grooming needs but, whatever type of dachshund you have, brush them regularly to remove any dead fur and let the natural oils flow from their skin. Use this time to check their skin over and look for any issues like fleas, dry skin or sore areas.
Use natural shampoo
When you bathe your dachshund, use a natural, fragrance-free doggy shampoo and conditioner. Shampoos with neem, oatmeal and aloe vera are gentle and soothing on delicate sausage skin. Just make sure you wash all the soap off thoroughly before getting him out of the bath.
Don’t use human shampoo
Only use dog shampoo and conditioner when bathing your dachshund. Human shampoos have the wrong PH balance and are too acidic for doggy skin. Using it would make your dachshund’s skin red, itchy, flaky and sore. It could also make him more susceptible to bacterial infections and viruses.
When should you visit the vet?
If your dachshund’s itchy skin doesn’t improve with flea treatments, diet or grooming changes, or his skin is sore, bleeding, crusty or raw and you’re worried he has a more serious condition, it’s best to take him to your local vet.
So there you have it. Dachshunds are prone to skin issues and can suffer from flea allergy dermatitis, food and environmental allergies, giving them dry, flaky, cracked and raw skin. No one wants to see their dachshund itchy, so stick to a natural diet and grooming routine to keep his skin healthy, and he should end up with a beautiful, glossy and lustrous coat.