Inferior food - Ingredients found in poorly-made dog foods can affect a puppy or dog's skin and coat. Culprits include fillers, heavy grain content, and chemical additives (coloring, flavoring, and/or preservatives). Common signs are itchy skin, rash, hot spots, and/or changes in coat texture.
If you suspect that your Maltese's food may be to blame for ongoing, chronic skin issues, it will be time to reassess what you are feeding your puppy or dog
Frequency of baths
- Baths should be given once every 3 weeks. More than this can cause drying issues, and less than this can cause oily skin issues.
Poor coat products
- Anything that is applied to your Maltese will have an effect on both his skin and coat. There are some less-than-ideal products that have the wrong pH balance, which can really dry out the skin and make the coat brittle.
Another issue is shampoos that do not properly remove oils and/or leaves residue that blocks skin pores. Be sure to only use quality shampoos and coat products
on your Maltese.
- Wintertime weather can take a toll on Maltese dogs. Typically, the air is much dryer (holds much less humidity), so over the course of weeks and months, skin can dry out.
How to Fix Severe Dry Skin Issues
1. Address the root causes.
To successfully treat dry skin problems, it is important that you first rule out the top causes as listed above, and that any suspected health conditions are ruled out. If not, you may only see temporary results.
2. In the winter, work to increase the humidity in the house.
This is best done with humidifiers. Other things that can help to a smaller degree include having lots of houseplants, leaving the bathroom door open when showering, and leaving out containers of water (particularly when placed over heating elements).
3. Encourage your Maltese to drink enough water.
Even slight de-hydration can cause the skin to dry out. Fresh cool water in a stainless-steel or ceramic bowl should be left out at all times and swapped out often (not just topped off). For dogs that need extra motivation, the running water of a canine fountain can help.
4. Use products to treat the issue.
If a Maltese has hot spots (red, irritated skin), peeling, and/or intense itching caused by excessive dry skin, it is often best to begin by using specialized, medicated products.
These will contain ingredients that help to immediately to provide relief and work to repair the skin.
This includes lidocaine (immediate, temporary relief from itching and pain) and hydrocortisone (itch and irritation relief).
Other ingredients that can really help include wheat germ oil, colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera (these are all moisturizers that work to heal dry and cracked skin). And some treatments contain allantoin which is a plus; this stimulates healing.
There are 3 types of products that you'll want to use:
A medicated hot spot spray. This is for immediate relief. In most cases, you'll want to spray the irritated areas twice per day (morning and evening).
A specialized shampoo for hots spots and itch. When a dog is suffering from issues that need to be treated with specialized shampoos, baths need to be given much more often than otherwise. Depending on how bad the dry skin is, baths should be given every 2 to 4 days.
3) Followed by a medicated conditioner for hot spots. For the Maltese breed, due to the single coat of silky hair, following with a medicated conditioner will be an important part of treating the problem.
Once this is coating the entire body, leave this on for up to 10 minutes.
The SynergyLab's Veterinary Formula Clinical Care line of products are a very good choice for these (see below).
5. Use moisturizing products to prevent issues from reoccurring.
Once the dry skin has cleared up, from that point on, only use a superior shampoo that will work to combat dry skin. A quality one with oatmeal and aloe is a great choice.
In all cases, use a leave-in spritz. Since the Maltese breed has a white, single layer coat of hair, there is very little natural protection. Using a good coat spray can provide a protective layer that adds moisture and helps protect from the elements, including dry air and sun exposure.
Recommended products to treat and prevent severe dry skin are below.
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