How to Treat a Skin Irritation on a Labrador Retriever

Itchy, irritated skin is the most common symptom of an allergic reaction in Labrador retrievers.
Itchy, irritated skin is the most common symptom of an allergic reaction in Labrador retrievers. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

The Labrador retriever is the most popular dog breed in the U.S., according to American Kennel Club rankings. This is because Labs are intelligent, easily trained and loving dogs that thrive in family settings. They are loyal companions to adults and children and can help hunters retrieve fallen fowl. A skin irritation can dampen your Lab’s enthusiasm for life, however. A Lab with irritated skin may lick or bite itself until it loses fur or even causes sores. If you notice this behavior in your Labrador retriever, treat its skin irritation to help it stay feeling healthy and energetic.

Things You'll Need

  • Flea and tick collar
  • Antihistamines
  • Dog shampoo and conditioner

Work with your veterinarian to determine the cause of the skin irritation. A veterinarian can run tests for allergies, bacterial infections and parasites. All of these are common causes of skin irritation in Labrador retrievers. Once your veterinarian helps you isolate the cause of the problem, you can begin treatment.

Give your Lab medications or apply ointment to the irritated skin if allergies or bacterial infections are a problem. Get recommendations from your veterinarian before giving your Labrador retriever any type of medication, however, as some human medications and even ointments can be harmful or cause further allergic reactions. In the case of allergies, medications and ointments may not cure the irritation but they can offer relief until you discover the cause of the allergic reaction.

Identify the specific allergen causing your dog’s skin reaction with the help of your veterinarian. Remove the allergen from your dog’s environment as much as possible. Avoid foods with ingredients your dog is allergic to, purchase hypoallergenic bedding or place an air purifier in your home. Ask your veterinarian for an antihistamine prescription for your dog if seasonal allergies, which are difficult to avoid, are the problem.

Bathe your Labrador retriever with a shampoo prescribed by your veterinarian to kill parasites such as fleas and mites that might be causing the skin irritation. Use the shampoo as instructed to reduce the risk of harm to yourself and your dog. Purchase a flea collar and tick collar for your Labrador to discourage parasites from attacking in the future.

Wash your Labrador retriever’s fur frequently to keep it free of dirt and other debris that can cause itchiness and skin irritation. Always use a shampoo formulated for dogs and include a conditioner to keep your Lab’s skin from drying out.

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