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PON Skin Issues


Many PONS suffer from allergies which are often manifested as itching, dry or red skin, and may be a factor in recurring ear infections and hot spots. Allergy tests may be done with family vets to pinpoint food or environment related triggers.. An elimination diet may also be useful in diagnosing the cause. In the case of mild itching and scratching, switching to a home cooked,raw diet or grain-free dog food will help and reduce symptoms. In more severe cases, strong medications may be recommended by veterinary specialists. Dealing with allergies is not uncomplicated and requires a lot of patience.

Supplements have helped many PONS and include the addition of Salmon Oil capsules which can be added to the food up to a dose of 1000mg per 10lbs body weight. Borage Oil can also help, the dose for this is typically 1000mg per 50lbs body weight.  A good probiotic/enzyme blend can also help alleviate some symptoms of allergies. Some owners have found dried nettle leaf helps given at a rate of 1tsp per 50lbs.However, this may cause loose stools in some PONS. Yucca can also help in the short term to reduce hair loss from scratching inflammation and halt severe itching episodes.
PON owners should avoid trying new supplements at once and start with adding salmon oil for a few weeks and observe if scratching decreases. Locating a veterinarian who practices alternative treatments may prove invaluable.

Shampoos which help with itching include oatmeal and tea tree. Purepet shampoo may be found online and at various pet stores. A tea tree rinse after shampooing may also sooth skin.. This is formulated by adding ˝tsp Tea tree oil to one pint of water. This rinse is poured over the PON and left on the fur.

Hot Spots may be triggered by insect bites such as fleas, mosquitoes etc or spiders, or by your PON scratching or biting a parts of his body. They begin as a red inflammation, then quickly get larger and often yellowy or crusty. The sooner owners apply treatment, the better the outcome. Fur needs to be cut  around the spot at least half an inch of normal skin. The most effective treatment  is Witch Hazel, Aloe and Tea Tree. Mix 4oz of witch hazel with aloe and 10 drops of pure tea tree oil in a small spray bottle, and squirt that on the hot spot twice a day. This mixture is excellent for drying up hot spots and wounds. If the hot spot is over a joint, it may be that your PON is experiencing some discomfort in the area.
 Hot Spots may also be caused by collars, so be sure to check your PON's neck regularly and cleanse and thoroughly dry any rubbed areas.
Some PONS are prone to ear infections, usually one particular ear. Again, the best prevention is keeping a close check on the PON and treat the area as soon as symptoms appear. Black gunk in the ear, scratching, and the ear appearing to be set on the side of the head are vital indications. Keeping the ears clean, and removing grains from your PON's diet can help, be gentle when cleaning the ear, and try not to clean too often as irritation might be a catalyst for infection. The mix that I use for hotspots also works well to clean ears and for mild infections.
Loose stools are a symptom of illness or stomach upset. Diarrhea is more common in some PONS than others.PONS tend to be sensitive to high protein meats. A change in diet from cooked to raw and vice-versa may trigger a digestive upset. The most effective way to stop diarrhea is to withhold food for 24 hours, and then offer half a can of pure pumpkin with 2tbsp of yoghurt (for a 45 lb PON), an additional enzyme/probiotic may also help.
Some PONS seem to be prone to disorders associated with the immune system. One possible cause of Hypothyroidism is thought to be autoimmune disease. It often appears between the ages of 2 and 5 and has many symptoms. If your PON shows a strange change in behavior, gains weight or has skin and hair problems, it may be a good idea to have a simple test done to see if thyroid dysfunction may be a cause. The medication is inexpensive and effective but the PON must be monitored with regular blood tests to ensure the dosage is correct. There are many useful sites on the internet with information about this problem. The following articles may be of interest for PON lovers.

Thyroid Info - More possible symptoms and diagnosis
Hypothyroidism Fears, Facts, Thoughts & Controversies