If you're considering adding a Great Pyrenees to the family, you'll get a magnificent dog who is intelligent and brave. His natural faithfulness will make him a wonderful companion, but be aware that Great Pyrenees commonly develop skin conditions you'll need to watch for and treat when they arise.
You'll know your Great Pyrenees has a skin problem if you see him scratching profusely and if he has hair loss in specific spots around his body. The skin in the affected area can be red, flaky or even inflamed and infected.
When a Great Pyrenees develops a skin problem, it can be due to a few different causes. Allergies are a common cause and can be a reaction to food, something environmental or even parasites like fleas.
Take your Great Pyrenees to the vet at the first sign of a skin irritation to keep it from worsening, spreading or becoming infected. Your vet will most likely perform allergy testing to determine what the cause may be. If it is a food allergy, your dog's diet will have to be altered. Many prescription as well as commercially available foods are specially formulated for dogs with allergies. If parasites are found to be the problem, a flea treatment will be prescribed, but you will be able to keep on top of future parasite problems with over-the-counter treatments available at pet supply stores. Your vet may treat your Great Pyrenees' immediate symptoms with antihistamines or cortisone to alleviate the discomfort.
Preventative measures and early treatment are the best means of combating the skin problems that can plague Great Pyrenees. If you routinely groom your Great Pyrenees, you will be familiar enough with his skin and coat to recognize the first symptoms of a skin problem. Because they have a thick, heavy coat, regular brushing to keep your dog's coat free from mats and possible irritants is recommended. Washing your dog with a hypoallergenic dog shampoo will soothe his skin and remove potentially allergy-causing residues that brushing can't entirely eliminate.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.