Believe it or not, your Pekingese does have some skin underneath all that hair. In fact, this petite breed is genetically prone to certain skin disorders, including skin fold dermatitis and generic skin problems. It's important to keep your pooch's skin healthy, or his health and extravagant coat may suffer.
Skin Fold Dermatitis
While this condition is not unique to Pekingese, it is a noted problem with the breed. These tiny dogs have lots of excess skin relative to their body size, which makes them uniquely vulnerable to skin fold dermatitis, according to Universities Federation for Animal Welfare. This condition is diagnosed by process of elimination, since there is no single symptom that can positively identify it. If your dog scratches the same spots frequently and there are signs of skin irritation or inflammation with no apparent cause, like parasites, allergies or infection, then he is probably suffering from this genetic health problem.
Allergies aren't a Pekingese-specific problem, but they are a common cause of skin problems in practically every breed. Since Pekingese are mostly indoor dogs, their small stature and copious supply of hair makes outdoor life difficult, they are more likely to suffer from dietary allergens or irritants that are in your home. Allergies can inflame and irritate your dog's skin, causing him to scratch and damage the area even further. Skin damage from allergies may be accompanied by significant shedding and digestive problems, like vomiting and diarrhea.
Hair-Related Skin Problems
Most purebred Pekingese have more hair than they know what to do with. While this is certainly an integral part of their unique aesthetic, it can also cause problems with your pup's skin. Infected hair follicles and ingrown hairs are both potential problems for your Pekingese. These conditions aren't serious, but they can cause a great deal of discomfort for your pet. You usually just have to wait the problem out, but you may need to take your dog to the vet to have the ingrown hair removed if it doesn't heal in a week or two. Brushing your dog regularly helps keep his hair neat and his skin healthy.
Practically every canine plays host to skin parasites at some point in their life, but Pekingese welcome them in grand style. Fleas, ticks, lice and other pests can crawl through the forest of Pekingese hair with relative impunity. It's also hard to apply topical ointments and administer flea baths effectively due to the breed's copious coat. The best way to manage pests is to check your dog regularly and make sure you thoroughly apply preventative medicine.
Parasites aren't the only creepy-crawlies that can infest your Pekingese. The breed's wrinkled skin and long hair can also shelter growths of fungi and bacteria, which irritate and damage skin directly. Ringworm and mite mange are just a few of the possible infections that can inflame your pup's skin, making him itchy and more likely to shed. While skin problems are a common occurrence, it is a good idea to take him to the vet just to be safe. Many infections are very easy to treat if caught in the early stages, but are nearly impossible to eradicate once they are established.
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.
Quentin Coleman has written for various publications, including All Pet News and Safe to Work Australia. He spent more tan 10 years nursing kittens, treating sick animals and domesticating semi-feral cats for a local animal shelter. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.