Answers to Skin Care Questions
Skin care in chinese cresteds is just as complex, with as many different issues, as it is in humans. There are hundreds of factors that can come into play when it comes to things that can affect your crested's skin. It is good to keep in mind that, just like humans, some cresteds may never have clear, easy skin. Breeding and genetics play a big part in skin conditions and what problems your crested will or won't experience. I am very picky with skin and have been blessed over the years to have very easy skin on my cresteds. However, I have been around a lot of cresteds that aren't as lucky.
The best place for us to start is from the inside. A good, quality food is the first step to good skin and hair. For us, we have used wellness core for years with good results. However, there are many good quality foods out there. One thing that seems to not agree with cresteds and their skin is foods that contain a lot of grain products. Here is a list of healthy grain free foods that might be good options for your crested.
Beyond just the food there are other things you can add to your crested's diet to help with skin. The very best, and probably the easiest, thing you can add is a spoon full of coconut oil daily to your dog's diet. Coconut oil has been proven over and over again to have beneficial components in many areas in both humans and animals. You will be very pleasantly surprised with the difference you see in a month or so after adding this to your crested's diet.
Another thing that you can do is add a high quality supplement. I add "Show Stopper" to my dogs' dry food. Think of it as a vitamin. Show Stopper can be found on amazon.
Now that we have covered what is going into our cresteds is the best it can be, we can look at what is affecting the skin from the outside.
Let's start with blackheads since they seem to be the most common problem I get questions about. Blackheads in cresteds can be like blackheads in people. Some cresteds are just very prone to them, unfortunately. You may never be able to get rid of them completely but you can still treat them and help with them occuring less frequently.
First, blackheads usually occur more heavily in dry skin. So while you may feel like washing your crested and scrubbing them frequently may be the best way to go, you could actually be drying their skin out more and causing more blackheads to pop up from the dryness. Do not over wash your dog and dry out the skin. A bath once a week is usually more than enough. You want your dog to have their natural oils. After a bath I use a very mild lotion with NO scents or coloring. We are big fans of Aveeno Vitamin E lotions. I apply this only after baths or when I notice the skin is very dry.
One thing you can do in the bath to try and help bring up some of those blackheads up is use an apricot scrub. Use this on the areas where the blackheads are converging and not on clear areas. It can helps loosen up those blackheads and you might even see some on your hands as you use the scrub.
Another thing you can do, and I recommend NOT doing this the same day as a bath and scrub, is using a mixture of with hazel and listerene on the skin. Mix the with hazel and listerene 50/50 in a bowl. Take a wash cloth or paper towel and apply the mixture to the areas with the black heads. After it is applied let it sit on the skin for 30ish seconds or until it seems mostly dry. The mixture should help to bring the blackheads to the surface. Once they are brought up to the surface you can take your fingers and roll the skin to make the black heads come out. After they come up just wipe them away with a wash cloth.
The next problem cresteds can have is zits. These tend to be a bit harder to treat than blackheads. It is important to keep in mind if your crested has a very thick "acne" problem you may actually be dealing with a staph infection or some other skin issue that needs specific treatment. This would be a good time for a vet to get involved.
However, if you crested just has a few zits or the occasional pimple, then there are a few things you can do. First, do not pop it. I know it is very tempting to pop it but the oil from your fingers and the puss from the popped zit can actually cause more issues for your crested's skin. For a zit that is already on your crested's skin there is not much you can do except wait it out. One thing that can help is toothpaste. Yes, toothpaste. When you apply a layer of toothpaste on top of a zit it actually helps to dry the zit out and encourages it to go away sooner.
Zits are a problem that are best treated from the inside with proper food and supplements. Good, basic, skin care is also important. Just like blackhead issues you want to make sure your crested's skin is not too dry or oily. Zits tend to come from oily skin so make sure you are not applying too many lotions or creams and when you do apply them make sure you don't let it build up too long without a bath. The apricot scrub can also help with acne, just try not to "pop" the zits as you are using the scrub.
If your crested has a zit issue and does not seem to have overly dry skin you may want to skip the lotion. Lotion is not necessary for crested skin and can back up the pores causing more pimples to form.
A final thing that can cause pimples is clothing. If your crested has clothing on most of the time this can be causing their skin to back up with oils and dirt and cause zits. Just like a person who gets a zit under a spot where a piece of clothing often sits. Let your crested's skin breathe. They do not need to be in clothes inside the home. A dog's normal body temperature is around 102. Think how warm you are when you have a 102 temp. If your house is heated the clothing really isn't needed.
The final skin issue I will cover here is pearly cists. These are not easily treated as they are very hard and tough and can last for months or years. Sometimes when they are new you can "squash" them in between your fingers fairly easily, but other than that you need to treat the source to help get rid of these. Start with the food and supplements to see if they start becoming less frequent. They can go away eventually, so be patient.
Another thing you can use for over all skin and hair health is (again) the coconut oil, but in a different way, You can apply the oil directly to your crested's skin. It is very good for skin from the inside and from the outside. Just remember to be watchful of your crested's skin getting too oily or dirty or if it is becoming too dried out. Lotions and oils attract and hold dirt against the skin and can help pimples form. Dry skin can make the skin over produce it's own oil and then make more blackheads. It is a balance for dogs' that have these issues.
It may be a lot of trial and error for you and your dog to find the right food and skin care regimen. Do not get discouraged. All cresteds are different and the skin care is not always the same. I have been blessed over the years to have dogs with good skin and actually do very little besides good food and coconut oil. If you have any more questions about what I have said, or if you have a completely different question feel free to let me know and I will do my best to answer!