There are many types of doggie parasites, but ringworm is not one of those. Despite its name, ringworm is not a worm, but a fungus. A fungal infection is pretty common around the globe. Almost all domesticated animals, including dogs, can get infected by this fungus called ringworm. Humans, too, can be infected by ringworm.
What is ringworm?
As mentioned above, ringworm is a fungal skin infection. The scientific name is dermatophytosis. In dogs, the first signs that will manifest are gray and scaly patches on the dog’s skin. In humans, on the other hand, red and circular lesions signal the infection, having also led to the term ‘ringworm’ being coined.
How do dogs get ringworms?
This skin disorder affects the skin, paws, and hair of the infected dog. 70% of ringworm is caused by the fungus Microsporum canis, 20% of the infections caused by Epidermophyton, and 10% are caused by Trichophyton mentalrophytes. Ringworm is easily spread in the environment. Take note that the infected dog can pass the infection on to humans and vice versa.
In most cases, a dog can contract ringworm through direct contact with another infected dog. The infection is also passed on by using infected grooming tools, cages, and clippers. Apart from dog-to-dog contact, did you know that humans can also pass the illness on to dogs?
A dog which has a weak immune system can easily catch the disease. Animals that live in overly populated environments like dog pounds or animal shelters have an increased risk of getting infected. A dog which is not given proper nutrition is also prone to getting infected by ringworm.
A seemingly harmless skin problem, say a superficial wound, can be an entry point for the ringworm and thus lead to infection. This is why it is very important to keep all wounds clean. Moreover, flea infestation is another way for a dog to catch the disease.
How does ringworm manifest and how is it diagnosed?
- A veterinarian will make a thorough inspection of your dog’s body to look for scaling and gray patches, as well as skin lesions. Red scaly patches that resemble a ring are other signs of ringworm fungal infection.
- In severe cases, symptoms include multiple rings and blisters from which creamy liquid oozes out.
- The dog scratches the infected areas; as a result, the skin bleeds and eventually the hair falls off. Thus, almost all dogs with ringworm suffer from baldness.
- The claw folds are inflamed, a condition referred to as paronychia.
- A fungal culture will be performed by a veterinarian to determine if your dog suffers from ringworm. Sample of hairs and skin scrapings are investigated under a microscope.
- An ultraviolet lamp is another instrument used to determine if your dog has ringworm or not. A sample of hair or skin will be investigated under the ultraviolet lamp. If the fluorescence turns yellow-green, then this means that your dog is positive with the infection.
Natural home remedy treatments for dog ringworm
There are numerous home treatments that you can do, which have been proven safe and effective for dogs. Natural products are better, as these will not cause any adverse reactions. Though it is true that you still need to take your dog to a vet, natural home treatments can be done by you without the fear of harming your dog. Here are some of the natural treatments used against ringworm on dogs:
1. Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is known to cure many illnesses, both in humans and dogs. Because of its strong anti-fungal properties, apple cider can kill ringworms. It is so easy to use. Just mix an equal proportion of water and apple cider vinegar, and pour the mixture in a spray bottle. Then, spray the solution onto the affected parts of your dog’s skin three times a day.
2. Tea tree oil: This oil is very effective in treating fungal infections such as ringworm. Tea tree oil has been used for a long time to cure various illnesses, like acne and dandruff. Today, it can be found in many products for the treatment of skin diseases, including fungal infections. You only need a few drops mixed with water. Then, spray on the affected areas twice a day.
3. Garlic: A very affordable and readily available ingredient in your home, garlic is good in the control and treatment of dog ringworm. Ajoene is a substance present in garlic which is known to cure all kinds of fungal skin infections, including ringworm. By rubbing fresh garlic onto the skin twice a day for one week, you will cure dog ringworm.
4. Papaya: This fruit is known as a cure for constipation. But it also has a property called papain, which is a proteolytic enzyme with many benefits, one of them being the treatment of skin ailments.
By rubbing papaya directly on the skin of your dog, you will help your furry pal fight off ringworm. This process can be repeated several times a day.
5. Aloe Vera: This plant thrives well in hot and dry weather conditions. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘plant of immortality’. Aloe Vera cures many types of skin ailments, including ringworm. Lectin, which is a protein found in the gel of the Aloe Vera, has been proved to be very effective and safe.
Cut the leaf in half and you will see a gel-like substance which you can rub directly on the affected area.
6. Basil: This is a herb used in many delicious dishes such as pasta. But did you know that it can also be used to treat your dog’s ringworm? Basil leaves have been utilized for many years in treating many kinds of skin diseases. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and can remove toxins from the body. The anti-oxidants aid in boosting the immune system to make your dog healthier and more resistant to skin diseases like ringworm.
Simply crush or pound the leaves in order to extract the juice. Then, apply the juice on the affected area and let it dry. Do this twice a day for ten days and you will see amazing results.
7. Anti-fungal shampoo: The main cause for your dog’s misery is a fungi infection, and one of the best ways to combat it is by using an anti-fungal shampoo. This kind of shampoo prevents the multiplication of fungi. Shampoos that contain Terbinafine and Griseofulvin are known to completely treat and eradicate ringworm in dogs after 45 to 70 days of usage.
8. Turmeric: This plant has a bioactive compound called curcumin. This compound is what gives turmeric the bright orange color and its benefits. Apart from treating fever, curcumin also purifies the blood and disinfects wounds. No wonder it is proven to be effective in the treatment of ringworms.
The recommended dosage is 15 to 20 mg for every pound; say, for example, that your dog weighs 40 pounds. In this case, your furry pal should be given 1/2 to 1tsp of turmeric powder mixed with water. If your dog is attracted to the smell of turmeric powder, you can sprinkle it on its food.
9. Coconut oil: An inexpensive oil which has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Simply apply it directly onto the affected area and then rub it firmly two to three times a day.
10. Pumpkin seeds: The seeds contain antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. By grinding the seeds until they become powdery, you can sprinkle some of the mixture on your dog’s food. For every 10 pounds of body weight, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of powdered pumpkin seeds.
How effective is a natural treatment for dog ringworm?
If you are a bit wary about the effectiveness of home remedies for dog ringworms, then don’t be. The stuff that is available in your pantry does a lot of good things for the well-being of your dog. The examples that I enumerated above have been tested and proven to be effective in treating ringworm.
Dog owners who have tried using natural treatments have reported improvements in their dog’s skin conditions. In fact, in one week’s time, the improvements are already noticeable. You just have to get on with it for a month until the ringworm is completely eradicated.
Home remedy vs medicated remedy
The benefit of using a home remedy for the treatment of dog ringworm is that these are safe and won’t have unfavorable results. We all know that it can be difficult to stop your dog from licking its wound. If you use natural home treatments such as turmeric, you are worry-free even if your dog licks its wound. These will not pose any danger to your furry pal’s health.
On the other hand, some dogs may be allergic to medicated remedies. As a result, your dog’s condition may only worsen. In addition, the continuous use of medicated products may also do more harm than good.
Another good reason to try dog ringworm home remedies is the cost. It is significantly cheaper to use made-at-home treatments than to buy medication.
The only difference between a home remedy and medicated remedy is how swift the symptoms will disappear. While medication will indeed bring results more quickly, this does not mean that you will not see the same positive evolution when using home remedies.
Dog lovers including you know how challenging it is to completely eradicate ringworm. What’s particularly bad about it is that your dog can also infect you. The best thing to do is to always inspect your dog’s skin so you can immediately begin a safe and effective natural home treatment for dog’s ringworm. By doing so, you can prevent the infection from worsening and from spreading to you or your other pets.