Dog Skin Diseases

September 29, 2023

Dog skin diseases can negatively impact their quality of life. These diseases have various causes; some can lead to secondary infections because of excessive licking and scratching. Therefore, even if the primary disease has been treated, it can still lead to downstream diseases that can be difficult to treat.

The skin is the body's largest organ and its first defence against environmental threats. It insulates from temperature fluctuations and protects from other environmental assaults like sunburn and pollution.

Among the everyday challenges that dog owners face, few can compare to the devastating consequences of certain skin diseases. The symptoms of even the most common canine skin disorders can dramatically impact the dog's quality of life, impacting their owners as well.

Some of the signs that your dog may be suffering from a skin disease may include:

  • Skin sores
  • Dry, flaky, or scaly skin
  • Rashes
  • Lumps or bumps
  • Discolouration
  • Itching
  • Hair loss or bald patches
  • Inflamed skin or hot spots
  • Excessive scratching and licking

The underlying diseases that cause these unwanted symptoms are loosely categorised according to their cause: 

  • Parasite allergy dermatitis (allergy to tick and flea bites)
  • Genetic skin diseases
  • Immune-mediated disorders
  • Internal diseases manifesting as skin disorders
  • Bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections

Certain dog breeds are more prone to diseases based on their genetic predisposition; however, it is often caused by breed-specific anatomical features. For example, Shar Pei dogs are prone to yeast and fungal infections in the folds of their skin. This is due to poor air circulation that causes elevated humidity in the microclimate of their skin folds.

Similarly, warmth and humidity are some of the culprits in common yeast and fungal infections inside canine ears. These infections cause tremendous discomfort for dogs and are challenging to treat because the shape of the ear will remain unchanged, and humidity cannot be eliminated.

Furthermore, one skin disease may manifest as several symptoms simultaneously, with the potential for one symptom to exacerbate the other.

For example, a flea bite allergy may cause itchy skin that causes the dog to lick and scratch excessively. This behaviour could cause open wounds to form that may leave the skin vulnerable to secondary bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections. These secondary infections are difficult to treat, especially if the dog has an internal disorder that compromises its wound-healing capacity.

Therefore, even if the primary cause of a skin disorder is eliminated, the secondary consequences of the disease may have downstream health repercussions that remain difficult to overcome.

The Science of canine skin health

Keeping your dog's skin healthy relies not only on the external health of the skin but the overall internal health of your dog. To achieve this, your dog's gut and skin microbiome needs to be balanced to build a strong immune system and keep inflammation levels low.

Achieving and maintaining the health of canine skin is complex. It requires a balance between the external health status of the skin itself and the internal health and immune status of the dog. To further complicate the balance between these two important health components, they are intricately linked by the gut and skin microbiomes via the gut-brain-skin axis.

These microbiomes are interconnected collections of microorganisms that live on the skin and within the gut. Remarkably, they perceive and communicate stress stimuli to the brain as part of the body’s innate immune system. This communication strategy via the gut-brain-skin axis allows the skin to be the body's first defence against infections and harm.

Acute inflammation is another important part of the body's immune response to infections. It is a necessary evil in the wound-healing process. However, if inflammation is not attenuated when the threat of infection has passed, it can become harmful and counteractive in disease prevention. It is becoming widely accepted that chronic low-level inflammation lies at the foundation of most known diseases.

Together, wound healing requires the cause to be eliminated, the wound to be treated, and a healthy internal immune response without elevated levels of inflammation.

Given this complex internal/external balance, veterinary health professionals and pet owners are beginning to explore alternative therapeutics that could both prevent and treat the development and severity of these common canine skin diseases.

The role of Lactoserum in canine skin disease prevention and treatment.

Lactoserum, better known as whey, shows remarkable health benefits as a natural treatment and prevention solution for skin diseases. Its immuno-peptide complex contains proteins that can act as natural antibiotics, prebiotics, and anti-inflammatories, aiding wound healing in dogs.

For centuries, lactoserum, commonly known as cheese whey, has formed a trusted part of skin care in more primitive societies. Nowadays, through scientific advances, the mechanisms by which this cheesemaking byproduct supports holistic health are better understood.

More specifically, we now know that the protein content of lactoserum contains a powerful range of bioactive peptides and enzymes. These compounds support the immune system to fight skin diseases internally and on the skin surface.

Natural Antibiotic

Specific lactoserum peptides can act as natural antibiotics. For example, immunoglobulins can bind toxins produced by harmful bacteria, while lactoferrin makes iron available to beneficial bacteria. This brings about a positive shift in population ratios of the natural microbes in the gut and skin to help fight infections.


Prebiotics serve as nutrition sources for the beneficial bacteria in the gut and skin.

Lactoferrin, an important lactoserum peptide, along with lactose and calcium, supports the development of positive microbial strains like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These strains help the immune system fight infections and diseases like prebiotics.

Furthermore, Lactoserum has a unique microbiome that is a positive probiotic for your dog's gut.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

Lactoserum has powerful anti-inflammatory superpowers!

It contains high concentrations of cysteine, a crucial precursor to Glutathione (GSH) production. GSH is one of the most important antioxidants in the fight against inflammation. Research has shown that treatment with hydrolysed lactoserum peptides increases GSH levels by more than 60%, thereby dramatically increasing antioxidant activity.

Furthermore, lactoserum contains lactoferrin which inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, while immunoglobulins in lactoserum bind viruses and bacteria, aiding in their destruction during an infection.

Given the bioavailability of these and many other potent antioxidants in lactoserum, it can be utilised as an effective anti-inflammatory that promotes gut health and naturally prevents downstream diseases.

Wound healing

One of the most important role players in wound healing and skin defence is Galactooligosaccharides (GOS). It is well understood that GOS has prebiotic action and can attenuate inflammation that enhances the skin's immune responses. Remarkably, it was recently discovered that GOS can promote wound closure by directly impacting the activity of keratinocytes - the most important structural component of skin.

GOS is present in high concentrations in lactoserum. Not only is it present in cow's milk before the cheesemaking process, but it is also produced by the live cultures added in the cheesemaking process.

Take home message

Common canine skin ailments can have a devastating impact on the quality of life of our dogs. These diseases can cause itchy, inflamed skin, possibly leading to secondary infections through open wounds.

Maintaining skin health is a complex endeavour. It requires the cause to be eliminated through appropriate treatment and a healthy internal immune response without elevated levels of inflammation.

Lactoserum, commonly known as cheese whey, contains a range of bioactive peptides and enzymes that can dramatically improve your dog's gut microbiome, immunity, and wound-healing capacity, providing your dog with anti-inflammatory compounds.

Wagawhey is an all-natural lactoserum powder that can be used as a food supplement or topical treatment. It contains gentle but powerful bioactive enzymes with a wide range of health-promoting functions with the capacity to achieve and maintain your dog's skin health naturally. 

Wagawhey: an all-in-one lactoserum skin treatment for your dog.

Wagawhey is a pure lactoserum product developed to treat your dog’s skin directly or internally to boost immunity through gut health support. It can be diluted with clean water and fed to your dog as a natural food supplement or used as a direct skin treatment directly to skin problem areas.

Wagawhey is a 100% naturally derived lactoserum powder containing all the enzymatic goodness to support your dog’s skin.

Skin disease prevention and treatment from the inside out.

Wagawhey ensures the integrity and stability of the renneting process to enhance the bioavailability of the immuno-peptide complex in lactoserum from the initial stages of the cheesemaking process. This unique addition makes the beneficial compounds more readily absorbed by your dog's digestive tract when administered as a food supplement.

The natural hydrolysis of the original whey protein is followed by dehydration for ease of use as a powder. Adding clean, cool water activates the anti-inflammatory, prebiotic, and immune support superpowers of the immuno-peptide complex that can treat your dog’s skin diseases holistically.

Not only will Wagawhey support your dog's skin health in the form of a food supplement, but it can also be applied topically to problem-skin areas.

During the initial research stages for Wagawhey, preliminary results revealed remarkable wound healing acceleration in people with chronic necrotic wounds treated directly with Wagawhey. These findings came as no surprise, given the powerful immune support and wound-healing capabilities of lactoserum.

Diluted in a 1:1 ratio with clean, cool water, Wagawhey   can be applied as a topical treatment directly to your dog’s hot spots, itchy skin, and wounds caused by yeast and fungal infections, parasite bites, and physical injuries.

Furthermore, our clients have reported tremendous success when bathing distressed dogs in a Wagawheysolution to relieve extremely aggravated, heavily inflamed skin caused by skin diseases and scratching.

To learn more about how Wagawhey can improve your dog’s gut health, manage inflammation and treat countless skin diseases, continue reading Edition Dog features on our website at

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