Bacterial skin infections are pretty common in dogs. After all, dogs love to play, and that can result in minor injuries, such as cuts and scrapes. A bacterial infection, known as a staph infection, can result if a wound goes unnoticed and isn’t treated.
Of course, if your dog sustains an injury or develops a staph infection, we recommend you consult your vet for advice. However, some natural home remedies can also help.
Read this guide to learn how to make a dog staph infection home remedy.
What Is A Staph Infection?
The Staphylococcus bacteria cause staph infections. There are several forms of staph infections, although most manifest as skin problems. Staphylococcus bacteria live on the skin and upper respiratory tract of dogs, other animals, and people.
What Triggers Staph Infections?
Usually, the staph bacteria don’t trouble the dog unless the animal’s immune system is weakened or it sustains an injury that allows the bacteria to enter the body or skin.
A staph infection happens when a skin wound or irritation becomes infected. Any part of your dog’s body can be affected, and staph infections are seen in dogs of all ages and breeds. Common causes of staph infections can include the following:
- Skin irritation
- Flea activity
- Underlying disease
- Underlying allergies
- Diseases that weaken the dog’s immune system
- Fungal infections or secondary infections
- Poor hygiene
Sometimes, dogs can be exposed to toxic or contaminated substances that enter the animal through the eyes, nose, or mouth, presenting a risk of a type of staph infection.
Essentially, any condition that makes your dog’s immune system work hard to fend off the bacteria can enable the opportunistic spread of staph.
Staphylococcal Dermatitis (Pyoderma)
Pyoderma is the most common staph infection seen in dogs, causing the pup’s skin to redden and swell.
The bacteria are already present on the dog’s skin, remaining dormant until the skin is irritated or unhealthy. For that reason, staph is known as an “opportunistic pathogen.”
Signs of infection can be tricky to spot in a staph-infected dog with a very thick coat, although excessive scratching in one area is usually a giveaway. Common symptoms of staph skin infections can include the following:
- Itchy skin
- Red skin lesions
- Pus-filled lesions
- Scabs or crusting around the blisters
- Hair loss at the center of the lesions
It’s crucial that pyoderma infections are treated quickly, as a staph infection can spread to the dog’s upper respiratory tract or internal organs, causing a more serious condition.
Sometimes, blood poisoning can occur, and the dog could even die without prompt, appropriate treatment.
Is Staph Infection Contagious?
Staph infections aren’t usually contagious between dogs and other pets or people, although the bacteria can be transferred via scratches or bites.
For that reason, we recommend that you don’t take chances and wash your hands thoroughly after treating your dog’s staph infection.
There are plenty of things that can make your dog itch, not just staph.
For example, one of my dogs had a very thick double coat, and she would constantly scratch during her seasonal coat-blowing episodes, presumably because the loose hair was irritating her.
However, if your dog’s symptoms suggest that your furry friend has a staph infection, your vet will carry out some tests to confirm that. The typical tests we performed at my veterinary practice included a biochemistry profile, blood tests, urinalysis, and a skin test.
Those tests can tell you if immune-related issues or allergies are to blame for the inflammation. Skin biopsies and swabs are sometimes used as diagnostic tools in severe cases.
How Is Staph Infection In Dogs Treated?
The usual veterinary approach to the treatment of staph infection is to prescribe antibiotics to deal with the Staphylococcus bacteria. However, because staph typically takes hold when the dog’s immune system is weakened, antibiotics can do more harm than good without solving the problem.
Unfortunately, antibiotic resistance in dogs is becoming common, so stronger and stronger drugs are necessary, many of which are ineffective. Antibiotics kill 90 percent of the beneficial bacteria in your dog’s gut, destroying the immune system without taking out the staph.
Antibacterial shampoos are sometimes recommended, which have varying degrees of success. At the same time, topical ointments often merely suppress the disease, driving it deeper into the dog’s skin, only to reoccur more severely.
Again, medicated shampoos can disrupt your dog’s good bacteria, causing worse problems in the future. For that reason, we recommend using a natural, organic shampoo that won’t kill the beneficial bacteria on your pup’s inflamed skin.
Best Natural Home Remedies For Staph Infection
Natural home remedies support your dog’s overall health and treatment of staph infection. However, you’ll most likely need to use natural options for a few weeks before the infection is completely resolved.
Natural Topical Staph Remedies
You can apply these natural topical remedies directly to the infected area daily or more frequently as needed.
Manuka honey is an excellent treatment for anti-biotic-resistant infections, even working well against MRSA.
Simply warm the honey slightly, and drip it onto the infected area. Of course, this treatment won’t be effective if your dog enjoys the taste and licks the honey off as soon as you’ve applied it!
Calendula, or pot marigold, is known for its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties and has been used for many years for disinfecting and healing wounds. Calendula stimulates the liver and immune system when used internally or applied to the skin.
Take 2 tsp of dried calendula leaves, and steep them in hot water for a few minutes. Allow the solution to cool, strain it, and then use it as a spray. You can also add a few drops of the “tea” to your dog’s food.
Yarrow has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties and can be used externally as a tincture. Apply a few drops to the wound to stop bleeding and prevent infections.
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Make a tincture from powdered turmeric and Manuka honey, and apply the mixture directly to the affected area.
it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Simply apply several drops directly onto the affected area or make a tea from dried echinacea leaves and use it as a spray.
Propolis liquid can be applied to minor wounds and is soothing when you mix a few drops with aloe vera gel.
Oatmeal is well-known for calming irritated skin, soothing itching, and rehydrating the skin. You can buy oatmeal shampoos or make a tincture from ¼ cup of powdered organic oatmeal and enough water to make a paste for application to the affected areas.
How Can I Protect My Dog From Staph Infections?
Although you can’t prevent staph infections in dogs, it’s recognized that a weak immune system in senior and younger dogs leaves them more susceptible to infection. Therefore, maintaining a strong, healthy immune system is the best way to protect your pup from staph.
In addition, you can take the following preventive measures to keep your dog healthy.
If your dog suffers from allergies, he is at a higher risk of contracting a staph infection because his constant itching and scratching cause open sores and skin irritation.
Protect your pup by using pet-safe cleaning products in your home, and avoid visiting areas where pesticides are used. If your dog has food sensitivities, take veterinary advice when devising a diet for your pet.
Avoid using any foods that contain synthetic ingredients and supplements. Your dog needs a nutritious whole-food diet to support his immune system, making him less likely to suffer from diseases and health conditions.
Allergy medication can damage the immune system, so if possible, try to take the natural route when treating your dog.
As mentioned earlier, 90 percent of your dog’s immune system bacteria live in his gut, and feeding probiotics can help to displace pathogenic bacteria such as staph. That can protect your dog’s immune system, too.
Treat Injuries Promptly
If your dog sustains a skin wound, cleanse it thoroughly with an antibacterial wash and try to keep the area covered. Provided your dog’s immune system is healthy, the wound should heal on its own.
Avoid Using Antibiotics
Antibiotics can destroy the good bacteria living in your dog’s gut, damaging your pet’s immune system and compromising its ability to fight off bacteria.
So, if possible, try to treat your dog naturally rather than resorting to strong drugs that might ultimately do more harm than good.
In this part of our guide, we answer some of your questions about staph infections in dogs.
Q: Why did my dog get a staph infection?
A: Dogs typically get staph infections following an injury, flea activity, or as a complication related to a compromised immune system.
Q: Does staph infection go away naturally?
A: Occasionally, a minor staph infection will resolve itself. However, staph infections can cause more serious complications, including blood poisoning. So, if you think your dog has a staph infection, always seek veterinary advice rather than hoping for the best.
Q: How long does it take for a staph infection to go away in dogs?
A: It can take anywhere from four to six weeks of treatment for a staph infection to clear up, depending on the severity and extent of the infection and the course of treatment.
Q: What shampoo is good for staph infection in dogs?
A: Organic, herbal shampoos are often pretty effective at soothing bacterial skin infections in dogs. Your vet clinic will recommend a good shampoo for your dog’s staph infection.
Q: How often should you bathe a dog with a staph infection?
A: Most antibacterial shampoos should be used weekly until the infection has cleared up.
Q: Are staph infections in dogs serious?
A: Staph infections can be serious if not recognized and can potentially spread to the dog’s internal organs and respiratory tract. In the worst-case scenario, blood poisoning can set in, and the dog could die.
I hope you enjoyed our guide to the best natural home remedies to treat your dog’s staph infection. If you found the information in this article helpful, please share it!
Staphylococcus bacteria are present on your dog’s skin, only causing problems when your dog is sick, injured, or has a compromised immune system.
Rather than using strong antibiotic drugs to treat minor bacterial skin infections, try using traditional herbal home remedies. Some so-called super-bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, so the less we use them to treat our pets, the better.
Do you have any top tips on how to treat staph infections in dogs? Please share with other readers and us in the comments box below!