Q. Is Epsom salt good for a dog with skin problems?

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A. Epsom salt soaks can help soothe itchy skin. Colloidal oatmeal baths will do the same. Use cool water and pat dry. Warm water and rubbing will aggravate the skin. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. An exam may rule out external parasites, allergies or infection. Blood work may diagnose endocrine issues. Consider adding an essential fatty acid supplement (usually a fish oil) to the diet to promote healthy skin. Search www.pet360.com for fish oil supplements. "Skin problems" are frequently related to diet, so discuss food trials, hydrolyzed diets and allergy testing with your vet.

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