How often should you bathe a Cane Corso? Do you often wonder how to strike a balance between a clean dog and one with dry and irritated skin?
The trick is not to bathe your Cane Corso too frequently, which is sometimes easier said than done depending on prevailing skin issues.
You should bathe your Cane Corso once every eight to twelve weeks. Cane Corsos have short straight fur that does not mat. Their coats and skin also have dirt-resistant properties through moderate and continual shedding and epidermal cellular turnover.
The use of shampoos even every two weeks can strip the protective seal of the outer skin layer as well as nourishing oils. Bacterial skin infections and parasites are the exceptions and warrant medicated baths up to twice a week.
What type of skin and coat does your Cane Corso have?
Your Cane Corso belongs to the working class, according to the American Kennel Club and other major registries. She also is a member of the Mastiff family and has a coat typical of other dogs in the group.
Your Cane Corso has a double coat characterized by short and rather coarse outer guard hairs over a layer of dense and softer fur. Cane Corsos enjoy moderate insulation against both hot and cold weather.
They shed moderately over the course of the year with an increase during periods of the spring and fall. Their skin does not exhibit the wrinkling of many of the other Mastiffs.
Your Cane Corso’s fur and skin have significant self-cleaning abilities through the shedding of hair and exfoliation of the skin. The Cane Corso’s natural skin defenses will become compromised by a few common ailments.
Health Problems of the Cane Corso’s Skin
If your Cane Corso has skin problems, he will be more sensitive to the effects of frequent bathing. Paradoxically, he may require more baths, albeit with special shampoos or medication.
One of the most common problems that manifest in a dog’s skin is allergies. Food and environmental allergies can manifest in a dog’s skin. Dogs commonly damage their skin and cause lesions because of their reaction to allergens.
- Licks self excessively – you will often see excessive licking of the paws, but your dog may also chew its nails, flanks, or rump
- Scratching – can cause a rash or raw areas around the armpits, flanks, abdomen, or base of the tail
- Rubs face continually
A dog’s allergies manifest not only as skin lesions but can also cause ear infections. Other common symptoms follow:
- Frequent bacterial skin infections
- Red and irritated skin
- Ear infections
- Periodic hives
- Fur loss or alopecia
- Skin can become weepy – hot spots appear
- Swelling is sometimes present around the face, lips, and eyes
- Severe cases – vomiting and diarrhea which may point to food intolerances
Hypothyroidism, or the low output of thyroid hormones, is another common cause of skin problems in large-breed dogs. According to some sources, up to 20% of Cane Corsos may suffer from hypothyroidism.
The thyroid gland has tremendous influences on metabolism and all organs of the body. As the largest organ, the skin is often the first place you see the effects of hypothyroidism in your dog.
- Increase pigmentation – especially prevalent in areas that undergo friction such as the elbows, chest, and abdomen
- Skin becomes thickened
- Frequent ear infections possible
- Affected dogs commonly have more skin infections with sores, reflecting the detriment of hypothyroidism on the immune system
- Fur thins
- Excessive shedding and flaking
- Coat becomes dull
Hypothyroidism can be overdiagnosed, but your veterinarian will confirm any suspected cases through comprehensive bloodwork.
A thyroid panel will give a more accurate picture than a lone thyroid hormone measurement. Full chemistry and urinalysis are helpful to rule out other causes of lethargy and a poor hair coat than hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroid dogs require lifelong supplemental hormone therapy with your dog’s hair not returning to normal for six to eight weeks.
Increased bathing does not directly address hypothyroidism, but medicated soaks will often alleviate secondary issues.
The medical community often refers to Demodex as the noncontagious form of mange. Demodex is a cigar-shaped mite that lives naturally in the skin of dogs.
In immune-suppressed individuals, these mites proliferate to unsustainable levels and cause hair loss.
You usually see Demodectic mange in puppies of certain breeds known for a slowly developing immune system.
Cane Corso puppies can become affected by Demodex and will initially show small circular areas of hair loss on the face and paws.
Pups with focal Demodex are not itchy as opposed to those with Sarcoptic mange. In some cases, Demodicosis can become severe, and dogs will show the symptoms of a secondary bacterial infection.
- Recurring skin infections
- Skin becomes itchy and pustulent with more generalized hair loss
- Color change
Diagnosis of Demodex is via microscopic analysis of multiple skin scrapings. Veterinarians or their technicians perform the scrapings in a specific manner because the mite can be difficult to detect.
Most puppies have the localized form and will recover without treatment within three to six months. Dogs with severe diseases need aggressive treatment for their secondary infections as well as medications.
They require oral antibiotics and weekly medicated dips with Amitraz. Some veterinarians may try oral treatments instead of dips.
Unique Qualities of Your Dog’s Skin
Lack of Sweat Glands
The main difference between people and dogs lies in the function of the glands in the skin. Apocrine glands in human skin produce sweat, but they seal the epidermis or outer layer of the skin in dogs.
Humans at least appear to have more sebaceous glands (responsible for oily secretions or sebum) than dogs because the hair structure is also different.
People produce continuously growing hair in singles. Dogs generally produce hair with a short life cycle that grows in bundles.
Sebaceous glands in canids concentrate more noticeably in focal areas such as the chin and around the tail. A dog’s sweat glands are limited to eccrine glands on the foot pads and the tongue.
Even dogs with continuously growing hir such as Poodles or wire-haired dogs do not have the glandular prevalence or skin structure to support bathing more than once a month.
Your Cane Corso would be healthier with baths that only occurred every two months or even less often.
Your Cane Corso’s Skin pH
A dog’s epidermal pH is much more alkaline than yours. Dogs have a pH of 7.0 to 7.2 whereas humans lie between 5.2 and 5.5. Therefore, bathing your dog with products that alter the pH of the skin will rob its defenses and leave it open to bacterial invasion.
You think of animals as having exceptionally thick skin. However, a dog’s skin has a different composition than yours which makes it more vulnerable in some ways. The skin is made up of three layers, although scientists and health professionals break them down even further.
Epidermis – outermost layer; the first line of defense against the environment, keeping pathogenic invaders and UV light out and protecting against friction; helps retain moisture, preventing water from leaving the body and skin; provides skin’s immunity, fighting against bacteria and fungi
Basement membrane – between epidermis and dermis in dogs; a barrier layer
Dermis – skin’s sensory and regulatory system
Subcutis – very thick in dogs; insulation and connective tissue between skin and muscles; maintains fluid and electrolyte balance; includes twitch muscle in dogs
While your epidermis is 10 to 15 cells in thickness, your Cane Corso’s epidermis is only three to five cells in depth. So while your dog’s skin is thicker overall than yours, you have a more durable defense layer.
Problems with Bathing too Frequently
The idea that you can bathe your dog too often is at first a foreign concept to many pet lovers. After all, you may bathe as much as twice a day without a thought.
If you bathe your Cane Corso too frequently, you will strip the seal on your dog’s skin, leaving it vulnerable to dehydration and bacterial invasion. Symptoms of overbathing can range from mild irritation to severe skin insults.
- Frequent rashes and skin infections
How often should you bathe a Cane Corso?
Unless there is a medical indication that requires more frequent baths, you bathe your Cane Corso no more than every eight weeks.
A bath refers to a cleaning event with shampoo. You can rinse your Cane Corso with water every day as this will not strip your dog’s skin of its outer seal or the fur of its natural oils.
Some experts insist that you should hardly ever use shampoo on a Cane Corso unless she becomes exceptionally soiled. Since many dogs live inside, this is probably not practical for most people.
What shampoo should you use?
The brand of shampoo you use on your Cane Corso is less important than ensuring it is a product appropriate for dogs.
Most people do not realize that the pH is the single most crucial parameter of dog shampoo. Your dog requires shampoo to match the pH of her skin.
Common shampoos you might use on your dog can be detrimental to the epidermal layer. Baby shampoo, with a pH of about 5.5, is much too acidic for your Cane Corso’s skin.
Equally damaging are baking soda and dish soap, which are both too alkaline. Human shampoos, pH-balanced for people, are generally too acidic for dogs.