If your dog (or
any pet) is part of the itchy and scratchy show, it can be very discouraging
for you and disheartening for your pet. Although all issues identified by you
probably warrants a vet’s visit, here are a few reasons and tips to assist you
and your pooch get to the bottom of his/her itching.
What Causes Itchiness?
Itchy skin (also known as pruritus) is a common reason why pet moms and dads take their beloved fluffies to the vet. Itchy skin can not only depress your dog who constantly scratches (keeping you and him/her up at night) but can cause secondary issues such as infections, sores, hair loss and damage to teeth and nails.
Itchy skin is often caused by allergies. Allergies are usually caused because of the three main culprits – fleas (and parasites), environment and food.
Fleas and external parasites can be easily managed with products found in vet and/or pet shops and even supermarkets. But some dogs (and even cats) have hypersensitivity to fleas and have a true allergy. One nibble from the demonic little fleas can trigger a scratching frenzy for your pet. Fortunately, this is very treatable and often just takes one shot (as in injection and not a gunshot) at the vet. And like previously mentioned – there are many products that kill fleas on your pets and also many products to treat their beds and your home to eradicate those pesky fleas.
Like humans can suffer from hay-fever and environmental allergies (especially when pollen is rifer than the animal hair on your coats and black pants) – your doggy can suffer from these allergies too. Environmental allergies (atopy) is another common reason why doggies itch and scratch. The allergens can be absorbed directly onto the skin – like your pooch scratching his belly on the grass – and then boom… turns out he is allergic. Or your dog can inhale pollen, dust or “dander”. Unfortunately, this category of allergy will take maintenance from your side – regular allergy shots and medication during high season; creams and where possible removing your doggie from “allergy-rich” environments. These management tools will ensure your pooch is happier and feels relief from those pesky allergies.
Food allergies causing itchy skin is actually not as common as the above two reasons. With food allergies, it is very important to consult a vet – who can guide you through a strict elimination process and in fact determine if it is a food allergy causing the itchiness. PetMD.com mentions that food allergies are often caused by doggies having a hypersensitive reaction to a protein in the food that their bodies recognise as a threat; this triggers the itchiness. Once the trigger is identified, a vet can assist in transitioning your doggy onto more suitable food.
Other Skin Issues
Sores and Hot
Besides itchy skin from external parasites, bacterial infections can also be a cause of concern for pooches and their parents. Hot spots or moist dermatitis not only spread quickly but can be very painful. All spots should be checked by the vet.
Hair loss is often a symptom of itchy skin or skin conditions, even disease. A balding dog can be very traumatic for an owner to witness and the cause can be difficult to diagnose; but vets can view skin cells under a microscope and help treat the cause of the hair loss and in the case of disease, tailor-make an action plan. Hair loss can be an indicator of serious disorders; so, like any condition, shouldn’t go unexamined.
When Should I Take My Pooch To The Vet?
As established, occasional itching isn’t necessarily a sign of a serious health condition. But no doggy or animal should suffer for periods without human intervention. If the itching continues more than the usual scratch and chew, if he or she loses her appetite, becomes restless, seems depressed, skin breaks or sores pop up – immediately visit your local vet. Sometimes, one injection or exam at the vet can change your pooch’s life.
Has your doggy
had skin issues? Please share your story with us. Your comment and story can
possibly help another fur-parent or pooch out there.