Dogs with Itchy Skin – Pet tip 133
You can’t stand it any more! It wakes you up in the middle of the night and distracts you during the day. Your dog has been itching non-stop for days or maybe weeks. Your dog is obviously uncomfortable and has started to itch itself raw. You have no clue why this itching started and decide to take your dog to the veterinarian.
Itchy skin is a very common problem for dog owners. This is because there are so many causes of skin problems. Your dog could simply have dry or irritated skin. Perhaps it has a skin infection or allergies. In this article we will explore a few causes of ‘itchy skin’.
Just as in some people with dandruff, some dogs get itchy skin simply because their skin is drier than normal skin. There are a couple of ways to help your dog. You can bathe it less, and/or bathe it with a hydrating dog shampoo. At the recommendation of your veterinarian, you can give your dog fatty acid supplements or kibble that is specifically designed for dogs with dry skin. Remember that there are certain conditions that may make your dog’s dry skin worse, such as swimming or sunburn on short-haired, light-coloured breeds.
There are also many infections of the skin that can cause your dog to be itchy. If you have not had it on flea control, it may simply be fleas! Fleas can make some dogs so itchy that they end up scratching patches of fur completely off. Dogs can also get ringworm. Ringworm is a fungus that lives in the outer layers of the skin. Another type of fungus infection is yeast. Yeast is also a common cause of ear infections. Dogs, especially ones with floppy ears, are prone to mite infections in their ears. There is even a type of mite that causes ‘walking dandruff’. This infection commonly fools owners because it looks just like dandruff caused by dry skin.
Allergies are very common in our domesticated pets. There are two broad categories of allergies: food and environmental. Food allergies are caused when the dog’s body reacts to a type of food as if it were an invader. The inflammation caused by this reaction can cause signs in the intestine, and can be severe enough to cause other signs. Itchy skin is a very common sign of food allergies. Some of the most common ingredients that cause allergies are beef, chicken, and corn. These ingredients are widely found in dog kibble. When you suspect a food allergy, you have a few options. You can get your dog allergy tested to find out exactly what it is allergic to. Then you may decide to try a ‘novel protein diet’, which uses different ingredients to avoid common allergens (for example, kangaroo oatmeal kibble). Solving food allergies is a long process that involves much trial and error.
Environmental allergies are often the same as human allergies. Dogs can commonly have seasonal allergies, for example pollen. Other common environmental allergies are plastic food dishes and floor/rug cleaners. If you find that your dog starts itching right after you have cleaned or changed something in the house, you may have found the cause of an allergy. Dogs can be allergy tested for environmental allergens. Your vet is a very good source of information about common environmental allergens.
There are many causes of itchy skin in dogs. What is important in figuring out what is causing the itching includes finding out if there is a pattern of when the itching starts. Also, different causes of itchy skin will be located on different parts of the body. Keep in mind that there are many causes of itchy skin, including other factors such as hormone imbalances. Contact your veterinarian when your dog develops itchy skin, and be prepared to take your time solving this problem.
By Ashley O’Driscoll – Pets.ca writer