Does your dog scratch a lot? Does he or she chew on his or her skin? Have you noticed that Pup seems really itchy at certain times of the year? There are many reasons why your dog might be so itchy and most will require the assistance of a licensed veterinarian in order to treat and/or cure them.
Fleas, mosquitoes, and mites are the most common cause of itchiness to an animal. These insects are parasites that bite and suck blood from a host. Their saliva will almost always cause an allergic reaction that results in itchy welts or nasty rashes. Flea and mosquito bites can be prevented by using a topical insecticide such as fipronil or imidacloprid. Mite infections will require an oral insecticide such as ivermectin that will usually kill internal parasites as well. Never use flea collars or powder on your pet, as the active ingredient, permethrin, is often toxic to small animals and rarely lethal to insects any more.
Dry skin is also a factor when it comes to itchy skin. Dry weather, excessive bathing, and poor diet will cause your dog’s skin to become red and itchy. Dogs do not have as many oils in their skin as humans, so bathing should be kept to a minimum. Using a veterinarian-approved shampoo with an oatmeal base will alleviate some of the dryness. Some veterinarians will even prescribe a different diet and/or fish oil capsules to make your dog’s skin and coat healthier.
Food allergies are also a common cause of itchiness in dogs, especially in certain breeds. Chicken and poultry are the two biggest suspects when a veterinarian hears complaints about Pup’s scratching. A new diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and made from different protein sources (such as fish or lamb) will soon reduce symptoms in your dog. Until the new diet begins to work, your vet may prescribe an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine or hydroxizine. Both are given orally and may make your dog feel a little drowsy at first. However, Pup will also feel a lot better and might appreciate the peaceful sleep.
These are only the most common causes of itchy skin for a canine and only your veterinarian can decide the hows and whys regarding Pup’s scratching. Generally it is an easy malady to treat and symptoms can be alleviated anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, depending on the cause. Pup will be very grateful and you may even find yourself scratching less as well.