Sunday, 24 June 2012

How to Treat Your Dog's Itchy Skin

There is nothing worse than seeing and hearing your dog constantly scratching himself. It's irritating for you as the owner and even more so for the dog himself. There are so many different things that will cause itchy skin on a dog that there is no one cure for all.
The first thing to do is to find out what is causing you dog's skin to itch. It could be allergies, such as grass or a certain type of food; it could be insects like fleas, ticks, lice and mites. Fungal or bacterial infections, incorrect diet and mange are also reasons why your dog may be scratching, or it could be something more serious such as liver disease or some kind of cancer.
Whilst you and your vet are trying to determine the cause of your dog's itchy skin, there are some things you can do to ease your dog's suffering. Firstly you should bathe your dog regularly in cool water. Do not use water that s too hot or too cold as this will exacerbate the itching. Pat your dog dry - do not rub the skin as this will likely hurt and will make the irritation worse.
One of the causes of itchy skin is a problem with the sebaceous glands - they may be either over or under productive. Over productive glands will produce too much oil which dies and clumps on the skin, causing irritation. Under productive glands don't produce enough oil, leaving your dog's skin dry and itchy.
Using a natural shampoo when you bathe your dog will help to combat both of these conditions. Use a shampoo that contains aloe Vera and colloidal oatmeal as these products have been shown to moisturize the skin and are gentle enough not to further irritate the problem. Regular use of shampoo like this will soothe and treat the condition over the period of time.
Another cause of itchy skin in dogs is a zinc imbalance. This can be due to a poor diet and needs to be rebalanced in order for the sebum glands to work properly. Food allergies are another common cause of itchy skin on your dog and this can be rectified by changing his diet.
Ensure your home is free of fleas as these will cause immense problems to your dog, especially if he is allergic to them. There are plenty of products on the market to combat fleas but one of the most natural ways is to use a citrus product, particularly lemon, as fleas do not like this and will be repelled.
However, most of these are only short term measures and you need to determine the cause before you can have an effective long term treatment plan to ease the suffering. There are a range of natural products on the market that can be used long term, both as shampoos and food supplements. Used together, as prescribed you and your dog will soon see an end to the suffering caused by itchy skin.
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