Saturday, 23 June 2012

Why Do Dogs Itch?

There are so many different conditions that can cause your dog to itch that entire books have been written on the subject. In general though, the main causes of itching in your dog are allergies of some description.
Like humans, dogs can become allergic to almost anything, even things that they have tolerated for many years. Here we will talk about the main causes of itching in your dog and what you can do about it.
Flea allergies are a common cause of itching in dogs. Some dogs are allergic to the saliva that a flea secretes and this can cause a real problem. Your dog will be constantly scratching himself and, in more extreme cases may start to bite and chew at the area to rid himself of the pest. Other signs of a flea allergy include red bumpy patches on the skin and bald patches where the dog has scratched himself excessively.
Flea allergies often only take 1 or 2 fleas to start so more often than not you will not even see the flea on your dog's body. However, a flea infestation will also cause your dog to itch incessantly and this will be obvious. Regular flea treatment, bathing and grooming is essential for your dog's wellbeing.
The term "skin allergy" covers a multitude of things for dogs. Inhalant allergies can cause quite severe problems for your dog. Whereas a human will suffer with upper respiratory problems through inhalants, a dog's allergy manifests itself on the skin.
Inhalant allergies could be caused by pollens, grasses or chemicals. As well as possible breathing problems your dog will suffer with frenzied itching, usually on the groin area, the armpits, flanks and feet. Removing the cause is obviously the best course of action but this isn't always going to be possible.
Treatment is either by way of a course of antihistamines prescribed by your vet or you can add certain supplements to your dog's diet, such as Omega fatty acids. These contain natural anti-inflammatory properties and will remove a lot of the symptoms.
Food allergies can make your dog itch badly. His skin will exhibit red bumpy patches, particularly around the stomach, the feet, the legs and ears. He may even suffer with vomiting and diarrhoea. The only way to find out what food your dog is allergic to is to put him on an exclusion diet. Our vet will be able to help you with this and will suggest the best way of doing it.
Treatment is by way of removing the food that is causing the problem and even changing your dog's diet completely, if necessary. Home cooked food is best with added fatty acid and vitamin supplements.
These are just a few of the most common causes of your dog itching. Insect bites, other allergies and irritants can also be responsible. If you feed your dog on a well-balanced healthy diet with plenty of fish oils and vitamins he should be able to combat almost all of the problems associated with allergies and will not suffer from itchy skin. Regular bathing and grooming is also essential.
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