It is a common dog owner’s dilemma: your dog has started to scratch, bite and/or lick, and it is only getting worse with time. The first thing that comes to mind is that the dog has fleas. Fleas are the most common reason that dogs scratch, bite and lick at themselves. It is easy to detect the presence of fleas, because they are dark in colour and approximately as large as a pinhead. When you part the dog’s fur, you can see the fleas as they crawl around on the dog’s skin. Another way to see them is to place your dog on a white sheet or towel and brush the fur. Check the fabric and if fleas are the problem, they will be visible. Flea bite allergies are also very common. It only takes one flea bite to trigger an allergic reaction. There are a number of safe and effective spot on flea treatments and shampoos, available at vet-n-pet DIRECT that provide excellent results at keeping fleas in check.
However, this may not be the reason that your dog is itchy. To help prevent scratching, biting and itching, keep your dog’s skin dry and well ventilated, especially in warm weather. For long or thick-coated breeds, you can trim or shave your dog’s fur very close to the skin to allow for ventilation.
Improper nutrition can lead to dry, itchy skin, so look at your dog’s diet. Omega Fatty Acids, important for healthy skin, are often missing from low-grade, cheap commercial dog foods. Read the label of any foods you serve to your dog to make sure that they include all the ingredients that are important for optimum health. Give your dog high quality dog food. Always check to make sure that the first ingredient listed is meat, not filler like corn or soy meal. Foods with too many types of filler do not provide fatty acids that are essential for healthy skin and coat.
Another reason for itching is parasites. Check your dog for abrasions or insect bites, which leave an irritation on the dog’s skin. If you live in a tick-prone area, remember to check your dog daily. Some spot on flea treatments can also repel and kill ticks, so if ticks are a concern, look for one of these dual-purpose products.
Another factor is bacterial, yeast or fungal infection, which can cause chronic scratching, biting and licking. Ringworm, a fungal infection, is extremely contagious to other dogs and sometimes humans. Yeast infections create a strong odour and are often the result of another health condition. Bacterial infections often go hand in hand with other types of skin irritations, such as insect bites, parasites, allergic reactions or an abrasion to the skin, which create an opening for bacteria to invade and multiply. In most cases, the treatment for bacterial infection is a combination of shaving the area and using antibiotics and special shampoos, offered by Vet-N-Pet Direct, such as Malaseb, a good all around shampoo for treating both bacterial and fungal skin conditions.
Allergies are another reason for a dog to scratch, bite and lick itself. A complicated and time-consuming diagnosis, the veterinarian must rule out all other reasons before considering the possibility of allergies. Treatments for allergies in dogs include dietary or environmental modifications, medicated shampoos, creams and antihistamines.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can also be the reason for scratching, biting and licking. The most common triggers are stress, boredom and separation anxiety. In some cases, anxiety treatment and/or environmental enrichment often provide relief for the dog.
In conclusion, it is normal for a dog to have an occasional itch, so if you notice your dog scratches once or twice, do not worry. Dogs often scratch at a new collar until they are used to wearing it. Some itches may be temporary and pass on their own. To find helpful solutions, visit vet-n-pet DIRECT. However, if your dog is constantly scratching, biting and licking, the underlying cause needs to be uncovered and treated. This process may take time as both you and your veterinarian go through the process of elimination, but is well worth the trouble to provide optimal health for your dog. Once treated, you will be able to enjoy peace of mind, as well as a good night’s rest.