What to Do if You Have an Itchy Dog in Buffalo Grove, IL
Although scratching from here and there is normal for a dog (as they do take measures to groom themselves), when the behavior becomes excessive, that’s when you want to consider consulting a vet. No pet owner wants to have an itchy dog. Read on to learn more about what could be causing the itching and measures you can take to help prevent it.
Symptoms and Potential Causes
Allergic dermatitis is a condition that may be causing your dog’s itching. It can come with the following symptoms:
- Frequent scratching.
- Recurring ear infections.
- Skin and fur changes (lesions on the skin, patchy fur, etc.)
And allergic dermatitis is known to flare up due to several factors, including:
- Flea bites.
- Environmental triggers.
- Food allergies.
Fleas, which are tiny, flightless insects that live as external parasites of mammals and birds, can be found anywhere on your dog’s body (but most typically around the hind legs, base of the tail, and rear end). And their bites (even from just one single flea) can cause an allergic itch.
Just like in people, allergies to things around in the environment, like pollen, mold spores, or dust mites, can cause an itchiness on a dog’s body. Dogs with these kinds of allergies typically experience the need to scratch their faces, bellies, and paws. Keep in mind that these allergens can persist in certain seasons or all-year round. If your dog seems to get aggressively itchy whenever it goes outside, you may want to look into purchasing an outdoor dog bed to keep your pup off the direct ground as much as possible. This may help prevent (or at least decrease the amount of) the allergens from being carried into the house on their fur.
Dogs can be (or become) allergic to common ingredients found in their food, such as beef, chicken, and dairy products.
Like dogs who are allergic to environmental factors, pups with food allergies typically become itchy around their faces, paws, and bellies but also around their armpits. Excessive scooting can also be an indication that your dog may have a food allergy.
Treatment for an Itchy Dog
Like Ogden Nash famously said, “Happiness is having a scratch for every itch.” As such, your dog’s happiness and overall quality of life will only benefit from getting to the route of the cause and alleviating the need to scratch.
Treatment options include the following:
- Over-the-counter shampoos and oils. Although this isn’t seen as the best option because it may provide temporary relief, it does not necessarily address the route of the problem—meaning that the itchiness may return after time.
- This also isn’t considered the best treatment plan because studies have shown that antihistamines may have little to no effect on treating atopic dermatitis.
- Prescription steroids. A vet can prescribe steroids to help reduce itching on a dog’s skin, but owners need to be aware of the side effects that can come with them, like increased thirst and urination, weight gain, and aggression.
- Allergy injections. Just like for people, animals can get injections that contain small amounts of their allergens in order to desensitize the body’s response to them.
Other Causes of Itchy, Dry Skin
- Systemic disorders (like Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism).
- Auto-Immune disease and cancers.
- Breed-specific skin conditions.
- Cold and dry weather.
- Excessive bathing.
- Harsh soaps.
- Poor nutrition (for example, a lot of commercial dog foods remove the good oils that help promote hydration of the skin).
You will know if your dog is suffering from dry skin if you notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Dandruff/flaking skin.
- Hair loss.
- Increased oiliness.
How to Prevent Itchiness
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to prevent dry skin (especially when it comes to certain diseases and genetic disorders), but there are still general things you can do in order to put your pet in the best position to avoid it (or catch and treat it early on). They include:
- Feeding a high-quality and balanced diet.
- Keeping up with parasite and other preventatives.
- Regular grooming.
- Giving supplements (when prescribed or recommended by a professional).
- Avoiding the use of hot blow dryers after bath time.
- Scheduling regular vet appointments.
- Maintaining the cleanliness of skin folds (if applicable to your dog’s breed).
- Researching the common skin conditions that are commonly associated with your dog’s breed.
- Patting dogs down thoroughly with towels after they get wet.
- Putting their beds in locations around the house that are not right by air vents.
Every pet owner is likely to have an itchy dog at some point in their lifetime. While it may not be something serious, keeping your pet comfortable when they come across itchy skin can be helpful.
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About Buffalo Grove Animal Hospital
Buffalo Grove Animal Hospital has been a part of the Buffalo Grove community since 1969. Our veterinarians serve Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Palatine, and the surrounding areas with the best veterinary medicine year after year. Our commitment to pet health runs deep, and we’ve proven our skill and compassion by becoming an AAHA-accredited Animal Hospital, the highest accreditation veterinary practices can receive.