How to Help Dogs with Itchy Skin
Buddy got an itch he just can’t seem to scratch? It may not be what you think it is.
Why does my dog keep scratching?
Just like us, dogs are prone to allergies. They’re the most common cause of itchy skin for our four legged friends. Vets frequently treat pets for flea dermatitis during the spring and summer months, which can come as a surprise to pet parents, especially because their buddy may not appear to have fleas.
“Sometimes the only evidence you may see are black ‘dots’ or flea dirt throughout your dog’s coat,” says PETstock VET Practice Manager, Emily Broome.
Flea dirt is excrement and dried blood, left behind by fleas whenever they live and breed on your buddy. “While there may be no adult fleas present, this can still lead to itchy skin and cause your dog discomfort, Ms. Broome says.
- Test whether this is the cause of your dog’s itchy skin by placing a large piece of damp paper towel beneath them as you brush their coat. As the flea dirt hits the damp paper, a small red blot will appear.
Another common allergy is atopic dermatitis, which tends to be worse during spring and summer time when there is a high burden of pollens. Food allergies and contact allergies are less common for dogs, but it’s important to consider as an option if your buddy is constantly itchy.
I think my dog has hay fever allergies. What are the signs and symptoms?
Hay fever affects every body (and every buddy) differently. The most common sign, just like in humans, is itchiness. The following are all signs that your dog is suffering from hay fever:
- Rubbing against a fence or other things
- Unusual chewing and licking
- Dragging their bottom along the ground
Other indicators are red spots in affected areas, scabs and shaking of the head. The areas most affected are the feet, the tummy area and ears.
How do I treat my dog’s itchy skin? What products or food supplements do you recommend?
If you’ve ever suffered from it yourself, you know that itchy skin can be very frustrating! Skin allergies are incurable and often reoccurring over a lifetime. They can also lead to secondary infections caught when the skin gets damaged from scratching.
If your pet is constantly itchy, it’s important to first visit with your vet to chat about your options.
In some cases, your vet may recommend skin scraping and sticky tape cytology testing to ensure your dog isn’t dealing with an infection on top of their itchiness. If it turns out this is something that needs to be addressed, antibiotics may be prescribed.
There are varieties of food available, some only available with a prescription, which are specifically developed to help improve skin health (that’s right, itchy skin is THAT common!).
Find Food for Sensitive Skin at PETstock:
Hill’s Prescription Diet *Prescription Diet products are only available for purchase through PETstock online, and Petstock VET.
You can also help your buddy by ensuring their allergies are well-managed so they’re kept as comfortable as possible.