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Our itchy little fur balls

I believe that dog lovers around the world will agree that next to barking, the most annoying habit our canine cuties have is the incessant scratching and licking that are usually associated with that loose term “allergies”. It is estimated that around 20 percent of the pooch population in the USA suffer from allergies at any given time. There are more than 160 different skin disorders that are associated with dogs, however we tend to jump to that allergy conclusion right away. During the summer months fleas are a major culprit, but not always in the way you might think. Dogs are allergic to the flea saliva, but the first thing we think of is flea infestation. (That is a whole other story, and usually is not a very fun subject.)

People tend to lose patience with their veterinarian when different approaches are tried, but don’t provide the relief for the dog that they, the owner, had hoped. Given the number of skin disorders, it is easy to see why our vet might not get the correct diagnosis the first, second or even third time.

Chronic dermatitis is the name given to long-term skin disorders and there are not many challenges in veterinary medicine that are more intimidating. An important thing to remember though, is that you can help your dog by teaming up with your veterinarian and taking note of anything that may assist the doctor in getting to the bottom of the itchiness. There are times when it is extremely difficult to distinguish allergic itching from itching caused by skin infections.

Dogs may be our “best friends”, however when you are trying to catch a few extra minutes of sleep, that “thump, thump, thump” on the floor does not make our pups very endearing, does it? You tolerate it for a bit, and then if you are anything like I am, you scream at the poor animal. By realizing that they can’t control themselves anymore than we can when a mosquito takes a bite out of our leg, should make it somewhat easier to tolerate that ceaseless noise.

Make sure that you let your veterinarian do the diagnosing, even though you may be on the right track, they are the experts. There could be serious underlying conditions and a vet should be the one to determine whether that is the case.


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