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Itchy Scratchy Dog

Many dogs today suffer from constant scratching and this can cause much dismay and annoyance with pet owners especially if they are at their wits end on what is causing the itch. Some dogs end up scratching themselves raw which could also lead to infections. Included are some suggestions on what could be causing your pet to scratch constantly and some recommended remedies.

1) Fleas and Ticks

This is one of the most common causes of concern for many pet owners. There are many commercially produced monthly medications to ward off these pesky insects. However, I find that the best method to keep fleas and ticks off is by ensuring your pet has a good immune system. This is the best way to keep the fleas and ticks off your dogs for good!  These pests do not like to feed on healthy dogs. They tend to go for animals with weaker immune systems. 

Regular use of anti-fleas spray is good prevention especially if you are still in the process of building up their immune system. A more natural flea spray could contain ingredients such as neem oil or lemon grass oil. If your dog has a serious infestation with fleas and requires immediate attention, bring him to the vet to address the situation or you can drip Frontline, Accurate or fipronil medication. Use a flea comb to comb out as many fleas as you can. Avoid bringing them to a grassy area especially during fleas and ticks season when you are building up their immune system.

To remove ticks, care must be taken to ensure the tick bite does not irritate the skin after you remove it. You can numb the tick with clove based products or isopropyl alcohol. Once the tick has been numbed, it will be easier to pull him off without damaging fido's skin. Spray on or apply wound disinfectant on the affected area to prevent skin infection.

2) Mange

A dog suffering from an allergy can be a constant nightmare for both the dog and owner. It is disheartening to see your pet constantly scratching and causing raw wounds on their skin due to itching. The following recommendations must be done in stages to assist you in identifying possible causes.

Before we start, ascertain that the skin rash is not due to parasites such as mange, fleas or ticks. If you suspect mange, bring the dog to the vet and get it verified. Mange can be very serious if not treated early. The constant scratching can cause the skin to be raw, red and balding.  Your vet can do a skin scrap to ascertain if the condition is an allergy or mange condition.

3) Environment Allergy

First, we need to check if your dog is allergic to environment conditions in your home. Like humans, some dogs are allergic to pollen, dust mites and insect bites.

For pollen allergens, keep your pet away from the source and if it cannot be avoided, clean and wash them often to rid them of as many allergens as possible.

For insect bites use natural sprays such as those that contain aroma oils like citronella oil, eucalyptus, lemon grass, clove or neem oil. Any of these oils can help ward off insects.

For dust mites, throw away any old mats or clothes that they usually sleep on, use plastic beddings instead of soft bedding as soft beddings will attract dust mites. If you need mats in your home, make sure your pet is not resting on it and wash and change them regularly (at least 3x a week).

After checking their beddings or clearing their mats and they are still itching, it could be simple floor detergents that they are allergic to. If this is the cause, dogs usually get more of a skin rash on their tummy area as a result of resting on the floor. To resolve this, stop using the detergent and switch to a more natural type which is available in some organic health stores. If the skin rash clears up, you can be sure the commercial floor detergent is the cause of the skin rash.

4) Food Alergy

This form of allergy is most challenging for most pet owners as discipline needs to be instilled to determine allergy food source. A faster approach would be to perform a food allergy test with your pet. Call up your vet to check if they provide such as service as not all vets can provide this level of care.

Alternatively, minimize your pet food intake including treats to very basic meals until you notice improvements to the skin condition, then add one more type of ingredients one at a time over a period of few weeks to determine what triggers the onset of the allergy. This method requires a lot of patience, time and cooperation from the rest of the family as they should not be feeding fido anything else other then their basic controlled meals during the testing period.

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Thursday, 29 February 2024

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