We all know that dogs love a good scratch, especially if someone else is doing it for them. Ever seen the elation on a dogs face as you scratch behind his ears?!
But when does a normal scratch turn into something you should be concerned about? When a dog is incessantly scratching, licking and biting itself then it’s time to figure out what is causing it and how to treat it.
First thing to rule out is fleas. Have you seen any on your pet, or even flea dirt?
Any signs of fleas should be treated to ensure that those irritating bugs are killed off! There are many options out there, from prescription treatments from your local vet to the all natural parasite treatments. The key is to find out what works best for your dog, not every flea treatment will work for every dog.
How about dry skin? Does your pet have flaky and/or cracked skin?
There are many reasons why a dog can have dry skin, whether it be environmental factors or a food issue. Either way it is something that can be remedied quite simply. Often it can be that the dog is not taking in enough water and so becomes slightly dehydrated resulting in dry and flaky skin. This can be common in dogs that are fed a dry food diet exclusively. Some suggestions to remedy this include changing to a diet that is higher in meat content which means a higher moisture and oil content as well as adding oils into their food. Coconut oil is an excellent choice to add to food as it has so many health benefits and is obviously, completely natural.
What about skin that isn’t dry, but red and very sore?
9 times out of 10, when people come into the store with a dog that has red, sore patches on their skin, a change of diet helps. It is quite common now that dogs can become intolerant to certain ingredients, cereals seemingly being one of the major factors in skin issues. Changing to a high meat, grain free option can really help to alleviate any skin issues that can be caused by food.
There are many grain free options out there now that can be considered whether it is a high quality dry food, wet food or the increasingly popular raw food. As with anything it is always recommended talking through the problems and what you require from a food as each dog is different and what works for one dog doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for them all.
Keeping a food diary of EVERYTHING that your dog eats for a few weeks, listing reactions each day is a really helpful way of pin pointing what could be causing the reactions.
Whilst looking at your dogs food to see if this could be causing reactions don’t forget to also look at treats! Even just a few biscuits a day with the wrong ingredients in can cause itchy and scratchy skin on your dog!
Could it be an allergy? Does your dog itch at certain times of the year, or around certain products?
Some dogs can suffer from seasonal or home allergies just like us humans can. Whether they react to certain grasses or crops in your local area or maybe they have reacted to a new detergent at home, the key is follow a similar system to a food diary to work out what could be causing the reactions. For example, maybe your dog had a reaction at the same time you washed the sheets or his bedding? Writing this down and keeping notes will help to eliminate other possibilities and help you figure out how to treat him and what not to use in the house.
As with anything to do with animals, or even people, it’s not a case of ‘one size fits all’, what might be the case for one dog doesn’t mean that it is the same for another dog with similar symptoms. You should always ask your vet before undertaking ANY treatment and should never try treating major issues without first having a proper diagnosis.
Is your dog particularly itchy? Or have you had a scratchy dog in the past and discovered it was due to something mentioned above?
Why not share your stories and wisdom with us in the comments?
We would LOVE to hear any success stories!