Itchy Pets

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            Is your pet always itching, chewing, and rubbing at their skin? Do they lay awake at night just trying to scratch that itch? Itchiness should never interrupt normal activities, so if you answered yes to either of those questions, read on to learn how to help provide some relief to your furry friend!

Itchiness can be a symptom of a larger problem, and can have many causes:

  • Environmental allergies can be caused by things like dust mites, pollen, mold, and chemicals in carpets, shampoos, and even lawns. Your pet can also have seasonal allergies, just like people.
  • Food allergies can develop at any time in your pet’s life, or may be caused by introducing a new food or treats. Itchiness from food allergies may also be accompanied by increased gas and loose stools.
  • Bacterial and fungal infections can be caused by a variety of bacteria and fungi. Pets with lots of skin folds or floppy ears may be more prone to these types of infections.
  • Parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites can also cause chronic itch, so it’s important to keep your pet current on their flea and tick prevention.

           Itchiness is probably the most common symptom of these underlying issues, but also be on the watch for licking, biting/chewing, rubbing, head shaking, pawing at ears, redness, dry skin, body odor, and hair loss. It’s also important to note when these signs started, and if there are any other pets in the household showing similar signs. This information will help your pet’s veterinarian establish just what the cause of the problem is.

           If all of this is sounding a little too familiar, schedule an appointment with us here at My Zoo to bring your pet in for an appointment today!  Early intervention can prevent the issue from worsening, leading to raw and even infected skin. It may be tempting to try over the counter treatments like oatmeal baths or lotions, but these only address the symptoms, not the cause of the itch. A veterinarian can get to the root of the problem and determine the best treatment plan for your pet. Make sure that the dog days of summer don’t include the itch!

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Why is my dog SO ITCHY?

It’s that time a year again!   We’ve been getting call after call about itchy dogs.    So why do dogs get so itchy?

There are many, many reasons dogs get itchy!  In this blog we’ll cover some of the basics.

  1. Fleas-  Fleas are probably the most common reason we see itchy dogs (or cats for that matter).    You don’t have to see fleas on your pet for fleas to cause a problem for your dog!  Most of the flea population exists in the environment in immature forms.  For more information on the flea life cycle, read our “A Day in the Life of a Flea” blog post.    One flea can bite your dog 200 times a day!  Some dogs are even allergic, and just 1 flea bite can make them tremendously itchy!  SO the first step in making your dog comfortable is keeping them on a monthly flea preventative.
  2. Atopy – Atopy is just a fancy word for allergies.   Many dogs can be allergic to something in their environment like dust mites or pollen.    There are a lot of different treatments we can recommend to help your pet with his or her allergies including shampoos, oral medications, and injections.  We even have a test that can help identify what things trigger your pet’s allergies.
  3. Food allergies – Some dogs have skin issues that are related to the food.  Dogs can develop allergies to food.  Most of the time dogs are allergic to the protein source (chicken, for example) in the food.  In order to be allergic to a food, a dog must have had that food in the past.  Even if your pet hasn’t had a problem with food, he or she could still develop a food allergy.  There are a number of different foods we can recommend to help or rule out a food allergy.
  4. Ringworm – Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection that can infect your dog (and you).   If you suspect your pet has ringworm, bring them in immediately.  If any humans develop a rash in your household, be sure to seek medical treatment with your health care provider.
  5.  Other parasitesThere are a number of other parasites that infect your pet’s skin including ticks, mange mites (like scabies and demodex), chiggers (another type of mite), and lice.
  6. Other causesThere are many other reasons your dog could be itchy ranging from contact with a skin irritant, too many skin folds, spiders, and much more…

So what should you do if your dog is itchy?  Well since there are so many different causes, we recommend giving us a call so we can make recommendations based on your pet’s unique situation.  Call us at 573-875-3647.