Why Is My Dog So Itchy in Canton, GA?
Has your dog been itchy lately? If they have been itchy, have you been worried? Whether your answer is yes or no to these questions, understanding what causes itchiness in dogs and how to treat it is important.
Causes of Itchiness in Dogs
There are several of causes for itchiness in dogs. The three main categories are environmental causes, health causes, and diet causes. Be aware that one or more of these could be causing itchiness.
Scratching is the most common sign of itchy skin. However, it is not the only symptom of itchy skin. Your dog may also suffer from the following symptoms.
- Excessive licking
- Excessive nibbling
- Hair loss
- Oozing, inflamed skin
- Discolored skin or fur (usually where licking or chewing is happening)
If your dog is exhibiting one or more of these symptoms at a severe level, contact your veterinarian as it could be a sign of a major health condition.
Environmental causes of itchiness in dogs fall into two categories. The first is bugs and insects. The second is allergies.
Fleas, ticks, and other bugs that bite can cause your dog to act itchy. These can be treated by removal and shampoos. You can also prevent bugs through a variety of methods. You can use a flea or tick collar. There are special treats you can give your pet. Make sure to check your dog for ticks or tick bites after you have been outside with them.
Environmental allergies can also cause itchiness. Dogs can be allergic to bushes, flowers, grass, and trees. They can be allergic to one or more types of pollen. If this is the cause of your dog’s discomfort, talk to your vet. There are treatments for dogs to help them not react to these allergies.
A number of health problems can result in itchiness in dogs.
Bacterial or fungal infections can make your dog itchy. These are particularly common in the ears, but can also happen elsewhere. Oozing, inflamed skin and hair loss can be other common symptoms of this type.
Dermatitis is another cause of itchiness. It can be caused by environmental factors, such as allergies, or diet, such as food allergies. Either way, it is important to consider this cause and talk to your vet.
Itchiness in dogs can also be a sign of anxiety. If their symptoms include nibbling, licking, or chewing but not scratching, they may be reacting to anxiety and not an actual itchy skin feeling.
If your dog is suffering from anxiety, it is important to talk to your veterinarian and try to determine what might be causing the anxiety. Finding the cause of the anxiety is the only way to deal with it.
The last category that can affect a dog is diet. Dogs can be allergic to food ingredients. This allergy can manifest as itchy skin. If you suspect your dog may be allergic to their food, talk to your vet about changing the food.
It is important to note that food allergies in dogs are usually protein allergies. It may be necessary to undergo a food allergy test to see what protein your dog is allergic to. Luckily, there are several food options for dogs with food allergies.
- Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d
- Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed
- Royal Canin Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein
- Royal Canin Selected Protein PD
- Royal Canin Selected Protein RC
Be aware that if your dog has one allergy, they may also have others. Similar to humans, dogs can develop allergies as they age. They can also outgrow allergies, though this is more uncommon.
Treating Itchiness in Dogs
How you treat itchiness in dogs depends on the cause of the itchy feeling. Keep in mind that your dog may suffer from more than one cause. For instance, they may have both environmental and food allergies. For all treatments, make sure to keep in touch with your vet and keep an eye on your dog. If things get worse instead of better, stop immediately and contact your vet.
If bugs are the problem, there are two steps. First, get rid of the bugs. Second, prevent the bugs from returning. Until you get rid of the bugs, your dog won’t stop itching. Once the bugs are gone, treat your dog’s itchy skin.
If fleas were the problem, your dog should recover quickly. If ticks were the problem, make sure to have your vet check your dog for Lyme disease and other diseases ticks can transfer to your dog.
If mosquitos are the problem, have your vet check your dog. Mosquitos can cause heartworm. The sooner you get treatment for heartworm, the better. You can prevent these bugs using bug repellents, such as a bug collar. To prevent mosquitos and ticks, avoid boggy, swamp-like areas. You can also use mosquito candles when you are outside for an event.
Lastly, you can use shampoos to get rid of fleas and to help with the itchiness left behind.
If environmental allergies are the cause of your dog’s itchiness, your vet can prescribe allergy medication. Talk to your vet about what options they would recommend. In most cases they will want to start with something small and work up until they find the perfect balance for controlling your dog’s allergies.
With food allergies, you can test for the allergy and try to avoid ever giving your pet the protein, or proteins, that they are allergic to. Alternatively, you can ask your vet to recommend a good allergy free dog food.
These dog foods are not protein free. However, the protein has been broken down into tiny elements that your dog’s body doesn’t recognize as being the protein. This prevents your dog from reacting to the protein.
Bacterial or Fungal Infections
To treat bacterial or fungal infections you will need antibiotics. Your vet can prescribe these. They may prescribe different types or different doses, depending on what your dog has. This treatment typically lasts from 21 days to 30 days.
Whatever the cause of your dog’s itchiness, it is important to speak with your vet before making any changes. Mention all symptoms, not just the itching, to ensure the proper diagnosis. Once you know what is going on, you can make the changes necessary to treat your dog’s itchy skin.
Is your dog showing signs of being itchy in Canton, GA? Call (770) 479-7141 to talk with your Riverstone Animal Hospital veterinarian today!