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Why is my Dog Itching and Scratching? – The Basics
138 CommentsTuesday, 19 February 2013 | Kate
Here are a few reasons why your dog might be scratching at its backside and chewing its paws.
The skin is the largest organ in the body and so it is not entirely surprising that skin diseases account for a significant proportion of dogs with allergies and visits to both the doctors and the vets.
There are many conditions that affect the skin of dogs, ranging from flea bites to skin cancer, but what is almost certainly the most important canine skin disease is atopic dermatitis.
Skin allergies are incredibly common in dogs, and whilst most cases are relatively mild and cause only minor irritation, dogs with allergies and dermatitis can cause significant long term suffering to affected animals.
The most common symptoms of dog allergies in the skin are:
The main causes of skin allergies in dogs are:
Atopic allergies are the most common (in my experience they account for at least 70% of cases of allergic dermatitis in dogs) and are caused by allergic reactions to inhaled allergens such as pollen from trees and grass, which tends to be around for a few weeks at a particular time of year.
Other inhaled allergens can be a problem all year round such as mould spores, household dust mites, chemicals on furniture and carpets, indoor air fresheners and fabrics like wool and nylon.
The symptoms of dog allergies tend to be expressed in the skin, licking feet and generalised itching are the classic symptoms of a case of atopic allergy.
There is a general consensus that dog allergies to food and ingredients such as wheat, beef and soya are responsible for a significant number of cases of skin allergies in dogs, but true skin allergies directly caused by food are actually quite uncommon.
Over 90% of dogs will be lactose intolerant by the age of 12 months so it's best to avoid milk products.
If you think your dog has allergies to food could be the problem then your first port of call is an elimination diet to find out which food it could be.
Contact Allergies, such as those caused by washing powders, grass and so on, are even less common than food allergies, but do need to be considered in dogs which have unusual patterns of allergies, such as redness only on the belly that has appeared just after their bed has been washed for example.
The good news is that in most cases, the solution to itchy dog skin is simply a matter of ensuring your pet is getting the right nutritional balance, that includes treats too (not always easy with modern complete diets) coupled with effective parasite control.
Over at the Itchy Dog Shop we offer several nutritional supplements and remedies for dogs with allergies to help combat itching and scratching.
Here’s what we recommend:
For all over improved skin and coat condition Yumega Plus is good for soothing itchy and sensitive skin and Resist! works well to reduce the symptoms of dog allergies and aid your dog's recovery back to health.
For treating specific parts of the body like paw chewing or sore underarms Ekoneem Oil is your best bet, simply rub onto the afflicted areas and let the oil work its magic. Also use Ekoneem Organic Neem Oil Shampoo Bar while bathing your dog for continued results.
For getting rid of those unwelcome visitors namely: fleas, ticks and mites Billy No Mates Herbal Treatment is highly recommended by both us and our customers or if you prefer a liquid version there’s Billy No Mates Tincture.