What Causes Itchy Skin in Dogs?
Does your dog constantly scratch, lick or chew their skin? Most of us have experienced dry, itchy skin at some point in our lives and know just how frustrating and uncomfortable this is. There are many possible reasons why your dog may have itchy skin and it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of this.
Some of the most common reasons for itchy skin in dogs include:
- Allergies - both environmental and food allergies can result in skin inflammation, rashes and itchiness. The most common environmental allergens for dogs include pollen, dust mites, trees and grass. Dogs can also have allergies to ingredients found within their food. If you think your dog has an allergy and are unsure about the cause, consult a vet as they may want to carry out an allergy test to determine this.
- Parasites such as fleas and ticks can cause immense irritation. Fleas are a year round problem therefore owners should be regularly treating their dogs with a flea treatment, which are available to purchase at most pet stores or veterinary clinics. If you notice a tick in your dog’s skin, it is important to remove it as soon as possible as ticks can be carriers of Lyme disease.
- Yeast infections are one of the most common skin concerns in dogs. Dogs skin naturally carries a population of yeast, however an overgrowth of this can result in the development of yeast infections. Although yeast infections can occur anywhere on the body, they are more common in areas that become moist, such as skin folds and the ears. Dogs with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to developing yeast infections.
- Folliculitis is a relatively common condition that occurs when hair follicles become inflamed. Folliculitis usually occurs as a result of bacterial or fungal infection. Treatment for folliculitis usually involves application of anti-bacterial or anti-fungal topical ointments, or bathing with medicated shampoo. In cases of bacterial folliculitis, an oral anti-biotic may also be prescribed.
- Fungal infections such as ringworm can cause skin irritation as well as hair loss. Ringworm is usually treated with a range of anti-fungal ointments and washes. Ringworm is highly contagious and it can be transferred to other animals, as well as humans. If your dog has ringworm, it is recommended that it is kept separate from other dogs to prevent transmission of the condition. If handling an affected dog, owners are encouraged to practice strict personal hygiene measures, such as wearing personal protective equipment and frequently washing their hands.
- Impetigo is a condition characterised by small areas of skin infection on hairless areas of the body, such as the abdomen area. Impetigo is most common in puppies who have been kept in unhygienic conditions.
- Mange - a highly contagious condition caused by an infestation of sarcoptes mites that burrow under the skin, often resulting in thickening of the skin, itching and hair loss. Treatment for mange often requires a course of medication. A vet may also prescribe a course of antibiotics to help treat secondary infections as a result of the condition.
- Seborrhea is a condition where the sebacious glands produce an excess amount of sebum resulting in smelly, oily skin and crusty plaque-like lesions.
- Overwashing - it is important that owners do not over-wash their dogs as this will strip natural oils from their coats resulting in dry and irritated skin. When washing your dog it is recommended that a mild or specially formulated dog shampoo is used. Chemicals and dyes found in many human shampoos can be too harsh for your dogs sensitive skin. Regular grooming can help remove built up dirt and debris and distribute the natural oils to promote a shiny, glossy coat.
Some dogs suffer from nutritional deficiencies, which can have implications on their skin and coat health . Dietary supplementation can be a great means of managing itchiness and promoting skin and coat health from within.
You can help ditch the itch with Skrap the Skratch skin and coat supplement for dogs. Skrap the Skratch is an entirely natural blend of flaxseed meal, marshmallow root, rose hip, clivers, dandelion, celery seeds and nettle that will help promote healthy skin and a shiny, glossy coat from the inside out.
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