Common Dog skin problems
Does your dog have a dull coat, is constantly scratching, itching, chewing at his paws, or wiping his face and eyes? Any one of these symptoms sound familiar? Dog skin conditions are one of the most common reasons for a trip to the vets.
Constant scratching at itchy skin is really common. Persistent scratching can be torment for both dog and owner; as well as making your dog totally miserable, it can cause broken skin infections and hair loss. Itchy skin can be caused by allergies which can be broken down into three main sections i.e. fleas, the environment or food. Whilst flea bites are particularly irritating to both dogs and humans, some dogs have a hyper-sensitivity to it and just one bite is enough to set off intense itching and scratching. However, it is treatable and can be controlled. See your vet for regular three monthly treatments in tablet form to keep your dog flea and tick free. This is far better control than the over the counter options that are in the form of liquid drops on the skin.
Environmental allergies can be seasonal, so it is a good idea to keep a diary of when your dogs starts scratching and where he has been. Itching that starts when the weather starts to warm up, could be down to fleas or inhaled allergens such as grass pollen. Nettles and thistles can also cause irritation to the paws and you may find your dog scratching at the carpet or chewing his feet to get some relief as soon as he returns home from exercise. Environmental allergies are harder to treat and if control is difficult your dog may need to have medication prescribed by the vet. However, Piriton is a good option for allergy control but always speak to your vet before using who will give you the correct dosage for your breed and size of dog.
Dog Food Allergy
A food allergy is more difficult to diagnose and not as common as you would think. An allergy is created by a hypersensitivity to a protein, and the only way to find out what that is, is to give your dog totally different food and by process of elimination remove the trigger. Unfortunately, most manufactured dog food has similar ingredients, so you may have to get help and advice from your vet practice. Some dog owners swear by a BARF (bones and raw food) diet especially if the dog has behavioural issues which may be caused by an allergy, but most vets are against giving dogs bones. We would recommend that this is fully researched and understood before a change is made. Grains are also not a natural food for dogs so always try and get a grain free kibble to avoid stomach irritation.
The introduction of a few drops of salmon oil to your dog’s diet is great for shiny coats and also for bones and joints in older dogs. Keeping your dog shampooed and groomed on a regular basis with either a bristle or pin brush and occasionally going over with a coat thinner tool to remove the loose hair will help keep your home dog hair free and a healthy, fresh smelling, happy dog. Regular checking of your dog’s coat will also identify any problems such as dry skin, fleas and ticks and knotted hair and grass seeds and burrs that can also cause irritation.