Itching is defined as an unpleasant feeling in the skin that provokes the desire to scratch. Itching is a sign, not a specific diagnosis or disease. The most frequent causes of itching are parasites, allergies, and infections.
As the warm weather approaches, you may find your dog to itch more often. This makes you frustrated when you see your dog uncomfortable.
If your dog is always scratching but has no fleas and you wonder why my dog is itching then this post is for you.
Many skin diseases do not cause itching at first. Itching may develop due to a bacterial infection or secondary yeast infection. It is possible that by the time the itching develops, the primary cause has passed for a long time.
A dog with pruritus or itching will terribly scratch, bite, or lick its skin. Itching may be general or confined to one area. It’s normal for dogs to scratch, but an abrupt and strong scratching attack can be a sign of an allergic reaction.
You must consult with your veterinarian to go through all the history, skin test and physical examination. Some of the possible causes are given below
Food allergy is not as common as people think. What most people mean when they say their dog is food allergic is that their dog is food sensitive, also known as food intolerance.
Food sensitivities are not like true allergies it does not involve any immune response instead it is a gradual reaction to an offending element in dog diet. On the other hand, true food allergies involve an immune response.
Food items involved in food allergies are chicken, eggs, wheat, milk, soy, and corn. Dogs are usually allergic to these food show symptoms like gastrointestinal issues (vomiting and diarrhea), or dermatologic signs (itchiness, poor skin and coat, and chronic ear or foot infections).
Treatment of food allergies
Food allergies are rare, but they do occur and exclusion of foods can be necessary to know from which ingredient your dog is suffering from.
You can do protein food trials to evaluate for food allergies and make sure you don’t trigger the protein that causes allergy to your dog.
Make sure you serve the proper food to your dog that involves limited antigen therapeutic food that is consistent with the needs of your furry companion.
A balanced diet is essential to maintain the healthy coat and skin of a dog. Some certain essential fatty acids vitamins and minerals should be present in a healthy dog diet.
- Many canine skin disorders can have a basis for poor nutrition. Deficiency of omega 3 and omega 6 can cause pruritus. Omega 3 and 6 are supplemented at a rate of 660mg/kg and 300mg/kg in the diet to prevent pruritus.
- Vitamin A and E play an important role in maintaining healthy skin. Deficiency of these vitamins can cause scaly skin and itching.
- Minerals have many roles in the body, which include acting as beneficial antioxidants. Selenium, Zinc, and copper play an important role in maintaining the elasticity of the skin. Their deficiency can cause serious problems like itching.
If your dog is itching and he doesn’t have any flea allergy or food allergy than maybe he is suffering from environmental allergy-like pollen or dander.
Pollen allergy occurs because of the dog’s body trying to defend itself from the harmful substance. Just like humans, a dog’s immune system detects a foreign body which in this case is pollen.
The immune system considers the pollen molecule unsafe and sends antibodies to attach themselves to the antigen to flush them out of the body and prevent them from damaging your pet’s system.
Unluckily, pollen around us is unavoidable. The vet has multiple options to stop the dog’s seasonal suffering.
Treatment of environmental allergies
Eliminating the source of environmental allergies can be very difficult, but not impossible. Dogs need to go out and exercise, so keeping them out of the pollen altogether is not practical.
A nutrition change in case of environmental allergy may not provide any relief. Allergies occur during a certain part of the year they are not stoppable but they are treatable.
Treatment of environmental allergy can range from slight to wide, and go beyond only one method. Your veterinarian can recommend antihistamines to help keep allergies under control.
In some cases, your vet may recommend a series of infusions through which allergens are introduced into the body in a weekly or monthly cycle in an attempt to remove your pet’s allergy to pollen.
Use shampoo or medicinal ointments to relieve the itching and irritation of your pet’s skin that can accompany allergies.
Yeast infection or dermatitis is one the common cause of itching and it is caused by the fungus Malassezia patchydermatitis.
This yeast is usually found on the skin, but abnormal hyper-growth can cause dermatitis or itching of the skin.
Bacterial infections are the common cause of itching. The infection is often accompanied by hair loss, odor, and fluid secretion.
Extreme scratching, rubbing, or licking of the feet and face are common in pets with a bacterial infection.
Many bacteria exist on the skin of dogs and they don’t show any symptoms. The infection starts when a suitable environment is provided to bacteria and it proliferates.
Your dog may be infected with many different types of bacteria, but the most common types associated with itching in dogs are pseudintermedius.
Bacteria thrive in humid conditions, so many skin infections result from another condition that adds oil and moisture to the skin.
Symptoms are often found in the folds of the skin, or around areas of broken or irritated skin. A one-time infection is usually treated with antibiotics.
General Treatment of Itching
Treating itching with antihistamines is common, but its success in treating itching is very variable.
Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory steroids. They often considered the most effective drug for managing the itching. However, these medications can cause harmful side effects, including excessive hunger, thirst, and urination.
Topical sprays containing glucocorticoids may provide an effective alternative to pills, as long as they are used appropriately.
If your dog is continuously itchy, you should immediately consult your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. Self-medication is dangerous for your pet.