My Dog is Itchy – What Should I Do
Itchiness in pets is usually a sign of an allergy, especially when it is accompanied by other symptoms, like loss of hair, mutilated skin, and frequent scratching. Canines who are allergic to food, flea bites, or other triggers in the environment often develop chronic ear infections along with patches of dry, flaky or inflamed skin.
Fortunately, there are ways to find out what’s causing your pet’s allergy. There are also topical medications and other treatment options available for pets suffering from allergies.
Common Causes of Allergies:
- Dogs can develop allergies when their bodies react to allergens present in foods like meats, fish, soy, or grains.
- They could also develop allergies to flea bites. This is known as flea allergy dermatitis. In this case, the allergen is the flea saliva.
- Pets may suffer from allergies when they come in contact with triggers in the environment like dust mites, smoke, perfumes, grass, weeds, and pollen.
- There may be many other items in your environment that could cause allergic reactions. Household disinfectants, pet care products and fabrics are a few other allergens that could cause hypersensitivity or atopy.
One way to pinpoint the cause of an allergy is to complete an intradermal test or a blood test. These tests have their pros and cons, but both are helpful, especially if your pet has been suffering from allergies for 5-6 months continuously.
Another common way to determine your pet’s allergy is to eliminate common allergens from your pet’s environment. It’s more of a trial and error approach, but this could help you identify the culprit. Once we find out what your pet is allergic to, we can create appropriate vaccines, desensitising them to the allergens over time.
Although there isn’t any cure for allergies, there are several things you can do as a pet owner to provide some relief. If your pet’s skin is damaged or inflamed, we may administer a low dose of corticosteroids. We can also prescribe antihistamines if the allergy is seasonal. Once the offending allergen disappears from the environment, your dog will no longer need to take the antihistamines.
We also highly recommend Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Omega-3 will improve your pet’s coat and skin condition. Look for a good Omega-3 supplement derived from fish oil. You can also purchase and use shampoos or pet care products that contain Aloe Vera or Oatmeal. Good quality skin moisturisers that contain Vitamins A and E will soothe the itchiness and reduce skin flaking.
Apart from these measures, you could also increase your pet’s intake of dietary fibre. Offer them meals that contain bran or mashed pumpkin. Lastly, express your pet’s anal sacs regularly. This will improve their health and overall quality of life.
Although there are many ways to manage allergies, the most important thing is to remove the allergen from your pet’s environment. That could mean changing your pet’s diet, getting rid of household plants, or changing your pet’s bedding to a hypoallergenic mattress.