Why Does My Dog Keep Itching and Scratching in Broward County, FL?
It is not uncommon to see a dog scratching. But if you have noticed your dog excessively licking, chewing, or scratching itself, it could be a sign something more serious is happening with your dog’s health.
Below, we’ll go over some of the causes and solutions for your dog’s itching and scratching problem in Broward County, FL.
Is My Dog’s Itching a Serious Condition?
While itching is common in dogs, it does have a medical term – pruritus – which is typically associated with allergies and skin diseases. In most dogs, you see this physically as red, inflamed skin. But it can lead to more serious issues, like pyoderma.
Pyoderma is a skin infection, that can lead to open wounds, scabs, and even hair loss. Skin problems can happen across all breeds and ages of dogs, but some – like French Poodles and Retrievers – are more prone to skin issues.
However, the itching is only a symptom. Now, it is time to get to the bottom of your dog’s condition.
What Could Be Causing My Dog to Itch?
Skin issues can happen to dogs at any age, and can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Beyond the itching itself, and the damage your dog could be doing to its skin by trying to scratch the itch, there could be a variety of underlying conditions leading to the discomfort.
When you see your dog scratching, the first thing that might come to mind is fleas. And flea bites, even one, can cause problems for dogs with sensitive skin. Mites and lice can also cause skin irritation, leading to your dog’s scratching. If it is not already, treating your dog for fleas and other pests all year long can help relieve their itchy skin.
Like with humans, there are a variety of environmental and seasonal factors that can trigger itching in dogs. Dogs with seasonal allergies may experience dry and irritated skin during certain times of the year.
Your dog could also be experiencing an environmental allergy. Pollens, molds, dusts, scented products and cleaning supplies can cause a reaction in dogs. If your dog suffers these kinds of allergies, you may notice them chewing on their feet to soothe, or getting more ear infections.
Your dog’s diet may also be contributing to their itchy skin. Just like with humans, it is not always easy to figure out what food is causing a reaction.
In addition to the main ingredients in your dog’s food – like, beef, chicken, wheat or dairy – there are micronutrients and additives that are getting into your dog’s system. Switching to a different food may help, if you can pinpoint which food is causing the issue.
In some cases, your dog may become obsessed licking or scratching an itch, wound, or sore. It is similar to a human biting their nails or sucking their thumb. Distracting your dog, and keeping them busy, can help to break this habit, and help them to let go of the obsession.
If your dog leads a mostly inactive life, the boredom of just laying around can lead to your dog gnawing on certain parts of their body – in many cases the paws. This can lead to sores or wounds, which can be hard to heal. Again, giving your dog something to do, or some kind of distraction, can help to alleviate this pain.
No matter what is causing your dog’s itching, it will be important to treat any health issues that could be making the skin irritation worse. With the right treatment, you can give your dog a better quality of life.
How Can I Relieve My Dog’s Itchy Skin in Broward County, FL?
Diagnosing the cause of your dog’s itching is an important step in their treatment plan, as itching is merely a symptom of some other underlying health issue. Depending on what they find, your veterinarian may prescribe or suggest some of the following treatments:
- Antibiotics, Antihistamines or Steroids – There are several ways your veterinarian may use medicines to treat your dog’s itching problem. Antibiotics, steroids, and antihistamines are all possible solutions to those underlying causes. If your dog’s itching is due to insects or fleas, your veterinarian may also prescribe some kind of flea treatment to prevent bites. Regularly cleaning your dog’s bed, and anywhere else they spend a lot of time can also reduce the chances of infestation.
- Topical Treatments – Sometimes itching and scratching can create sores, which are also known as “hot spots” on your dog’s skin. A veterinarian may prescribe a gel or cream to put on those places, and reduce the amount of irritation your dog is feeling, as well as help the spots to heal.
- Controlled Diets – Because food allergies can contribute to your dog’s skin problems, it may mean changes to their diet. It is not recommended that you make a transition like this suddenly. Usually, you want to change your dog’s diet gradually over time – typically between 7 and 10 days. Each day, your dog receives a little less of the food that could be triggering allergies, and gets more of their new diet. It can sometimes take a few months to see the results, so remember to keep a close eye on them for any changes.
- Regular Washing – It may sound obvious, but keeping your dog’s skin clean can also be a source of relief. Washing your dog regularly with a medicated shampoo or conditioner will soothe their skin, and reduce the itchiness.
- Supplements – To help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy, a fatty acid supplement may be suggested as an addition to their diet. Some dog foods are rich in fatty acids, like omega-3. But if you are unable to find a food that increases the number of fatty acids in your dog’s diet, there are many supplements available on the market in liquid, powder and even pill form.
Aside from these solutions, your veterinarian may also recommend more exercise, attention, and love. Not only is it a good way to bond with your dog, but it can also serve as a distraction from some of the discomfort they are feeling from itchy skin.
If you’re ever unsure of your dog’s health and well-being, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. We’re here to serve pet owners across all of Broward County, FL so your pets can live long, happy and healthy lives!