You may feel like life is even more hectic than normal, and this may cause you to forget to give or apply your monthly flea medication, and now your four-legged family member is scratching.  Fleas?  That is only one cause of itching, but can lead to some of the others listed.  We are going to educate you on some grooming/skin questions you may have.  These articles will help you with some common issues dogs and cats face this time of year.  As always, you may call and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members if you have any further questions or concerns.

ITCHY SKIN?

A dog with itchy skin is a common problem often faced by vets and pet owners. Just as in humans, however, itchy skin can have many causes, such as nutritional deficiencies, allergies or parasites. To find relief for the dog and owner, you need to get to the root cause of the itching.

Allergies

Just like people, dogs can have allergies. In dogs, the most common allergens are environmental such as pollens, mold, dust mites, and flea saliva. Certain fabrics like wool can also cause allergies. In addition, a dog can have food allergies, to anything from corn to soy.  If you find your pet is having these problems, a good shampoo to use is oatmeal or hypo-allergenic shampoo.  Baths every 2-10 days will help remove topical allergens, thus receiving allergic symptoms, primarily itching.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Sometimes, the pooch just isn’t being fed right. Diets lacking enough essential fatty acids can produce itchy, poor-quality skin. According to the Pet Center, cheap dog foods that do not have meat as the first ingredient can often lead to nutritional deficiencies. These will often manifest in itchy skin.  Feeding table food often incites allergies as well as making your dog finicky.  There are many good diets on the market to help your pet maintain his/her nutritional requirements.

Parasites

A wide array of critters want to feast on your dog. These include fleas, ticks, cheyletiella mites, gnats, and deer flies.  An owner can remove many of these with special shampoos or lotions, but mites often require medication.  Flea shampoos are only affective for a short time(i.e. a few days at least.)  Just remember, that a bath is only a temporary fix to your flea problem, and administering a monthly flea prevention is necessary to eliminate the flea cycle in your environment.  Also, treatment of the home and environmental to kill fleas, eggs, and larvae is essential in controlling the problem.

Fungus

Yeast, ringworm, and Malassezia are all common fungal infections. Luckily, they are often easy to identify, as they can cause oozing sores, lesions, scaling, and very obvious irritation. To find relief, a dog needs anti-fungal medication, but may also be treated with steroids and antibiotics.  A shampoo that could be used in this condition is Benzoil Peroxide.

Seborrhea

Seborrhea is a skin condition characterized by flaky and/or greasy skin, a foul-smelling coat, and excessive oil production. It is essentially caused by skin cells that die too fast, leading to a buildup of visible dead skin cells. These dead skin cells can also affect glands. Seborrhea can be either genetic or related to allergies and nutritional deficiencies. Treatments commonly include trimming the coat, using special shampoos, and addressing the related problems, such as in a nutritional deficiency.  A tar shampoo or Chlorhexiderm shampoo is recommended for these conditions.