It is incredibly normal to catch your pup having a scratch behind the ear when they’re idly relaxing in your home, but to notice them itching and scratching regularly is a different story altogether! You see, the odd scratch here and there is very normal - just the same for us humans, but you know that if you were scratching your hair and body more, you would think something is wrong, right? It is the same for your fluffy pal, too.
Frequent scratching and chewing could be a sign of a serious health issue – and the continuous vigorous friction between their paws and claws on the skin could be making the situation worse.
With over 160 types of skin disorders that can affect your pup, you need to make sure, as their puppy parent, to keep an eye on their scratching and itching!
The cause of your pup’s discomfort could be many things; fleas, allergies or an immune-mediated skin condition, so it is important that when you notice their scratching becoming an issue, you find the cause as soon as possible...
Your first thought when you notice your pup itching is fleas, right? Well, here at the Petlab Co. we recommend checking their fur first and being on a flea preventative all year round. If fleas are the cause, you may notice little black droppings that could be mistaken for small granules of pepper. If it is a simple case of fleas, then it can be easily treated and short-lived, so it should be simple to rectify.
When there are no signs of fleas or ticks, that is when you will need to investigate further. There’s more than one reason your pup may have irritated skin and poor fur quality - that doesn’t include a flea or a tick. Visiting your vet would be advised, but there are a few things you can do at home to check what could be causing your pup’s irritation.
Unfortunately, cheap low-quality foods are not the best when it comes to supporting your pup’s health needs. Poor quality diets have reduced amounts of all the goodies your pups need, which are normally beneficial to the health of your pup’s skin and fur, resulting in a lack of nutritional support. We are firm believers in spending a little extra time researching and a bit more money to guarantee that your pet’s nutritional health is at the best standard it can be.
The longer you’re a puppy parent, the more you may notice that a lot of our own ailments can affect your pooch, too. Suffering from dry skin is something that can seriously affect your furry pal, resulting in dandruff and cracked, vulnerable skin. Many cases of dry skin have resulted in dogs feeling pain when they’re petted, creating irritation which they will naturally scratch, creating more discomfort and itchiness.
Dry skin could be a result of environmental factors or dietary sensitivities. Unfortunately, most shop-bought pet foods are not the best when it comes to supporting your pup’s health needs. Many of the brands have the natural oils removed from the food, which are normally beneficial to the health of your pup’s skin and fur, resulting in a lack of nutritional support.
Just like us humans, your pup can suffer from allergies too, and it is more common than you may think. Falling victim to red eyes, itchiness and even a runny nose, our pups can struggle quite a lot if they experience an allergy. When the allergy attacks the skin, it can cause your pooch to feel uncomfortable and irritable, resulting in vigorous itching and scratching.
As there are many reasons your pup may be suffering, it is your job to try and discover the cause. You may notice that your fluffy friend flairs up after you have taken them for a nice long walk, which could indicate an allergy to something environmental; pollen, grass, or other pollutants. Sometimes the allergy could be coming from your own home or specific meat. Some dogs can react badly to your cleaning products or a perfumed air freshener. The three most common allergies are parasitic (fleas, mites) environmental, or from specific foods. Your vet can help you discover what your pup may be allergic to through parasite prevention or a hypoallergenic diet trial.
The root of your pooch’s discomfort could be an infection, either on their skin or potentially in their ears. It is extremely common to find that your pup has a yeast infection within their ear canal, although there are other places on your pup’s body that can be vulnerable to this type of infection, too.
Noticing a yeast infection is very easy. Normally it will be accompanied by a bad smell – from the affected area, crusted skin and swelling or redness. Sometimes, depending on the severity of the infection, there may also be brown/yellow discharge mixed with blood oozing from the infected area. If this is the case, you will need to seek support from your vet, as the infection will need to be treated.
Something as simple as changing what you’re feeding your pup could be the answer to reducing their itching. If you know that your pooch is having an allergic reaction to their food, changing to a hypoallergenic diet or a sensitive skin and stomach feed could help them. If your pup is on low-quality food, you could try to invest into a more of a nutritious brand of food to help your pup get the vitamins and oils they need to keep their coat and skin in good health.
Having a pup with poor hygiene will exacerbate any skin irritation, so keeping on top of their grooming could do wonders. Daily brushing will help spread all their natural oils around their body. And, on the plus side, when bathing your pup regularly, you will have the advantage of noticing if there are any changes to their skin and fur, helping you catch problems before they become bigger health issues. Be careful not to over wash your pups though - they do need their natural oils to protect their skin so daily shampooing is not advised. And of course, as depending on the breed, your dog will have different needs for their coat.
As mentioned above, if your pooch’s itching as a result of something in your home, it would make sense to change or remove whatever is causing the issue. Try to avoid using pesticides and fertilizers in your back yard too, as these can upset your pup’s fur when they’re playing around in the lawn.
“The main treatment for itching conditions is to reduce all the factors that cause the skin to be inflamed. This means itchy pups will need management or medical interventions for allergies, monthly parasitic preventatives, and complete diets with higher quantities of essential fatty acids (omega-3s). Regular cleaning of the skin and ears would be beneficial, as well as anti-inflammatory medicines and supplements. Any infections will need to be treated with topical or oral antibiotics. No matter the cause, it is possible to ease their suffering and provide them with some relief. With your vet’s help, proper care, and diligent management, the condition can be controlled in most dogs.”
Adding a supplement to your pet's daily diet can have a huge, positive impact on their contact itching and scratching. Finding a supplement, sourced from a reputable, specialist pet brand that aims to relieve itching with targeted ingredients can help to support a reduction in overall itchiness and can in turn help improve the condition of your dog’s skin and coat health.
The easiest way to deal with a scratching pup is to find the cause as soon as possible! With so many reasons for the irritation, you need to work out the source, then you can tackle the problem. It is very easy to just assume that your dog’s itching, gnawing, and scratching is normal, but it might not be the case. Try to make sure you’re regularly grooming your fluffy pal and keeping an eye on the health of their skin. There are many ways you can support your pup’s health with a few simple changes in your home and routine.