Why is my dog so itchy?
There are many reasons your dog could be so itchy. The most common reasons can be simple to address while others will take a bit of time to detect. The time of year can have a big impact on your dog’s skin and coat.
In this colder climate, when we turn our heat on, our dogs can suffer from dry skin just like we do. We can easily reach for a bottle of lotion to soothe our skin, but a dog will need your help.
If you are fortunate enough to have a heating and cooling system with a humidifier, turn it on! This will help relieve your dog’s dry skin and may prevent your own bloody nose in the morning! If you don’t have a humidifier built in, stop by your local hardware store and pick up a humidifier that will cover the area of your home where your dog spends most of his or her time. You can also put a dish of water in front of the heater to help moisturize the air.
Adding an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement to your dog’s food is another idea to help soothe your dog’s skin from the inside out. Adding a teaspoon of salmon or olive oil to your dog’s food is a great way to moisturize your dog’s skin as well as providing additional health benefits. According to the American Veterinary Association a dog with osteoarthritis significantly improves mobility and quality of life. A dog’s skin and coat will gain a luster and softness with omega 3 fatty acids. Adding Omega 3 fatty acids can also improve and support your dog’s heart, brain and eyes.
There are a lot of great dog foods out there that are great for your dog’s skin and coat. Choose something that is limited in ingredients, grain free and has an Omega 3 fatty acid already included.
Bathing your dog can both aid and disrupt your dog’s skin. Be sure that you are not bathing your dog too frequently as this will dry out his or her skin. Try using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner combination. You can also use an oatmeal bath to help soothe your dog’s skin. It has also been recommended that using cold water is more soothing for your dog’s skin over warm or hot water.
Many dogs suffer from seasonal allergies or food allergies. Allergies are more difficult to determine. While seasonal allergies can be pinpointed by the time of year, it can still be hard to determine what exactly is bothering your dog. Grass, pollen, hay, dust and mold are common irritants for both canines and humans alike. Consult your veterinarian before ever giving your dog any medication, but an antihistamine like Benadryl can aid in the lessoning of itchy skin. Flea allergies are also very common in dogs. See your veterinarian immediately if your dog has fleas or a flea allergy!
Food allergies will take a lot of patience to determine. You will need to remove one ingredient at a time to determine what is bothering your dog. Dogs are commonly allergic to grain, chicken, beef and additives in lesser quality dog food. You will want to remove the single ingredient for at least a month to see any type of results. This is a long process, but is worth it in the end if you can pinpoint the allergen. There are tests available at your local vet to determine a specific allergy in your dog, but they are known to be expensive.
Some cases of itching or chewing can be an obsessive compulsive reaction. You should make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine and treat any obsessive reaction in your dog.
Your dog is worth the extra effort to determine what is causing the itch. Remember, scratching the itch will only make it worse so resist the urge!