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Dogs itch for various factors, and sometimes, for no reason, and it’s not unusual for the scratching to seem even worse in the evening, when your house is quiet. Every dog’s got ta scratch a long time, and that’s entirely regular. But when a dog is continuously licking, scratching, biting and chewing to the point of injuring herself, then scratching becomes a symptom of an underlying pathology.
The medical term for scratching related to extreme itching is pruritus. This is the 2nd most common factor individuals take their dogs to the vet (gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea top the list). The causes of pruritus can be rather intricate, however there are 2 primary reasons dogs itch. The first pertains to the condition of the skin itself: Is it infected? Is it too oily? Is it too dry? Of these 3, dry skin is a regular incident. The 2nd major reason for pruritus is allergic reactions.
Dry Skin Itchiness in Dogs
One typical reason for itching is dry skin. If you reside in a region with low humidity, it’s more likely that your dog will have dry skin, which is fairly easy to recognize. When you part your dog’s hair, you see flakes of dandruff in the undercoat, and the skin itself may be cracked and tough. The smallest stimulation of the skin– your gentlest touch– can provoke your dog to scratch violently.
Dry skin can be influenced not only by ecological elements, however also by diet. Commercial animal foods process out the great oils that contribute to healthy skin and a lustrous haircoat. Dry pet foods have a much more dehydrating effect on skin and hair as well as promote increased thirst, which just partially compensates for the drying nature of these diets.
If you need to feed dry foods, then by all methods include digestion enzymes to your dog’s meals. In fact, digestion enzymes are good to use with any type of food. Enzymes improve the release of nutrients, and useful probiotic bacteria likewise assist in the digestion process. (Probiotics also assist with allergies, as kept in mind below.) A healthy gastrointestinal system absorbs fluids more readily from the food your dog consumes, therefore enhancing hydration and increasing the wetness levels of the skin and haircoat.
Skin Allergies in Dogs
Another common cause of itchy skin is allergic reactions. Allergies might make your dog’s skin dry, greasy, or slightly dry and oily, and are accompanied by frequent scratching, licking or chewing. We are seeing substantially more cases of allergic dogs than we have in the past; numerous veterinarians believe that we are experiencing an “allergic reaction epidemic.” While the reasons for this allergic reaction epidemic are uncertain, some of the theories presented include the aggressive vaccination procedures that many dogs have actually gone through, poor breeding practices and the feeding of processed family pet foods.
See also: Zyrtec for Dog’s Allergy.
Whatever the cause, allergic reactions are hard to address. In the worst cases, affected dogs require strong (and potentially toxic) pharmaceuticals just to obtain some relief. Though allergic reactions are rarely cured, early recognition and intervention can keep them under control, and sometimes, can substantially diminish them.
Scientific research has revealed that one crucial way to minimize the possibility that dogs will establish allergic reactions is to provide high-potency cultures of advantageous probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bifidus when they are very young. Probiotics are relatively low-cost, definitely safe to use, and can save both dog and the owner lots of sorrow– and sees to the veterinarian– later in life.
Regardless of age, lots of dogs’ allergic reactions are managed by enhancing the quality of their diet, providing high potency acidophilus cultures and high dosages of fish oils; including freshly milled flax seed; and, in many cases, giving them antihistamines. (It can take up to three months for this regimen to work; see sidebar for information and doses.).
Identifying which condition your dog is dealing with needs a veterinarian’s evaluation, but carrying out a few of the recommendations supplied in the sidebar can definitely help your puppy be more comfortable in her own skin– literally.
Diet to Improve Dog’s Skin
- When your dog needs a bath, attempt using plain water, an excellent, non-drying solvent. If you need to use shampoo, use a moisturizing type with humectants, and subsequent with a moisturizing conditioner. Avoid blow dryers.
- If you have your dog groomed, speak with the groomer about denying the heat on the blow dryer (it’s typically set pretty high).
- Feed damp food– canned, prepared, homemade or raw.
- Add digestion enzymes to every meal (probiotic bacteria, 2 to 10 billion CFUs/day).
- Provide fresh, filtered drinking water.
- Add fresh oils and other supplements to meals:
- Flax seed oil (1/2 tsp. of oil/15 pounds twice daily) or newly milled flax seeds (1.5 tsp./ 15 pounds twice daily).
- EPA/DHA from fish oil or algae (5 to 20 mg of EPA/pound of body weight/day).
- Lecithin granules (1/4 tsp. to 1 Tbs. per meal).
- Nutritional yeast (1/2 to 1 tsp. per meal) or hypoallergenic B complex (10 to 50 mg twice daily).
- Kelp powder (1/4 to 1 tsp. per meal everyday).
- Spirulina (500 to 1,000 mg twice daily with meals).
- Alfalfa, nettles or horsetail (dried or powdered, 1/4 to 1 tsp. of specific herb or a mixture).