It's by far the most common complaint among dog owners in our area--"My dog won't stop scratching!" There are many different reasons why your dog may be scratching and in order to stop the scratching we must determine what is causing the dog to scratch.
Some of the most common causes of your dog's constant scratching are;
--External parasites (i.e. fleas, demodex)
--Skin allergies (environmental or food)
The number one rule out when dealing with an itchy dog is flea-allergic dermititis. Flea-allergic dermititis (FAD) is an allergic reaction to the saliva of a flea when it bites your dog. Obviously, the best way to treat allergies related to fleas is to kill the fleas. We always recommend year round flea prevention for all animals, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor pets.
Your pet, like some of us humans, can also suffer from environmental allergies such as dust, pollen, or mold. These allergens can cause your pet to itch severely. Environmental allergies tend to be seasonal and show up at the same time every year.
Your veterinarian can prescribe your pet a medication to help prevent the itchiness associated with these types of environmental allergens and prevent further skin infection. You may also try lifestyle changes such as wiping your pet's paws and belly with a baby wipe after they come in from outside.
A less common cause of itchiness is food allergies. Food allergies are most often diagnosed by participating in a food trial where the pet is fed a novel diet containing one protein and one carb. It is very important the pet have no other food or treats during the 12 week food trial period in order for the trial to be accurate.
Metabolic illness such as hypothyroidism can also cause changes in the condition of the skin and severe itchiness which may lead to hair loss. In order for your veterinarian to diagnose this, your pet would need a complete bloodwork panel which tests organ function. The good news is metabolic illness, such as hypothyroidism is easily manageable with medication.
In addition to itchiness, you should also be aware of the other symptoms of allergies so you can notify your veterinarian during your visit. They are:
--Shaking of the head
--Red inflammed skin
If you feel your pet may be suffering from any of these symptoms, please feel free to schedule an appointment to get your pet some relief from the itchiness.
Dr. Chaffin Roseberry
4317 Evans to Locks Road
Evans, GA 30809