A dog scratching usually means one thing – allergies. Fortunately dog allergies are easy to spot and manage. However it is important that you take precautions to treat the scratching and possible resulting dog skin conditions early on, otherwise it will most likely make your dog’s life miserable.
Dog allergies is a result from a hypersensitivity of a dog to a certain allergen. There are several possible causes of allergies, but for the sake of brevity, we shall categorize it into the three most common canine allergies: food allergy, atopic dermatitis and flea allergy.
Dog Scratching – Food Sensitivity
There are some dogs that are food sensitive. They are intolerant of some ingredients, particularly protein food sources like chicken, beef, eggs and soy. The sure fire way to find out if your dog is allergic to food is by putting him on a hypoallergenic diet, or a diet with limited ingredients. Over the next few weeks, gradually introduce new ingredients in his diet to find out which one it is that triggers his dog scratching mania. It is important that you don’t do this suddenly because doing so may cause stress and indigestion. You want to stabilize the dog’s condition as early as possible.
When you find out which ingredient is the culprit, remove it from his diet completely. Look for an alternative ingredient to his meals. It is helpful to note that food sensitive dogs often develop new allergies over time so creating two or three diets and rotating them over the year will help in minimizing any dog food allergy trouble.
Dog Scratching from Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis can be caused by a number of environmental allergens like weeds, pollen, dust, mites, molds, etc. You will notice that many dogs get contract atopic dermatitis during certain times of the year, namely late summer and fall. Be especially careful and clean with your housekeeping duties during this time. While you cannot control the falling of the leaves or the blowing of the wind carrying invisible allergens, you can keep your home as clean as possible. Invest in an air cleaner and install it in the main room in your house to improve the air quality. This will benefit not just your dog, but the rest of your family as well.
Dog Scratching Caused by Fleas or Flea Allergy
Fleas are possibly the most common source of dog scratching. Many dogs are not allergic to the flea itself, but the saliva it excretes to clot the blood of its victim. Yes, it only takes one flea to send your dog in a scratching frenzy.
A dog with flea allergies will even resort to self-mutilation (biting, gnawing, licking) in order to relieve the discomfort. He will have bald spots in his body and have discoloration in the areas he is often licking and scratching. If he is not careful, the dog can even develop secondary skin infections, wounds and scabs because of flea infestation. Use a topical flea prevention medication to prevent this from happening. You can also use essential oils as a natural flea repellent you can spray over your dog’s coat.
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