So you spot your fur baby scratching incessantly at his tail area or suddenly having a bout of diarrhea with no apparent or urgent issues? It may be a sign that he is suffering from pruritus or itchy skin.
Just like us, our furry pals can be at risk of itchiness due to dry skin. Because of the many different sources of itchy skin, it’s an owner’s duty to investigate and get to the root cause of what makes our pooch feel discomfort.
The Usual Suspects: What Causes The Itch?
There are a number of reasons why your dog may be incessantly scratching. The easiest way to know the cause of itching is to go to the vet. But you can also try to get a sense of the problem, especially if it’s in your home. According to experts, the most common causes for itchy dog skin are food intolerance, flea allergies, artificial food colouring, and environmental and bacterial factors.
Food sensitivities may be among the most known causes of allergies in dogs. When changes to his diet seem to trigger a reaction in our dogs, the common assumption is that he is allergic to an ingredient. While this may be the case, it’s important to first differentiate between food allergies and food sensitivities.
Just like in humans, food allergies trigger reactions from the immune system. Common reactions to this range from breaking into hives or experiencing gastrointestinal issues. Vets agree that actual allergies are not as common and that dogs typically experience food intolerance.
When it comes to food sensitivities, the reactions do not involve the immune system. Rather, it presents gradual symptoms that manifest through dermatologic or gastrointestinal issues. These reactions will likely not go away as long as the intolerance-inducing ingredient is still in his diet.
Many skin diseases and issues that dogs experience may be related to fleas. You may notice that this issue can be more seasonal for some dogs. Warmer weather as in the summer can make the flea infestation worse. The warmer weather, the higher humidity, and the tendency to engage in and have more outdoor activities may all contribute to fleas having more access to your dog.
Flea allergy dermatitis occurs when the flea’s saliva gets onto your dog’s skin. This causes an allergic reaction, causing extreme itchiness, discomfort, inflammation, and redness on the infected area.
Look out for any signs of fleas on your dogs. Typically, allergic reactions can be seen in the region from the middle of the back to the tail base and down the rear legs. Sometimes, dog owners may find flea dirt or the actual fleas on their dogs. Make sure to bring him immediately to the vet to get the proper medication for the allergies, as well as other preventive measures to rid him of the fleas.
Artificial food colouring
Many food items have food colouring, even for those that we consume. Some may argue that trace amounts of food colouring may not be all that bad, but research has continually shown that the risk is still substantial enough for caution.
And as it turns out, artificial food colouring can be just as dangerous for your pup. There are at least four common food colouring types found in dog treats, and each carries a specific risk. Yellow 5 and 6 have been linked to hyperactivity and allergies for pets. Blue 2 is notorious for tumours in the brain, as well as allergic reactions. Red 40 may be among the most dangerous due to its cancer-related effects when ingested steadily for a long period of time.
The best way to go about treats for your dog is to stick with natural treats. Nowadays, brands like earthmade offer grain-free and air-dried dog treats from varying meat products. A classic selection is Free-Range Grass-Fed Beef Clean Tripe Slice, which comes in 100-gram bags. These air-dried treats are low in fat and high in the necessary vitamins, dried raw to steer clear of any artificial food colouring or fillers.
Environmental allergens and bacterial infections
Sometimes, our pooch may pick up certain infections from his surroundings. Various elements in the environment can pose a serious health risk if not properly dealt with. Some dogs may be allergic to dust and mould, which can trigger a reaction that results in a lot of itchiness on their skin. For this type of reaction, you can at least observe your pup when seasons change, to check in and see if the change in environmental conditions influences him in any way.
Being observant in this way is actually very important. Sometimes, when left untreated, environment-induced allergic reactions can trigger a second line of concerns.
Itchiness brings a lot of bouts of scratching. When your dog does not stop scratching and licking the itchy area, this can cause not only redness but also possible wounds. Left untreated, this leaves him vulnerable to possible yeast and bacterial infections. This can become more serious the more it poses a challenge to his immune system.
What Symptoms to Watch Out For
Section is on understanding pruritus (itchy skin)
Top Food Products to Avoid Itchy Skin
If food intolerance seems to be the reason for your pet’s itchy woes, then finding the offending ingredient should be your main priority. The common trend is to do trial and error where you can check different pet food packs with different ingredients to see which one causes the least reaction.
Instead of buying so many pet food brands that may just inconvenience your pet–and you as well in the long run–why not have a more streamlined way of choosing the best food for your dog?
Shifting to a single-source protein food brand allows you the easy option of identifying which protein affects your dog. Some brands tend to put more than one meat product in the recipe, and sometimes, one of those can have an adverse effect on your dog’s tummy.
Single-source protein pet food takes out those other confounding factors. You can even start with the meat ingredients that are least likely to cause an allergic reaction. The following meat ingredients tend to be very friendly to most dogs’ tummies.
When it comes to meat products, the more commonly used the meat type is, the more likely they can have a more diverse effect on dogs’ gastrointestinal health. Many hypoallergenic dog food brands tend to carry novel meat types that are known to cause fewer allergic reactions.
Fish appears to be one of these meat ingredients, as vets state that dogs rarely experience true allergies when on a fish-based diet. Granted, there will be some exceptions. However, because of the diverse selections of fish ingredients, including mackerel and salmon, experts are more at ease in introducing fish-based products for dogs.
Start your dog with earthmade’s New Zealand Mackerel. It’s grain-free kibble that packs in a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin to better take care of your pet’s joints.
While fish oil is not the main ingredient per se, having it as an add-on to the ingredients list will definitely work in favour of improving your dog’s tummy. In case your pup already has allergic reactions, fish oil can help reduce the itchiness and discomfort.
Want hypoallergenic food that also incorporates fish oil? Try out earthmade’s Free-Range Grass-Fed Lamb. This grain-free dog food features fish oil and a lot of nutrients. Its main ingredient is lamb and lamb meal, one of the current favourites of pet owners when it comes to novel hypoallergenic proteins.
Treats will always be part of your dog’s natural diet. Some off-the-shelf treats tend to have artificial colouring which can increase the risk of allergens in your dog’s system.
Nowadays, air-dried treats have become a common staple for every dog diet. Some brands, however, take the extra step of ensuring that the treats are even more beneficial. For instance, earthmade’s Free-Range Grass-Fed Beef Clean Tripe Slice skips any chemical processes, making it a naturally air-dried dog treat that is low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals. Using all-natural beef with no fillers or artificial flavours, pet owners can rest easy when giving their fur friends a slice as a reward.
What do you do if your dog already suffers from inflammation or allergic reactions? Quercetin may be a handy supplement to give him. This plant pigment is found in different fruits, berries, and nuts. Some ingredients, like kale and broccoli can be given to dogs in moderate amounts. You can also opt to give him supplemental doses of Quercetin to suppress any inflammation that may plague your dog.
Natural food high in antioxidants
Just as antioxidants have benefits for people, it also features just as many benefits for our pets. That’s because antioxidants help the body target free radicals that may cause different issues in their bodies. With an antioxidant-rich diet, your furry friend can be better protected from skin allergies, respiratory diseases, heart problems, immunodeficiencies, and even cancer.
Get a good head start by beefing up your dog’s diet with antioxidants. Try out Free-Range Grass-Fed Beef for adult dogs. Some of its added premium ingredients include rosehip, manuka honey, and kiwi, all of which are brimming with antioxidants.
Simple Remedies For An Itch-Free Pup
Natural remedies for itching have become heaven-sent for many owners. If you cannot immediately go to the vet but would want to offer your pup some relief in the meantime, do a quick check in your pantry. Some natural ingredients there may be the source of your relief for your pup!
Colloidal oatmeal baths
An age-old recipe for dealing with mild burns, dry skin, and eczema in humans is a good salve made of colloidal oatmeal. Thus, many households keep them handy, as some moms and even grandmas swear by its relieving effects on many skin conditions. If your fur baby ever gets similar itchiness on his skin, then it’s time to whip out the family colloidal oatmeal salve recipe.
Some pet owners may prefer mixing this into a paste, which you can apply on the afflicted skin. This can bring a soothing effect and help lessen the angry red appearance of the irritated skin. However, if you want to soothe that itching while also making his fur shiny and soft, why not make it into a soak instead?
Mix enough to create a milky solution that you can put in a small tub. Pro-tip for owners who don’t want a messy tub: put the oats in stockings or cheesecloth before soaking it in the tub. Depending on your dog’s size, you may need anywhere between a cup or more of the colloidal oatmeal. Make sure the water is lukewarm, then let your dog soak in the solution for up to 15 minutes. Pat them dry once done. Try to inject this regularly into his daily routine until the itching subsides. Of course, you can continue to give him oatmeal baths to make your pup’s fur shinier and fluffier.
Because of the high-fat content in coconut oil, most vets would not recommend regularly mixing coconut oil into your pooch’s diet. Instead, use coconut oil as a topical treatment. This natural ingredient is useful for improving skin conditions, and this includes addressing dryness and itching on dog’s skin.
Target the areas where the redness and itching are most prominent. Rub down the afflicted areas every day, both on his skin and fur. Even if there may be some skin abrasions and cuts due to incessant scratching, the beauty of coconut oil is that it has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
Even if the itching has somehow elevated to a potential bacterial threat, immediately addressing it with coconut oil and then consulting with your vet the two-punch combo you need to defeat your dog’s itching.
Make your dog’s life easier by taking all the necessary precautions of allergens and food intolerance in his environment. Start by finding the most suitable pet food brand that caters to his every needs. earthmade brings a great difference specifically by introducing sustainable farming that makes for healthy living for your pet as well. With meat products sourced from New Zealand farms, locally single-sourced protein can be the first step to ensure your dog’s optimal health and wellbeing.