When it comes to managing the itchy pet, there is no magic pill. It’s all about prevention of parasites and taking action before things get out of control.
Itchy skin can really affect your pet’s quality of life. One of the most common and frustrating conditions we see in pets is atopic dermatitis. This inflammatory condition is caused by a reaction to allergens in the environment (a bit like the common triggers of asthma and hay fever in humans). It is particularly troublesome in spring and summer but can occur all year round.
Allergens that might cause a problem include: grasses, trees, plant pollen, dust mites, insects and moulds.
The signs associated with atopic dermatitis usually appear when your dog is between 1 and 6 years of age and generally consist of:
- And licking
Common places your pet may be itching:
- Ears (recurrent ear infections are common)
- Feet and in between the toes
- Groin and anal glands
- Around the eyes
Itching can quickly lead to self-trauma of the skin, which can cause secondary infections requiring medication.
To diagnose and manage atopic dermatitis, a good history of your pet’s symptoms and a thorough physical examination are essential, so that all potential parasitic causes and food allergies can be ruled out.
Here are our top tips for healthy skin:
- Be vigilant with flea treatment year-round. Fleas are the main cause of an itchy pet and regular preventative flea treatment is easier and cheaper than trying to get rid of the itch.
- A premium, balanced diet is essential to keep your pet’s skin and coat in top shape and provide a barrier against potential allergens.
- Always wash your dog with vet-approved pet shampoo and conditioner. A product containing ceramides can help rebuild the epidermal barrier and reduce allergen exposure.
- If suitable, medication can help to reduce the immune system’s response to the allergen, in turn reducing the itch. Medication can be used during flare-ups and for ongoing management. – we can provide you with more information so chat with us about what’s suitable for your pet.
- And finally, if you notice your pet itching, licking, biting or rubbing, arrange a check up with us immediately. The sooner we can settle the itch, the less likely your pet will cause self-trauma or secondary skin infections.
If you have an itchy pet, arrange an appointment with us. We will help keep your pet happy, healthy and comfortable. Ask us for advice on flea treatments, medication, diet and washing products best suited for your pet.