Have you noticed that your dog is scratching more than usual? If there’s no sign of fleas or ticks and you’re at a loss as to the cause of their itchy skin, then this blog is exactly what you’re looking for. Here at Bugalugs were passionate about your dog’s health and we’ve put together a few things that may help your fur baby into becoming itch free.
How does itchy skin affect your dog?
According to Animal Trust, itchy skin can have a negative impact on your dog’s wellbeing. Itchy skin can cause severe discomfort and irritation for your dog and may cause them to become irritable, withdrawn, restless and in some cases, it might cause hair loss and painful skin lesions from excessive scratching or biting. Therefore, it is important to combat itchy skin early.
Common causes of itchy skin.
Itchy skin can sometimes mean that your dog has underlying health issues, such as: allergies, bacterial infections, or parasites.
- Fleas or Ticks – We have spoken about this in depth in our Flea and Tick blog. Please click here to find out more.
- Skin Infections – Skin infections can cause excessive itching, as well as hair loss scaly skin, and odorous discharge seeping from skin. Skin infections can be a result of other things such as allergies but are most often caused by bacterial and fungal skin conditions. Examples of bacterial and fungal infections include yeast dermatitis and Staphylococcal Infection. Many bacteria and fungi live on the skin but are often controlled by the immune system and generally do not cause any issues; however, if skin conditions change or the immune system becomes weakened then bacterial and fungal infections can surface. If you notice any of the symptoms listed it is always best to consult your vet regarding the best treatments to follow as your Dog may need prescription drugs.
- Ringworm – Despite its name, Ringworm is not a worm at all. In fact, it’s a skin condition that leaves a circular, itchy rash that typically appears on the skin of an infected animal or person. Ringworm is a fungal infection and is caused by a fungus that feeds on dead hair or skin cells. Symptoms can often include: circular areas of hair loss, broken hair or poor coat, inflamed areas, excessive itching or dry skin. Ringworm can be passed from humans to animals and vice versa, it can also be contracted from infected objects like: brushes, beds, toys, rugs and wood. Ringworm can be very stubborn and difficult to get rid of so prevention is best. You can best prevent conditions like Ringworm by regularly and thoroughly washing the items that your dog comes into contact with. If this doesn’t work and you need treatment for Ringworm, then there are many topical and oral treatments available.
- Mites – Sarcoptic Mange is a contagious skin disease caused by mites located at the hair follicles. This can be transmitted to humans and is often referred to as Scabies. Scabies often affects dogs who have been neglected but can also affect those with a compromised immune system. Symptoms can include, severe itching, alopecia and self-inflicted deep or superficial wounds. Thick crusted skin is mostly found near the ears, armpits, ankles, and elbows, as these mites prefer to attack areas with less hair. According to PetMD, depression, decreased appetite and lethargy can occur due to the excessive itching caused by mites. If you suspect your dog has scabies (mange), please consult your vet for the best course of treatment as some specific anti-parasitic medications can be fatal if used on certain breeds.
- Allergies – One of the most common signs of itching in dogs is allergies to certain foods or environmental allergies, such as pollen. Common symptoms of allergies include itchy skin, licking (especially the paws) and face rubbing. Affected dogs may also experience loss of hair and frequent ear infections. Food allergies can be tested for through your vet, but common different and it’s important to try and rule out certain foods and see if your dog’s condition improves. For example, if you suspect chicken may be the culprit, then rule out chicken in your dog’s diet and see if you notice any improvements. Seasonal allergies are caused by allergens in the air such as pollen, Mold, or dust. According to PetMD, most seasonal allergies occur from March – May and from September – November, but this can vary depending on weather and location.
Treatments and prevention.
Flea and Ticks – Please refer to our blog for more in-depth information regarding Flea and Ticks.
Skin Infections, Ringworm and Mites – Prevention is always the best course of action in regard to protecting your pets against skin conditions. By ensuring that you regularly wash dog beds, toys, blankets, and anything else they may come into contact with, you can drastically reduce the risk of your dog coming into contact with harmful bacteria, fungi and mites.
Always consult your vet if you suspect that your dog is suffering from a skin infection. Anti-biotic medications are often needed to treat the type of infections caused by bacteria. Similarly, fungal infections are often treated by oral medications and it’s always best to consult your vet before giving them to your dog. Other remedies can aid in soothing your dog’s symptoms regarding skin infections. The Bugalugs Itchy Skin spray is Vet approved and uses a clinically proven advanced formula utilising hypochlorous acid, nature’s disinfectant that is produced by your pet’s immune system as a natural response to combat infections. It’s dermatologically tested and Hypoallergenic, our anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal spray is gentle on skin, yet potent enough to kill all types of harmful pathogens and 99.99% of germs. The gentle and soothing anti-itch spray provides instant relief from itchy, irritated & bitten skin. Simply spray the no rinse formula into the coat to combat sores created by scratching whilst effectively cleansing the skin and reducing inflammation.
The Bugalugs MediFresh shampoo can be used in conjunction with this. The MediFresh shampoo contains essential oils that aids in calming and soothing irritated skin. The shampoo contains tea tree oil which is naturally rich in anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, all of which can be used to help treat many skin issues. It also contains Geranium essential oil which aids in preventing infections developing by preventing bacterial growth on wounds. According to an evidence-based study, this boost to the immune system allows the body’s defensive cells to focus on the internal challenges and dangers, rather than being weakened by peripheral toxins on the skin (Nagdeve, 2020).
Allergies – With food allergies, it’s always best to try and rule out certain foods and see if your dog’s condition improves. Allow a couple of weeks to see if symptoms resolve before removing another type of food from your dog’s diet. This way you can definitively tell which foods your dog may be allergic to.
According to PetMD, seasonal allergies can be managed by anti-itch medications, routine ear cleaning, oral medications such as anti-histamines and topical creams/shampoo/sprays to help soothe the symptoms of allergies. The Bugalugs Itchy Skin Spray and the Bugalugs Medi Fresh Shampoo can be used to ease the symptoms of both seasonal and food allergies. This is due to the calming properties both products hold. If your dog has sensitive skin, Bugalugs recommend the use of the Oatmeal shampoo which is gentle on the skin and contains Aloe Vera and Colloidal Oatmeal to help in soothing itchy and irritated skin. Bugalugs also offer Antiseptic Ear Drops to help relieve the symptoms caused by irritants and pollutants, the spray is fast acting in flushing out debris, wax and dirt, and disinfects ears which aids in relieving the itchiness caused by allergies. The Bugalugs Antiseptic eye drops also helps in flushing out eye irritants caused by allergens. On top of the topical remedies listed, you can also try to use Omega 3 rich food supplements such as the Bugalugs Salmon Oil. This helps your dog produce more collagen which can mean healthier skin, bones and joints. The salmon oil aids in creating a barrier against allergens and can help alleviate inflammation caused by them. On top of this, it moisturises the skin which reduces itchiness and supports a healthy immune system and brain.