Help your Dog to Ditch the Itch!
By Tracey at A-OK9
It seems harmless enough at first. The occasional scratch at their collar, a quick nibble on the rump. And that’s normal. But what if it’s starting to become more than that?
Before you know it, your dog is in the itch-scratch cycle - when they itch, they scratch, which causes more inflammation, leading to more itching and then more scratching.
And you know how irritable feeling constantly itchy would make you, so it’s no surprise that an itchy dog might over-react to things and perhaps be more barky.
Excessive itching is called pruritus and it’s a symptom, rather than a specific disease. It is relatively common, representing >30% of of dogs who go to the vets for skin issues. But what causes it? Well, there are a few culprits, and it can sometimes be a challenge to identify the correct one.
The most common parasite is fleas and they cause itchiness either when they bite, or if your dog has an allergic reaction to their bite.
Mites are also quite common in dogs. These are technically arachnids (don’t have nightmares!). Fortunately, they are tiny at under a millimetre long. Unfortunately, they burrow into your dog’s skin and cause irritation and inflammation.
Itchiness can be caused by a food allergy, an environmental allergy (such as dust or pollen) or, as we mentioned before, fleas.
Essentially, an allergy is a result of the immune system overreacting to what would normally be a harmless substance, known as an allergen.
Although more rare, anxiety can lead to dogs excessively licking or scratching themselves, as a coping mechanism.
Hormones are vital to normal skin and hair coat production. A common cause of skin disease is a failure of an endocrine organ to secrete the correct amount of its hormone. Examples are hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.
If damage is caused by scratching, biting or licking then normally harmless bacteria and yeasts that live on the skin can cause secondary infections.
So how can you help your dog?
You can supercharge your dog’s overall health! Not only can certain supplements nourish the skin and coat to reduce itching, they can moderate inflammation and improve the skin’s effectiveness as a barrier against allergens .
In particular, essential fatty acids have been shown to be beneficial in dogs with pruritus . Vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc are anti-oxidants known to protect skin health and boost immunity. And then there’s quercetin, known as ‘nature’s anti-histamine’, which has anti-allergic properties .
The great news is that all of these superfoods can be found in Prime-K9!
And if your dog is using scratching to cope with their feelings of anxiety, check out Calm-K9. Not only does this super supplement provide natural support for your dog’s brain and gut microbiome, it can have a beneficial impact on their behaviour.
1. Hill P, Lo A, Eden CA, Huntley S, Morey V, Ramsey S, Richardson C, Smith DJ, Sutton C, Taylor MD, Thorpe E. Survey of the prevalence, diagnosis and treatment of dermatological conditions in small animals in general practice. Veterinary record. 2006 Apr;158(16):533-9.
2. Patel, A. https://www.veterinary-practice.com/article/essential-fatty-acids-in-veterinary-dermatology-do-they-have-a-place. 2017. Accessed 13 December 2021
3. Fritsch DA, Roudebush P, Allen TA, Leventhal PS, Brejda J, Hahn KA. Effect of Two Therapeutic Foods in Dogs with Chronic Nonseasonal Pruritic Dermatitis. International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine. 2010 Sep 1;8(3).
4. Mlcek J, Jurikova T, Skrovankova S, Sochor J. Quercetin and its anti-allergic immune response. Molecules. 2016 May;21(5):623.
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