Getting to the Root of Itchy Skin
It’s normal for dogs of all ages to periodically scratch and bite themselves but if you notice that your dog is itching its skin excessively, it definitely is an issue that deserves a closer look. There are many reasons why your dog could be scratching and biting itself, and we will explore some of the most common ones below.
Pet Allergies & Insensitivities
The scientific term for allergic reactions to inhaled or contact allergens is atopy. In this case, like humans, a dog encounters an external substance and develops a reaction. Unlike humans, atopy in dogs generally doesn’t take the form of sneezing or a runny nose. Instead, dogs will begin to scratch and bite at their skin. For dogs who focus a lot of effort on one area of their skin, it can end up making the condition even worse. All of the abrasion can result in conditions like hot spots, and an endless cycle of scratching and biting continues.
While environmental allergens can cause constant scratching, food intolerances are more often the cause of dogs scratching and biting at their skin. Some dog foods have ingredients that are proven to cause adverse reactions because dogs have a hard time digesting ingredients like corn, wheat, soy or animal-by-products. It’s important that you switch to a food that is fresh and free of any known itch-causing ingredients
Anxiety & Stress
Much like their human counterparts, dogs also suffer from anxiety. With dogs, however, they cannot vent their anxiety by talking it out or meditating. How a dog handles anxiety is often in a less-productive way — by constantly scratching and biting their legs, paws, and anywhere else they can get their snouts.
Anxiety in dogs can vary based on the pet, but it’s often caused by a fear of isolation (separation anxiety), temporary environmental factors (i.e. the boom of fireworks), or, your dog has general anxiety. In any case, if your dog is often scratching and biting themselves, it’s important to talk with your vet about potential causes. They can offer you the best solution for helping your dog manage their anxiety. After you’ve spoken with your vet, you should also consider natural remedies such as Pet Wants calming balm. It’s made with essential oils, so it not only helps ease your pet’s anxiety, but smells great as well!
Fleas and Ticks
Of course, fleas and ticks are another common reason why your dog could be scratching and biting at their itchy skin, especially during the spring and summer. While there are many products on the market that claim to combat these pesky and often dangerous pests — prevention is usually the best measure. Luckily, ensuring your pet doesn’t pick up an unwanted guest isn’t overly complicated. Flea and tick collars are an effective, simple way to keep your dogs safe as they are out and about. Diluted, 100% essential oils are another great solution, as fleas and ticks tend to avoid them. Pet Wants Mosquito, Flea, and Tick Spray is a natural way to help prevent fleas and ticks. It’s another product that smells great as well.
As always, make sure you talk with your vet prior to introducing your pet to anything new.
When it comes to skin, pets and humans have a lot in common, and dry skin is one of those things. Like humans, there are many reasons your pet’s skin may be dry. For instance, does your own skin tend to get drier during the winter when the heat in your home is on full blast? What about in the summer when the AC is working at maximum strength to keep your house cool? Most people would say yes, and this is because both central heating and cooling tends to remove humidity and moisture from the air. The drier the air, the drier your skin. Your dog may also suffer from this, and if their skin is dry and itchy, they will begin biting and scratching it.
A lack of humidity is one of many things that account for your dog losing moisture in their skin, but there are many others as well. Be sure to talk with your vet to help rule out what may be causing your dog’s constant scratching and biting.
While, the possible reasons for your dog’s itch vary, one thing is certain: Natural solutions will often be your best path to relief. Choose food that is free from natural ingredients, choose sprays and balms that don’t have chemical irritants, and be sure to research what’s best for your individual dog’s needs. That starts with a trip to the vet. Afterward, be sure to contact your local Pet Wants’ pet nutrition specialist.