by Will Hatoum December 24, 2019 1 Comment
“Jingle! Jingle! Jingle! Jingle!” Then a minute goes by and again, “Jingle! Jingle! Jingle!” Then 30 seconds later, but more rapidly this time, “Jing, jing, jing, JING, JINGLE, JINGLE!” Then another 15 seconds and again you hear, much to your annoyance, “JING, JING, JING!”
“DOGGONIT!” you think as you turn around, searching for the source of the sound. Then you hear it again, “JING …” and spy your trusty mutt Rudolph, propping himself up on the rug near the front door — his left leg oscillating and furiously scratching at a patch of fur just above his bell-studded collar.
No, the sound wasn’t from a bell-swinging Salvation Army at your front door. Nor was it Santa and his reindeer doing touch-and-goes on your driveway. It was your poor dog Rudolph, with a bad case of the itches.
Realizing this, you ask yourself “Why is my dog itching so much?”
If this story sounds familiar to you, maybe not all the jingling or aptly named Rudolph, but the itching dog part, you may be asking the same question and wondering why your pup is scratching so much.
Well, there are few possibilities, the chief of them being bugs and allegories.
They don’t call bugs “bugs” for nothing. They are especially skilled at bugging us and our pets alike. Especially annoying are the blood-sucking and parasitical critters we know not-so-affectionally as fleas, ticks and mites.
It’s bad enough they are parasites, but what makes fleas, ticks and mites worse than other bugs is they are little, legged Pandora’s boxes with teeth. These bearers, spreaders and instigators of disease have a particular fondness for dogs. Yep! Your dog is on their menu. That’s why if you see your dog scratching himself like crazy in a particular area, it’s so important to check him for these “bug ugly” critters. Do this especially in the warmer months if your dog spends lots of time outdoors, in long grass or in the woods where these critters await their next hosts. It’s not just a matter of comfort, but one of disease prevention.
Of these creatures, ticks are more easy to spot when they become fully engorged with their host’s blood, making them easier for you to remove. Fleas and mites are more clearly spotted by looking for areas of irritated, painful, infected, swollen or even balding skin.
When inspecting for fleas, search for fleas and for “flea dirt” — flea feces that looks like pepper flakes in your dog’s hair and skin. If you have a long-haired dog, brush her with a clean flea comb to make spotting fleas and their feces easier. Be sure to look wherever your dog rests or beds down to spot these signs and wash the bedding if you do. Then bathe your dog as bathing will provide your dog with some relief from itching. If you take a gentle shampoo like Soothe-N-Itch Dog Shampoo, lather up your pup and let the shampoo sit on him for 3-5 minutes, the soap will kill the fleas. Using this method, you’ll both sooth your pup and vanquish the cause of his discomfort, the fleas. But even more, a look at his bathing water will help you confirm if fleas were the cause of your pup’s distress. If after washing him you see a reddish-brown color in the water, you can almost be certain your dog has fleas and know them as a cause for your dog’s scratching.
If you discover a flea or mite situation, you might consider talking to your vet about the best course of action for your itching pooch. Also, as you don’t want your dog to suffer this itch again, make sure to ask your veterinarian about the best treatments, dosages, shampoos and other measures you can take to treat and protect your scratching puppy.
Another cause for your dog’s itching may be allergies.
Humans have allergies … and so do dogs. But while dogs and humans alike may sneeze as a reaction to some irritants, dogs tend to express allergic reactions through their skin more than anything else — and that is often evidenced by itching.
The source of the allergy triggering your dog to scratch itself may be environmental or, though much rarer, diet related. Shadow would tell you though it’s definitely not the flank steak he stole off your grill. But before you take your dog’s word for it or begin treatments or changing his diet, it important to talk to your veterinarian.
If your vet suspects diet is the issue, the doctor may begin trials to determine what is the offending food or food ingredient. If the culprit is found, your problem is solved simply by changing your dog’s diet and sticking with it.
Similarly, if your dog’s itching problems stem from environmental allergies, there are multiple options for treatment — not much unlike how you would address allergies in humans. Basically, the treatments would be topically or orally administered, if not by shots, and if the allergy is seasonal, according to the season.
In any case, you will need your vet to prescribe these remedies.
Also, don’t forget the shampoo you are using. Maybe your dog’s skin scratching problem is the particular pet shampoo you are using. Perhaps your pup has sensitive skin and she is reacting to your shampoo. In any case, you might try bathing her with something like Soothe-N-Itch Dog Shampoo for pets with sensitive skin.
As with most things in life, prevention is a great way to avoid itchy dog problems in the first place. This is especially true with your itch pestered pooch. In addition, to the solutions listed above for resolving and preventing itching problems with your dog is a soap and water, literally a solution. In other words, bathe your dog.
As a general rule, you want to wash your fur baby every four weeks, but you might want to tweak that schedule according to your breed and particular situation. Also, remember to bathe him especially after outings in pest infested areas, thereby ridding your pooch of itch-causing critter infestations.
That said, it’s not recommended to wash dogs more than once every two weeks. This prevents any negative effects from bathing such as excessive coat and skin dryness, oiliness and so on. If your pup is scratching himself excessively or starting to smell, you can bathe your dog more often to eliminate the irritations from their skin. Try not do this though for more than 2-3 weeks continuously. You can return to your dog’s regular washing schedule afterwards.
Also, make sure to use a shampoo that won’t rob your pooch’s skin and coat of its natural moisture, such as our Soothe-N-Itch Dog Shampoo, as otherwise you might create a dry skin situation which itself can cause itching.
Hopefully, you now have an idea of why you’ve got an itchy pup or now know how to find out why. In most cases, the cause is either bugs or allergies. If you don’t know, talk to your vet. Remember though, keep your dog bathed. Shampooing your pooch may resolve your dog’s itching problems and may prevent any further from developing.
Reasons for pet scratching himself: https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/care/reasons-for-dog-scratching-himself
Dogs and Compulsive Scratching, Licking and Chewing: https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/dogs-and-compulsive-scratching-licking-and-chewing#1
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