Does your dog keep you awake at night scratching? Persistently itchy pets aren’t happy pets

Itching is most commonly the result of suffering from one or more allergies.

*flea allergy occurs in 60-70 % of itchy dogs. Just one bite needed to cause intense irritation in a dog with a flea hypersensitivity (a substance in the flea’s saliva is the trigger).

* Atopic dermatitis is the second most common cause of itching. A genetic defect in the normal barrier function of the skin makes these dogs susceptible to a variety of environmental allergens such as house dust mites and pollens causing an intense itch.

* Contact allergies occur when a dog is triggered by something it comes in contact with such as a plant like wandering dew or bedding especially in dogs with thin hair coat

*Food allergy accounts for 10 % of allergic dogs

When a dog scratches excessively, it damages already inflamed skin which can lead to secondary bacterial and yeast infections.

Management of itchy dogs involves a number of things that all work together

Effective flea control is essential whether or not fleas are the primary cause.

Regular bathing (weekly-monthly) with prescription shampoos helps by removing bacteria and yeast that infect inflamed skin. This can also remove allergens and soothe sore skin.

Specially formulated diets are available that work to improve the skins protective barrier and reduce inflammation. If a food allergy is suspected then a hypoallergenic diet trail is required.

Medication is often needed to bring some relief. Traditionally steroids have been a mainstay in treating the itch; however these come with potential side effects.  There is a new drug called Apoquel that quickly breaks the itch/scratch cycle and reduces inflammation.  It gives relief quickly resulting in a much happier dog.

So if you have an itchy pooch, come in and see us. We’re got a skilled bunch of Vets, informed about the latest treatment options, and if your dogs condition is chronic, our Dermatology Management Program might be a great option.