I Have an Itch that Needs Scratching
-by Cainin Hooks, Dec. 1, 2014
Wondering Why Your Puppy Might be Itchy?
Unfortunately the list of possible reasons for a puppy to have itchy skin is practically endless. However, the following reasons are some of the more common causes that we see:
One. Puppies do quite a lot of growing at that age and their skin stretches to accommodate that growth. To some degree, this or general puppy acne could be the reason. Feeding a diet high in omega-3 fats (like fish or duck) might help to condition the skin. There are also many other health benefits associated with diets high in omega-3 fats. It reduces inflammation, helps to maintain hips and joints, and the DHA in it helps puppies learn and may prevent senility in older dogs.
Two. Your pup could be suffering from a food allergy or environmental allergy, or both. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine what particular allergen might be causing the issue as even allergy tests are fairly inaccurate. If you can eliminate some of the more common ones, you might see a drastic reduction in itching. In terms of food allergies, the most common are beef, dairy, chicken, wheat, soy, and corn. Try switching to a diet that doesn't contain any of these items. And you could try bathing in a pet shampoo to rid the skin of environmental allergens like grass, pollen, dust, dust mites, etc. One of my favorites is Vet's Best's oatmeal and tea tree oil shampoo.
Three. Another, and probably most common, cause of itching in dogs and cats is flea bite dermatitis. Even though you might not see any fleas on your pup’s skin, all it takes is one flea bite to trigger a reaction for which the animal may suffer for weeks. I am all too familiar with flea bite sensitivity myself as I have a rescue that suffers yearly. I've found that it helps tremendously to use a topical flea preventative that actively repels and kills fleas just through contact. I use Advantix II (which is safe for pups seven weeks and older) and Advantage Multi with heartworm preventative. Oral flea medications (as well as several of the topical types) will only kill fleas once they have already bitten your pet and ingested the chemical circulating in their blood stream...which doesn't really do a pet with flea bite sensitivity any good at all.
Remember that using antihistamines and steroids can have both short and long term side-effects and will only cover up your pet's problem. While they may help a pet with severely itchy skin get some temporary relief, they will never resolve the problem completely or permanently. They may even exacerbate the issue by suppressing your pet's immune system.
No one can say with 100% certainty that doing any of these would solve your puppy's itchy skin issue, but any one might help and is worth checking into. They certainly couldn't hurt. If possible, bring your pup into one of our stores so that we could get a look at him or her. We enjoy meeting our clients and watching them grow, and a face-to-face might help us determine what exactly is going on with your pet. Bring in any food or treats you might be feeding as well. We'll gladly check them for anything that might stand out as a potential problem. Sometimes we end up suggesting that you take your pet to a veterinarian, but sometimes we can help.
© Hollywood Feed 2014
- Billie Claire Darby