Itchy skin is one of most common presentations we see at Wellsford Vets during the summer months. Higher levels of humidity, coupled with an increase in the numbers of pollens and fleas, increases the likelihood of your dog starting to itch.
Self-trauma from excess licking and scratching can often result in nasty skin infections, which can be difficult and expensive to treat. To try to minimise these infections, there are a few things you can do improve your pet’s skin defences.
Firstly, flea control is vital. All animals in your household should be getting regular flea treatments. There are plenty of options available to best suit your pet and your lifestyle. Chewable treats are often the easiest and cheapest method to medicate your dog. A good option at this time of year is Bravecto. It only needs to be given every three months, so a tablet now will see your dog through until winter before a repeat treatment is necessary.
An added bonus is that it also treats for mange. Alternatively, topical treatments can be easier in cats or fussy dogs as the product only needs to be applied to the skin at the back of the neck.
Flea eggs can survive in the environment for many months before hatching and jumping back on to your pet. We recommended using a product such as Indorex, once a year in your home, to kill any fleas or eggs surviving within the environment. Treating all bedding, carpets and sofas your pet comes into contact with will kill any live fleas or dormant flea eggs hiding in these areas.
If your dog is still a little itchy despite regular flea treatments, you can try shampooing your dog one to two times a week with an oatmeal-based pet shampoo. This will wash away any allergens which may have landed on your dog’s skin, as well as forming a physical barrier between the skin and the environment. For dogs with mild seasonal allergies, this, combined with effective flea control, is often enough to keep the problem under control. You should avoid shampooing more than twice a week as this can strip away the skin’s natural oils and leave it more prone to problems.
If your pet’s itch persists despite these steps, then I would strongly advise getting it checked out by your local vet. The first part of stopping the problem is getting a diagnosis of why your pet is itchy and this can only be done at a clinic.
Neil Warnock, Wellsford Vet Clinic