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Sam Dobson Writes: Itching & Scratching: What To Do About Dog Allergies

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Itching & Scratching: What To Do About Dog Allergies

This year is just flying by. Spring is here along with warm sunny days, blooming flowers, and frustrating allergies. Just as I suffer from seasonal allergies, so does my terrier mix, Ignatius. The spring and summer months are worst for his flare ups. If you suffer from allergies, you understand how uncomfortable and painful they can be and your pup will suffer in the same way. 

Signs Your Pup Is Suffering From Seasonal Allergies

When your dog's allergies have really started to make him uncomfortable, the signs are pretty clear. If your pup has started to scratch, lick, and chew a lot more than usual, chances are he is suffering from allergies. When Iggy is fighting allergies he constantly scratches, so much so that Blake used to joke about calling him "Thumper". Aside from being extremely annoying, this excessive scratching and chewing can cause skin abrasions and/or hotspots. It's best to take action when symptoms are still mild.

Tips For Allergy Relief

The first and foremost course of action should be regular baths. This comes with a warning because too much bathing with the wrong shampoo can leave your dog's skin even drier and itchier than it was before. I shoot for once a week bathing (mainly because my pups get crazy and dirty from doggy daycare) with a hypoallergenic, moisturizing, or oatmeal shampoo to help soothe the skin. For extra moisture, we use a conditioner on Iggy's coat for good measure. Iggy's hair grows unruly and wild which just adds to the itchy madness. Anytime he starts to obsessively scratch or chew, the first thing I do is cut his hair (he looks more badass too). 

Itching and scratching can also be signs of fleas. Fleas are most common in the spring and summer months. Fleas can also cause allergies. Poor Iggy could get a single flea bite and like magic, instantly develops a hotspot. If your dog seems to have issues with fleas, make sure you keep up to date with a flea preventative. Keeping the coat short will also help combat fleas and hotspots. 

Natural supplements can also help with the condition of your dog's skin and coat. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements have many health benefits including skin and coat improvement. Coconut oil is another all natural remedy that can be ingested or applied topically. It has been known to help with a number of skin ailments including cuts, rashes, and overall condition of the skin and coat. Coconut oil is becoming more and more popular for not only human use but dog use too. 

If your dog's allergies have gotten out of hand and it's clear your poor pup is extremely uncomfortable or in pain, grab your wallet because it's time to take him to the vet. Your vet may decide to prescribe your dog with a medicated shampoo, rinse, and/or antihistamine. In general, you should always consult with your vet if you suspect your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies and before administering any kind of self-prescribed treatment. Your dog will thank you for it and it will save your sanity. 



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