Have you ever seen a dog (maybe even your own) scratching and digging at himself continually? You probably thought the poor thing had fleas because that is the first thing most people think of! This is not always the case though, so could be the food? Dogs that scratch until they bleed have something more serious going on. They may paw at their face, chew on their feet and paws, shake their head and scratch their ears all the time. You may see raw patches of skin near the base of their tail, on their stomach and even on their hind end. Obviously, this poor thing has skin allergies and whatever is causing it is driving him mad.
Common triggers for skin allergies in dogs
Dog foods and food additives such as individual meats, grains, or colorings.
Fleas may be the trigger here, but not just the flea bite will cause the severe itching constantly. Flea”dirt” (that black nasty stuff you can see with your naked eye) is a huge problem and is actually the main culprit for dogs who have this type of skin allergy. Some dogs get fleas and other than an occasional scratch or dig here and there you might not even know he has them unless you look closely. Not so for dogs with skin allergies. They can literally scratch the skin right off their body because they are so frantic to find relief. These poor creatures suffer endlessly unless something is done about it. Some dogs are even allergic to the ingredients in flea remedies so take care when choosing any product to get rid of the fleas.
Sarcoptic mange is another disease that can cause severe itching and skin problems. It is cause by mites burrowing into the skin and most often results in loss of hair and raw, open sores. This particular type of mange is highly contagious to other dogs and can spread very quickly. Take care to get treatment as soon as possible to avoid having all your dogs infected if you are a multi-dog household. There are over-the-counter products available for you to try, but if the skin allergies are serious your vet can prescribe medications. Your poor pup may even need antibiotics to help clear it up.
There are certain things you can do to soothe the itchiness associated with skin allergies in your dog. Try a cool bath with a little baking soda to see if it relieves the itching, and try to make regular bathing part of your dog care routine.
Have your vet recommend a good medicated shampoo you can use and see if that helps. There are topical sprays you can use on the “hot” spots (areas that are really bad) and they won’t hurt him if he licks them, but you are going to somehow try to figure out what is causing the problem in the first place. Animals are a lot like humans when it comes to having skin allergies. They have the same symptoms and reactions when they come in contact with, inhale, or eat something that triggers the reaction.
Keep a close eye on your dog so that you can recognize any of the symptoms of potential skin allergies.
Check once a week or so to see that there are no raw sores, bumps or lumps that may signify a problem.
If he starts digging himself mercilessly by all means get him to a vet before it gets out of hand.