Staying awake half the night, listening to your dog scratching and whimpering as he digs and bites at his itchy skin is painful to both you and your dog. Dog skin problems can cause your dog to suffer greatly.
Is your dog scratching and licking his skin to the point it is red and bleeding? Just like humans, dogs can and do have allergies and sensitivities to things in their surroundings. This is known as environmental allergies.
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Symptoms of Common Dog Skin Problems
- Dry itchy skin
- Dog is biting paw, leg or other affected areas
- Dog is constantly licking affected area
- Inflamed skin
- Open sores or bumps
- Skin that smells or has a greasy feel
- Recurrent ear infections or dog shaking head or tilting it to one side
Some skin problems that dogs are prone to require assistance from your veterinarian and others are less serious and can be helped at home.
I usually check with my Vet in most matters but here are some ideas to investigate first:
Fleas Can Be A Cause Of Itchy Skin In Your Dog
Fleas will often cause a dog to continually scratch his entire body if the infestation is wide-spread. Sometimes the fleas can be concentrated in one area, particularly if the infestation is just beginning. In this case, your dog will usually bite, scratch or lick at his leg, rump area around tail or neck area. Inspect his body thoroughly, paying particular attention to his belly, inner leg and tail areas.
Use a flea comb, which has very narrowly spaced teeth to comb the area for fleas of “flea dirt”, which looks like tiny specks. Do these checks several times.
My black Lab was scratching relentlessly a couple years ago. He was on flea prevention, so I assumed he would not have a flea problem. I checked him out and when he didn’t stop scratching, I took him to the Vet. The Vet also checked him thoroughly and flea-combed him. She found no fleas, yet he continued to scratch and whine. I decided to check him one more time and this time I found a single flea. Apparently, this flea had moved in and was causing my dog much misery because he had a flea sensitivity. I currently use Frontline Plus flea medication
which seems to be working well but plan to switch to the Seresto collar on my Vet’s advice.
The reason I am choosing to switch is because the Seresto collar lasts approximately eight months and I will not have to remember to apply the flea meds each month.
***Please, under no circumstances use over-the-counter flea medications such as Hartz or Sargeants. These are usually found in grocery stores, discount stores, drug stores and some pet stores. They have been linked to serious and sometimes deadly issues for dogs.
If you prefer to go a more natural route in your dog’s flea control, this post on how to get rid of fleas naturally will be helpful to you.
Allergies are a Common Cause of Dog Skin Problems
Many dogs suffer from allergies just like humans. But, while humans display a good deal of respiratory symptoms due to their allergies, dogs tend to display a larger number of skin problems due to their allergies. Allergies can present as hives, itchy/scaly skin, red/inflamed skin or patchy hair loss.
Food Allergies In Dogs
Dogs can be allergic to just about any ingredient in their food. The biggest culprits in dog food allergies seem to be chicken and grains. One of my dogs was miserable with red itchy skin, biting at her paws. We tried eliminating different ingredients. Turns out chicken was the culprit in this dog’s case. We switched to a beef and sometimes fish based food and her paw biting slowly stopped.
Once you discover what the allergen is, make sure your dog’s treats are also free of it.
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