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admin | Prevent Bv | 02.07.2014
Willows website uses cookies - by continuing to browse the website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You may not have noticed, but it is now the summer (!), and this is the time of year when dogs are more frequently brought to the vet because they are itchy. We all know how irritating (and sometimes painful) it can be to have a really bad itch that you just cannot stop scratching. There are many potential reasons why a dog might be itchy, ranging from common parasites through to allergic skin disease. Fleas Fleas are a common cause of itching, particularly in dogs that are allergic to the saliva from the flea bite.
The numbers of fleas tend to increase in warmer weather, although in modern centrally heated houses and especially in those with fitted carpets, fleas can survive in high numbers all year round.
It is important to re-apply flea treatment to your pets regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, even if you think the problem has gone away. Mites There are two different types of mite that cause skin disease in dogs, the demodex mite and the sarcoptic mange mite. If your dog is scratching frequently this is not normal and is a sign of unpleasant irritation and you should make an appointment with your vet to examine your pet. If your dog is constantly itching his or herself, it could be an indication that there is something wrong. When a dog itches for a prolonged period of time, they can start to loose fur, develop red bumps, and a dull coat. If you have decided to try a home remedy, keep in mind that some of these remedies might work for you dog but others might not.
Always keep in mind, if you are apprehensive about any of these remedies, or are uncomfortable in any way, do not attempt. Kayleigh has always loved animals and has spent time volunteering at the local dog shelter. And we want to give our dogs quick relief, which is why we so ofter turn to home remedies to help alleviate the itchy skin.And you should look for quick relief. Being itchy and constantly scratching can be just as distressing for a dog (not to mention its owner!).
Whilst in some cases fleas are visible running through the animal's coat, it is often difficult to detect flea infestation, and owners may be blissfully unaware of the problem. All other pets in the household will require treatment at the same time, including cats (many dogs have cat fleas!), and the environment (carpets, furnishings etc, including the inside of the car), should be thoroughly and regularly vacuum-cleaned, using a nozzle attachment in crevices.


Foxes carry the mite, and it is thought that dogs pick up the mite if they come into contact with foxes, fox faeces or other dogs with the mite. Scraping the skin with a scalpel blade and then examining the scrape under a microscope will usually identify whether demodex mites are present, but sarcoptic mange mites are much harder to find because they like to burrow deep into the skin.
In cases where demodex is only localised to small areas, the vet may decide not to treat the condition, particularly in young dogs that may eventually fight off the infection naturally.
This is a common allergic skin disease, and affected dogs generally start to show signs at 1 to 3 years of age. The damage to the surface of his skin caused by their teeth and nails can become infected, and this can be very painful, especially when the itchy feeling doesn’t stop. One reason for this is that fleas spend most of their time in the environment, hopping on to the dog for a quick feed and then hopping back into the carpets. Foxes are believed to swallow the mites when they are nibbling at itchy skin lesions and the mites pass out in the faeces, still alive and able to infect another fox or dog. A small number of demodex mites live naturally in the hair follicles of most dogs, and it is believed that in those dogs affected by the disease, their immune systems are unable to keep the mites under control.
A blood test looking for antibodies may reveal whether the dog has had contact with mange mites. In more severe cases with generalised skin lesions, the treatment is more challenging and involves a series of medicated baths, as well as antibiotics if a secondary bacterial infection is present. The good news is that there are as many remedies to alleviate the itching as there are causes. Fleas live in carpets but also hide under the skirting board and between the cracks in laminate and wood flooring. Dogs who like to roll in fox faeces (there's no accounting for taste!) might therefore be at risk of infection.
Young dogs that do not have a fully developed immune system may develop larger numbers of mites, as can some dogs have suppressed immune systems e.g. It is very important that every susceptible animal in the household receives regular treatment and that meticulous attention is paid to keeping the environment vacuum-cleaned and treated with suitable, safe flea control product. The itching may be seasonal when pollens are involved, so the condition is more commonly encountered in the summer months.
Another reason for fleas being difficult to detect in itchy dogs, is that patients that are allergic to flea saliva will often have very few fleas causing a significant degree of irritation. Please note that environmental sprays should not be used if you have fish or birds, as the pesticides they contain can be harmful to these animals.


Demodex mites are less often associated with itchiness and scratching unless they are accompanied by a secondary bacterial skin infection.
Apart from pollens, other causes of allergic skin disease include house dust mites and moulds which can be found indoors.
Affected dogs will often scratch at their ears and underneath their body; they may also rub their face or lick their paws (leaving brown stains on the feet). The flea faeces consist of digested blood and will therefore stain reddish-brown when they come into contact with wet paper. The inflammation in the skin causes it to become damaged and a secondary bacterial or yeast infection may develop in the diseased skin, leaving a greasy coat and blackened skin or spots.
Fleas are the most common cause of itching in dogs, and they aren’t always easy to see, especially with thick coats. The vet will therefore rub the coat while holding wet paper under the pet in order to look for flea dirt. Your vet will first try to rule out parasites as a cause of the dermatitis and itchiness before deciding on an appropriate way to manage atopic dermatitis. In some cases the patient may be referred to a dermatologist for assistance in diagnosis and long-term management of the problem. Don’t bathe your dog too frequently though, because that can dry out his coat and make him itch even more.
For example, if he is licking his feet constantly, an easy home remedy is to try putting a soft bandage on them so he can’t get to it.
If he is turning around and biting his back all the time, consider using an Elizabethan collar. These act like a bucket on his head, and prevent him reaching his itchy spots with his teeth. Remember that this doesn’t stop the itch at all, so your dog will still feel uncomfortable. If your dog isn’t getting all the nutrients they need from their food, their skin can become very dry and itchy. Your vet can help you diagnose the reason for the constant irritation, and can help you to get it under control.



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