“My Dog Is Itchy. What Should I Do?”
When the seasons change, we generally receive an influx of calls from our clients, all with the same statement: “my dog is very itchy”. It usually makes sense in the minds of pet parents…a change in weather, flora and fauna yadda yadda, it’s bound to wreak the same havoc on our furry friends as it can for us, right? As far as our pets are concerned, often times excessive itchiness is a symptom, not a diagnosis. If left untreated the itching may escalate to more serious issues such as hair loss, other skin conditions, wounds and infections. In recent years, there have been drastic leaps forward in diagnostics and treatments for the underlying causes of itchiness. Thankfully, there is a whole host of options our vets can recommend that can help alleviate Fido of his itches before anyone has to lose any fur over it…including you.
“What could be causing the itch?”
While there are always exceptions to the rule, the most common reasons for itchiness are allergens, parasites (or bug bites), or an underlying skin condition. The best thing you can do to prepare for the vet visit is to observe your pet and take note about what scenarios surround when your pet is most itchy. What time of year does this usually happen? Time of day? Are you using any new products around the home? Have you changed Fido’s food recently? These are all good questions to ask yourself and any information you are able to relay to the vet will help to find the most efficient way of diagnosing your pet’s issue. Also, keeping your pets on flea and tick preventative can help keep parasites out of the itching equation.
“Can I treat the itch at home?”
This is another common question we ladies of customer care have to field a lot as well. Short answer: home treatments are not ideal. I get it.. whenever I have a problem I go straight to google where I research it exhaustively until I find the answer that makes me freak out the least (or most, depending on the problem). I say it day-in and day-out: leave Dr. Google out of this. He is the one that will tell you to get your pup hopped up on varying dosages of Benedryl, while bathing him in colloidal oatmeal 8 times a day before placing him in a onsie lined in coconut oil. Maybe it’ll make Rex less itchy for the moment but again, itching is a symptom, not a diagnosis. All these temporary treatments will do is skew the results of any diagnostics your vet will need to perform to find the treatment that WILL make your pet better.
So if the pitter-patter of itchy feet is keeping you up at night, the best thing you can do for your furry companion is visit us at Brookfield Animal Hospital, armed with your observations…and leave the coconut oil at home, please.