Itchy skin on your dog can be unsightly and uncomfortable. Try this cure.
Some canine conditions, while not particularly life-threatening, can be quite irritating for them and uncomfortable for you. Itchy skin is one of those conditions. If your dog scratches and tries to bite itself, creating unsightly bare patches where hair no longer grows, there are things you can do.
Itchy skin is a problem that’s listed as one of the most common complaints from many dog owners. It affects about one in three animals at some time in their lives. There are many causes of skin problems and, for your dog, it could have anything from dry or irritated skin to a skin infection or allergies.
Although there are many root causes, nutrition can play a huge role as some dogs can develop sensitivities to some ingredients in the food they eat. If so, this can set the stage for an inflammatory response that triggers all that endless scratching.
Just as in some people with dandruff, some dogs get itchy skin simply because their skin is drier than normal skin. There are a couple of ways to help your dog. You can bathe it less, and/or bathe it with a good hydrating dog shampoo. But it may be that the problem is one that could be traced back to the food it’s eating.
1) Look closely at your dog’s diet.
Overexposure to the same ingredients day after day can create food allergies. This is why many experts now advise rotating between foods with different meat and grain sources to prevent sensitivities that could trigger a reaction. Common allergens are corn and wheat, or even common meats like beef or chicken. Lamb, once considered “hypoallergenic” because it was rarely used in dog food, is really no more beneficial for skin problems than other proteins. Trying a novel protein such as fish, pork, venison, duck, or rabbit may help. These are now available in canned and dry form and are in stock at our store Raining Cats & Dogs here in Vedder. Phone (604) 846-3647.
Another more hidden cause of the irritation may be mites that attack grain that’s been stored too long. Pet quality grain can contain more mite feces than grain meant for human consumption. So watch out for the cheaper foods when shopping for your pet. Dry foods designed to relieve skin problems typically have a single meat source, a single grain source, or a starchy vegetable substitute such as yams or potatoes. If grains are employed, oats, barley, millet, or rice are the least likely to trigger a response. A non-extruded “alternative” dry food that you mix with water can correct many problems as well.
Canned, raw, or lightly cooked food has resolved many skin issues for other dogs. Of course, home preparation of your dog’s food gives you total control over all ingredients and you can experiment to find the combinations that best relieve your dog’s symptoms.
2) Try adding fatty acids.
Fatty acids, or EFA’s are another key nutrient for the health of the skin and coat. Some of the most important EFAs which include linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and Omega 3s are not present in high levels in all fats. Some of the most concentrated sources are lecithin, flax oil, hemp oil, fish oils, borage oil, currant oil, and evening primrose oil. EFAs are known to calm itchiness and correct dry skin, flakiness and excessive shedding, and to nourish and beautify your dog’s coat.
3) Try adding digestive enzymes.
These enzymes are necessary for the breakdown and assimilation of nutrients in the gut that can prevent allergy symptoms. Although always present in raw food, enzymes are destroyed by heat and processing. Adding digestive enzymes with every meal can bring about a dramatic and quick improvement for your dog’s scratching problem.
4) Control the fleas.
One other thing that poor nutrition can lead to is a tendency to attract fleas and to be more reactive to flea bites and expressing that as an allergy.
It’s a ‘house of cards’ situation where one thing leads to another. Making the necessary food changes and adding enzymes and fatty acids to the diet will help to raise your dog’s natural resistance to fleas. But remember that trying to control the fleas by resorting to potentially dangerous pesticides could make matters much worse. An alternative is by supplementing with nutritional sulfur. Nutritional sulfur is also known for improving hair, nails, and skin but it works to repel the fleas the natural way – from the inside of the dog’s body.