I am often asked is why is my dog itch so much?
Firstly, there is the reason for the itchiness.
Parasites – fleas, ticks, worms, etc cause the dog to scratch and move about. Ticks are particularly nasty as the slowly poison the blood causing lethargy. During the spring and fall (autumn) moths, it is important to keep checking your dog after their walk or outdoor fun.
Flea treatments are available from your vet and pet suppliers. Most groomers’ will have a shampoo which can kill fleas, but it will need to be supported with a more long term solution. For a more natural method to managing ticks and fleas, the introduction of small weekly amounts of fresh garlic in the diet has been very effective for my 3 dogs who love the outdoors.
Scratching in the ears or ear rubbing, can mean the presence of ear mites. However it might simply be that there is hair growing down the ear canal – grooming should include ear plucking to ensure the inner ear is clean. In some cases for a few days after a groom the dog will rub the ears as though there is some sort of irritation, this is normal as air now is causing a sensation!
The Coat – the dog’s hair can tell me a lot. Over washing of the dog with too strong or undiluted shampoo is the typical culprit for chemical burn to the coat and skin. This is the result of the harsh chemicals that are found in commercial dog shampoos and also those that are suitable for puppies. It is NOT a good thing to use human soaps or shampoos on your dog – even those that are for babies! these when applied straight from the bottle without diluting first case almost instant damage to the hair and skin of a dog. Shampoos that are suitable for dogs must be without parabens‘ and phosphates, alcohols or phenols and acids. Admittedly there are very few that exist as these chemicals are used to stabilise the product – i.e. make it last longer on the shelves.
As my A1 customers and fans know, I only use a natural hand made soap from Willow & Plum Soap Co. that has none of these offending additives and therefore is suitable for dogs of all ages as well as us humans! this is available to purchase from the website (postage and packaging for outside the UK will have different rates, please enquire first).
If your dog has dry and brittle almost dish scourer properties – this will be a sure sign of chemical burn. There is no other solution but to have this cut away so that the new coat can grow back. Style conscious owners be warned as the look will change until the coat is healthy enough to be restyled.
Metabolic – this is what is happening inside your dog, such as health issues, allergies, and medical health conditions such as diabetes or obesity. Medication on a regular daily basis can also produce a temporary changes to the skin and coat.This is something that you must tell your groomer as it will effect the grooming process.
What we feed our dog will also have a big impact on their health. Getting the right diet for your dog will change the temperament, condition of the skin and the quality of the coat. Typically 80% of what they eat should be digested. So if your dog is eliminating more that 20% of what they eat – it probably means the diet you are feeding them is not being digested and so is just passing on through!
Maintenance – I do have lots of requests to groom dogs on a weekly basis. My answer is simply no. For the health of the dog, this over washing is more likely to damage the dog. A simple daily comb is all that is required together with damp wiping with a towel. Too much drying with a hair dryer will only cause the hair to become brittle and also dry out the skin, causing dandruff and itchy, flakey skin. In some cases certain breeds may need brushing – I tend to suggest that brushing should be done as minimal as possible as it will strip the hair and cause static and make the weakened hair more likely to matt and tangle.
If odour is a concern, please make changes to the diet. Dogs that are feed on canned food and dry biscuit feeds are typically smelly due to the artificial additives that are in the products. Staining can also become worse with these type of food.
Please read my article for some simple and natural ways to soothe that itching hound
Thank You for reading!