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Seasonal Pet Tips in Dartmouth, MA: How to Help an Itchy Dog

itchy-dogsSkin conditions are quite common in pets like cats and dogs, so you can imagine that we see a lot of patients regarding this issue at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth. While dry, itchy skin can happen year round and there are many different reasons why your pet might be suffering from this condition, there are seasonal pet tips and vet care for cats and dogs that can help. Sometimes a bath is all that is needed, but when in doubt, bring your pets in for a check-up at your local South Coast veterinarian.

Top Causes of Itchy Dogs
The best way to find a cure for dry, itchy and irritated skin is to figure out what is causing it. Unfortunately, our pets can’t tell us what’s going on, but there are certain signs that your vet can look for that will help to identify the cause. Here is a top list of the most common causes associated with itchy dogs:

  • FOOD ALLERGIES – Many dogs are allergic to common ingredients found in pet food and treats. For example, corn is one of the most widely known allergens, affecting millions of dogs all over the world. Sometimes just a simple change of diet can be all it takes to cure your itchy pup!
  • SEASONAL ALLERGIES – As part of our seasonal pet tips, we often talk with our clients about various allergens that are most common certain times of the year. Just as humans are affected by the change of season, the different irritants in the air, the pollution and weather-related increases in pollen and other allergens, so are our four-legged friends. Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth can test your pet for seasonal allergies and provide you with a custom care solution based on your pet’s needs.
  • HOUSEHOLD ALLERGIES – Believe it or not, there are things inside your home that can also affect your pet. Air sprays, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, dust and dust mites are just some of the most common irritants that require minor to major vet care for cats and dogs each year.
  • PARASITIC CONDITIONS – Once allergies have been ruled out, your South Coast veterinarian can begin checking to see whether or not parasites are affecting your pet. Fleas can be a year-round issue for many pet owners, as well as mange mites, ringworm fungus and a host of other parasites. Young pups, senior dogs and pets that have compromised immune systems are most susceptible to these issues.
  • BACTERIAL/YEAST INFECTIONS – Believe it or not, a common bacterial or yeast infection could be what is causing your dog to feel itchy. Whether it is a complete infection or just an allergy to the presence of the bacteria or yeast, this is something that must be treated by a veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth for complete healing. Because bacteria and yeast can also affect humans and other animals in your home, immediate attention is required.

How Itchy Dogs Are Treated
The best way to figure out what is causing your dog to be itchy is to rule out the basics and then test for more servere conditions later. Sometimes all it takes is a simple diet change or special shampoo and your pet will be feeling much better. Seasonal pet tips that can be used to combat specific issues that pets face during spring, summer, fall or winter are also beneficial. For the best vet care for cats and dogs, visit your South Coast veterinarian.

Many vets will start by ruling out food allergies. Pets can be allergic to grain sources, protein sources or other chemicals used in processing, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Just because a particular brand costs more than another, does not mean it won’t have ingredients that could cause a reaction in your pet. An elimination diet, which is what is used with human patients as well, is often the best course of action. Once the allergen is identified, it can be removed from the diet. Work directly with Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth to perform a proper elimination diet trial to ensure that your pet is still getting the proper calories and nutrition throughout the testing phase.

In conjunction with allergy testing, your local vet will check your itchy dog for skin parasites. Prescription medications and solutions will work much better than over-the-counter remedies that can be bought at your local pet store. Checking for ringworm is also an important part of the process. It can be treated with an anti-fungal and topical shampoo, but it is very contagious to humans and other pets, so it is important to take charge and handle any parasitic issues right away.

Other Treatment Options
In addition to these treatments, other prescription treatments and medications may be prescribed by your South Coast veterinarian. Antibacterial or antifungal medicated shampoos, oral antibiotics, oral antifungals, antihistamines and prednisone are just some of the other medications your veterinarian may prescribe, depending on your pet’s needs. Additional testing for seasonal outdoor and indoor allergies may be required if none of these other approaches solve your itchy dog problem. Call Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth at 508-996-3731 to schedule an appointment or find out more about our services.