Dogs and cats with dry skin suffer a lot more than most pet owners realize. All of the itching, scratching, biting, and licking can result in other common health problems. Rubbing, chewing, and excessive head-shaking can be a sign of other conditions while leading to other issues. If these areas are left without dry skin treatment for dogs and cats, the skin could become damaged and lead to “hot spots” or other secondary infections. Discovering the cause of the itch and providing treatment is an essential part of vet care for cats and dogs. If your pet is itchy or licking, schedule an appointment with your South Coast veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth, MA.
What Causes Dry, Itchy Skin?
This is a complicated question, but the short answer is that dry, itchy skin problems are typically caused by nutrition, parasites, infections, and allergies. However, other conditions could also play a part. Autoimmune diseases, some cancers, mental-neurological problems, and endocrine diseases could also be an underlying cause for dogs and cats with dry skin that is uncomfortable and requires treatment. Because the reason your pet needs dry skin treatment for dogs and cats can be so varied, it is essential to seek professional help. A thorough examination by your South Coast veterinarian and dedicated treatment options will provide the best results.
While there are many over the counter products that other pet owners swear by to take care of dogs and cats with dry skin, you need to know what is causing the condition in the first place. It could be as simple as seasonal dry skin issues due to the change of weather or something more complicated that requires a multi-faceted approach. However, with most pets, more than one factor might be causing the problem that would require vet care for cats and dogs beyond treating dry, itchy skin. Before you purchase any cream, food additive, or take the advice of other well-meaning pet owners, consult with your trusted veterinarian.
Conditions That Can Result in Dry Skin
Nutritional issues top the list of conditions that might require dry skin treatment for dogs and cats. If your pet is not getting quality nutrients through their daily diet, they could develop dry, itchy skin. In addition, food allergies may also be a culprit. Many dogs have issues with cheaper ingredients that are common in mass-produced pet foods, including corn and meat by-products. Make sure your pet is only consuming quality, natural foods and discuss options with your veterinarian about supplements that can enhance your pet’s immune system to prevent many common issues that can result in itchy, irritated skin.
An infection could also be causing your pet to have itchy skin. Certain skin infections that are highly contagious, such as yeast and bacterial infections, can create seriously itchy ears and skin. Kittens and cats are commonly affected by ringworm, which is actually a fungus and not a worm, while puppies and dogs are typically more prone to issues with yeast and bacterial infections. Fleas and other parasites can also cause your pet to be itchy, so regular preventive treatments may be in order if this is a common recurrence in your local area. Other insects, including mosquitos, ticks, mites, and flies, can transmit disease through their bite and result in itchy skin issues.
Additional causes that may require vet care for cats and dogs include:
- airborne or respiratory allergies
- food allergies – corn, wheat, soy, dairy
- genetic factors or breed predisposition
- reactions to vaccines, prescriptions, and other treatments
- hormonal imbalance
- diseases – thyroid, Cushing’s, and other endocrine diseases
What Should You Do?
The best course of action is to schedule an appointment with your South Coast veterinarian. If the issue is serious and your pet’s need is immediate, consider emergency or urgent care services at Anchor Animal Hospital. Since 1975, our team has provided top quality veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, emergency services, and other professional treatments to animals in the Greater Dartmouth area. We have patients all throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. While we do primarily offer vet care for cats and dogs, we also provide services for pocket pets, exotic pets, and other common domesticated animals. To find out if we specialize in services for the species of animal that you have in your home, give us a call at 508-996-3731. Our team can answer any questions that you might have about our services or schedule an appointment with one of our veterinary team members right away.