There are few things worse than feeling like your skin is crawling, even for our furry loved ones. Constant itchiness or dry skin is something that many pets live with. It’s difficult for everyone, really. Many pet owners feel equally helpless and frustrated that their pet can’t stop scratching. What causes these highly specific problems, and what can we do about it?
A Part of Life?
Many pet cats and dogs will endure symptoms of skin issues during their lifetimes, including some of the following:
- Red, irritated skin
- Excessive scratching or licking
- Dry or flaky skin
- Butt scooting
- Biting or chewing of the affected area
- Strange bumps or lumps
- Rubbing of the face or ears on floor or furniture
- Hair loss
- Open sores
The good news is that most of the time we can easily determine the causes and quickly treat problems. Treating your pet’s skin issues promptly could prevent more serious problems, like infections.
Take a Look Around
Your pet could be triggered by what’s in their environment. Pet allergies commonly affect the skin (as opposed to the respiratory tract), and are often the result of chemicals, seasonal allergens like pollen or smoke, parasites like ear mites or fleas, and even their food.
Knowing what triggers your pet helps enormously to reduce their allergic reactions. Scheduling an allergy test can help get your pet’s skin back on a healthy track.
Loving Your Pet’s Skin
Most pet lovers take pride in their pet’s appearance and go the extra mile to pamper them. Bathing your pet can reduce itching, but can cause further dryness and itchiness if it’s done too often. Invest in a good hypoallergenic pet shampoo and conditioner in order to soothe and soften your pet’s skin. Brushing them routinely helps distribute the skin’s naturally occurring oils, which adds to the health and luster of the coat.
The Whole Picture
Depending on your pet’s symptoms and their allergy test results, we may recommend changing their diet. Adding certain supplements can positively affect your pet’s skin.
Likewise, if parasites are to blame for your pet’s skin problems they should be placed on a year-round parasite prevention medication.
Elizabethan collars can reduce a pet’s access to their itchy spots and allow for healing. Sometimes, medication is necessary to reduce inflammation, stop infection, or minimize associated pain.
A Word About Stress
Pet stress can create lots of various symptoms. Unfortunately, when a pet feels scared, anxious, or abandoned, they may behave in ways that endanger their health. Always be on the lookout for obsessive licking, biting, or chewing the skin, and make positive, supportive changes to their environment.
Common, but Not Fun
Pet allergies or other known triggers can be very upsetting to pets and their people alike. If you have any questions or concerns about the health or appearance of your pet’s skin, call us at (757) 253-0656.
Our veterinarians and staff members are always here for you at Godspeed Animal Care.