Scratching, biting, and repetitive licking… These symptoms are among the most mentioned by pet owners during a pet’s exam, especially during the spring. Yet pet skin care or dermatological problems often get written off as, “a pet just being a pet” – scratching is what a dog does, after all.

While most pets will find relief from scratching themselves from time to time, chronic scratching and biting at the skin can signal a health concern.

Taking the Bite Out of Parasites

When a pet becomes itchy, one of the first thoughts that may come to mind is FLEAS. For good reason. Parasites lurk among humans and four-leggeds year-round, ready to find a host. As the weather warms, these pests become active and exposure is greater since we spend more time outside with our pets.

While fleas may not seem all that noxious, they actually carry a number of serious diseases that are also zoonotic, or transferable to humans.

Many pets can develop an allergic response to flea saliva. This allergy can result in dermatological conditions, such as:

  • Hair loss
  • Hot spots or skin lesions
  • Dermatitis
  • Infections

Ear mites are another cause of chronic itching. Despite being microscopic in size, mites can cause inflammation, infection, and hearing loss over time. In short, if your pet is scratching his or her ears a lot, come in for an examination.

Itchy Allergies

While we are on the subject of allergic reaction, allergies are also major contributors to problems of the skin.

Along with the aforementioned flea allergy, there are three other common allergens / allergies among dogs and cats:

  • Contact – An allergen your pet is exposed to directly, like a certain type of shampoo or laundry soap used on his bedding, is considered a contact allergy.
  • Pet food – although some pets can be allergic to wheat-based foods, your pet can be allergic to anything from chicken to grains
  • Airborne – Allergies stemming from something that is inhaled, including those dreaded seasonal pollens, as well as molds and dust, is considered to be an airborne allergy or allergen

Next to fleas, these allergies are the most common cause of troublesome itching for your fur friend.

Dry Skin and At Home Pet Skin Care

Sometimes the cause of itching or noticeably dry skin and coat has to do with where you live. Those in particularly arid environments will often complain of pet eczema. This is also true for pet owners who reside in colder climates, when forced air furnace heat can zap all of the humidity out of the air.

Some of the ways to help reduce skin problems in your pet include:

Since skin problems can be challenging to diagnose without a dermatological examination, if your pet is suffering from chronic itching and skin flare-ups, please schedule an appointment.

The treatment may be something as simple as a change in food or flea prevention