One of the most common problems that I hear about on a daily basis from dog owners is that their dog is constantly itching. Some only itch one spot, some itch all over their bodies. They rub their faces on the rugs, the furniture, even on each other! There are many reasons why a dog starts itching, but I’ll address the most common reasons I see.
Obviously the first reason is a flea problem. Even when the fleas are taken care of, if the dog is particularly sensitive, it may take some soothing baths before the irritation is healed. There are good shampoos on the market that utilize oatmeal, tea tree oil or kava kava for their healing properties. They are detergent free so are not harmful to already irritated skin. If fleas have been ruled out, there are some diet related reasons that dogs itch.
Some dogs have developed an intolerance to an ingredient in their diet. If you are feeding the same food for a long period of time, this might be the cause of your dog’s itching. If you are feeding a diet that is high in carbohydrates you might inadvertently be contributing to a Candida overgrowth. There is a natural balance of yeast (candida) and beneficial bacteria in a healthy intestinal tract. When there is an imbalance created by stress, poor nutrition, or use of medications, the yeast will overpopulate. The yeast then migrate to different parts of the body and cause symptoms such as itching, hair loss, re-current ear infections and a stinky coat. The use of probiotics, change of diet to a lower carbohydrate level, and vitamin supplementation will usually clear the excess yeast from the system and keep it from returning in the future.
Another medical condition that should also be ruled out is a thyroid condition. If your dog’s thyroid is not producing the correct amount of hormones due to thyroid damage, genetic abnormality or vaccinosis, some of the symptoms are hair loss, itching, elephantitis of the skin and a foul odor. This can be determined by your veterinarian.
Another cause of itching in dogs is vaccinosis caused by over vaccination. This is an auto immune disease that develops when the immune system over reacts to the stimulation caused by too many vaccines administered at the same time. Proper vaccination schedules based on new research are now available.
Even though your dog’s itching can be caused by many different reasons, the first step to better health is to provide the dog with the best possible diet to promote healing. When you feed your dog a species appropriate diet, you will be providing everything he needs to get healthy and remain that way for years to come.
Until next time, my faithful furry followers!